Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Scott Walker may have prompted destruction of evidence in the first John Doe investigation.
On Friday, May 14, 2010, at 8:46 a.m., then-Milwaukee County Executive Walker responds to an e-mail he received from his deputies at "email@example.com," one of his personal e-mail addresses. This is his now-infamous e-mail about staffer Darlene Wink, who had just resigned after admitting she posted campaign comments while at work. Her resignation was reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I talked to her at home last night," Walker writes. "Feel bad. She feels worse. We cannot afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during workday, et cetera."
In testimony on November 1, 2010, the chief investigator for the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, David Budde, stresses why this is important: "The significance of this e-mail is that it shows that the County Executive would appear to be aware that laptops were used in the County Executive's Office for accessing things on non-County networks."
Budde also suggests -- and this has not been noted by the mainstream press -- that Walker's staffers might have taken his e-mail to mean that they should destroy evidence in the ensuing hours.
As Budde testified: "It also is very significant because it shows that the various members of the County Executive staff worked in concert to conceal laptops and/or networks -- wireless networks that were in existence in that office suite, and these items were not present when we did our search warrant later in the day on May 14, 2010."