By Ruth Conniff
In the first John Doe investigation, the prosecutors were hot on Scott Walker's trail.
The chief investigator of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, David Budde, testified on November 1, 2010, that Walker himself, as Milwaukee county executive, was illegally using the private communication system that his staff had set up.
Budde was asked under oath: "Did you find any e-mails written by the County Executive himself" on "personal laptops in the County Executive's Office?"
Budde answered with one word: "Yes."
In his testimony, Budde offered several examples.
Example #1: On March 17, 2010, at 2:21 p.m. Central Time, an e-mail came in "to Scott Walker at a non-county e-mail address." It was copied to several of his top aides "all at private e-mail addresses." Then there was an e-mail directly "from Walker replying to the same people." The e-mail exchange dealt with an appearance by his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett at an event held by the company Air Tran. Walker minimized the importance of the event, saying "Air Tran is just having a job fair."
Example #2: On October 18, 2010, at 3:41 p.m. Walker received an e-mail from Fran McLaughlin, the county communications director, that was sent not from her county e-mail but from her own one. Irony alert: That e-mail included a phrase that the Walker staff had worked on, which said, "Fortunately, for Milwaukee County citizens, Scott Walker has decided that government in secret is not in the best interest of taxpayers."