Political investigations have a way of starting off looking at one thing and ending up in an entirely different direction. That should be the biggest fear of Tea Party/Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This week some 27,000 e-mails from his 2010 election became available. My prediction is that somewhere in that haystack is the needle that will burst Walker’s political bubble.
Walker joins Republican Governors Christ Christie of New Jersey and Pat McCrory of North Carolina in being the subject of a regulatory or law enforcement agency’s investigation thus far in 2014 – it’s only February. McCrory’s troubles have yet to receive much national press, (for this column that is a subject for another day). Christie’s problems began with Bridgegate, but that just opened the can of worms and will prove to be the least of his problems when the final chapter of his political career is written. Walker’s situation is similar.
The current allegations and controversy center around his then Milwaukee County Executive staff doing political work for his 2010 gubernatorial campaign while “on the clock”. Those charges will have a negative political impact on Walker, but they will not be a knockout punch. Voters will be less than comfortable that his crew went to the extent of installing a clandestine wireless router in his office to facilitate their covert communications. By and large, the public expects politicians and their senior staff to engage in politics; the exact hours and locations they utilize isn’t a major public concern. Both Parties are guilty of this sin and perhaps it is time that our laws reflected reality.
It will take some time for investigators and journalists to comb through the e-mail. Incriminating material is certain to surface and that will lead investigators down a new path(s). Already an embarrassing e-mail has surfaced that is offensive to a multitude of demographic groups. While in poor taste, it doesn’t break any laws.
Walker’s current problem is being likened to Christie’s Bridgegate. That will not be what will end his political career, the Sandy funds misappropriations will. That investigation is being aided by material revealed in the Bridgegate controversy.
I found it a tad interesting that Walker recently defended Christie’s remaining in his post as head of the Republican Governors’ Association. I initially dismissed it as Walker acting in his self interest since he likes to promote the idea that a presidential candidate should come from the ranks of the Governors. If the field were to be restricted to just Governors, Christie who would normally be his most formidable rival is now damaged goods. Why not “support” him publically since you felt comfortable that you could easily beat him? However, if Walker knew, and it is difficult to believe that he didn’t, that this was about to be made public it looks more like empathy and self defense.
Don’t expect to see any of these Governors removed from office – very possibly in handcuffs – anytime soon. The wheels of justice move very, very slowly. In fact, at this writing, I expect both Christie and Walker to throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. Walker will do so regardless of whether he wins reelection in November. Either way, what does he have to lose?
When exactly the political careers of Christie, McCrory and Walker will end is yet to be determined. One thing that has been determined is that none of them will end by vacating their residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
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