After Gov. Walker Threatens District Attorney Offices, Rep. Pocan Calls on DOJ to Ensure Retaliation Not Occur, May Need to Intervene
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) calling on the DOJ to ensure district attorney offices remain free of politically motivated retaliation after Gov. Walker threatened district attorney offices. Walker insinuated if Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and other DA offices continued the “John Doe” investigation, which included the investigation of potential illegal activity during his recall election, that he would carve them out of a proposed increase in funding for local district attorneys’ offices.
“Scott Walker’s threat is unconscionable. Public officials should not use their office to make politically motivated threats and undermine lawful investigations for their political ambitions,” said Rep. Pocan. “Threatening to cut funding for our District Attorney’s office- a much needed public resource- for their work in lawful legal matters which happen to involve the Governor is outrageous and wrong.”
“When the special prosecutor admits he was unaware of the pay-to-play scheme with the billionaire owner of a lead paint manufacturer, it is vital that a lawful investigation be allowed to be considered without the threat of politically motivated retribution,” continued Rep. Mark Pocan. “It is also important to remember that these potential violations of state ethics laws by Walker could still be prosecuted, even though state laws were changed. I urge the Department of Justice to take any necessary steps to ensure the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office and other offices are able to continue this lawful investigation without the threat of politically motivated retribution, and if necessary intervene in the matter itself.”
Gov. Scott Walker’s threat follows legitimate inquiries by the Milwaukee County District Attorney into the questionable fundraising connections between the Governor and Wisconsin Club for Growth, an independent group. Documents recently released by Guardian US raise further questions about Walker’s efforts to raise millions of dollars for the group and highlight the necessity of a thorough investigation. These documents revealed a number of troubling contributions to the organization, including a check with a memo line reading “Because Scott Walker asked.”
Last week, the Special Prosecutor in charge of explaining to the courts why the “John Doe” investigation should move forward said that he was unaware of a law passed by Republican lawmakers that granted immunity to the billionaire owner of NL Industries and other lead manufacturers against compensation for victims of lead-paint poisoning. This was the same billionaire who cut $750,000 worth of donations during the recall election.
You can find a copy of the letter to the DOJ here.