Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 17, 2022
MADISON — In hiring a high-priced, outside attorney to kill a citizen complaint against Milwaukee County’s controversial district attorney, Gov. Tony Evers sent a message to the average Wisconsinite: Attempts to hold corrupt or incompetent public officials (at least the governor’s friends) accountable will not be tolerated.
Last week, Evers’ office released a memo from Madison attorney Matthew Fleming, who Evers’ secretly hired on Dec. 23 at a cost of $275 an hour to quash a complaint from Milwaukee County residents — and to give the Democrat governor much-needed political cover.
The six citizens filed their complaint with Evers a mere six days before the attorney signed the contract. They called on the governor to investigate Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for his office’s routine practice of recommending “inappropriately low” bail for violent repeat offenders. The complaint followed the office’s scant $1,000 bail recommendation for Darrell Brooks Jr. the Milwaukee man suspected of plowing into the Waukesha Christmas parade with his SUV, killing six and injuring dozens more. Brooks was out on low bail days after he was charged with using the same SUV to run over the mother of his child.
Evers repeatedly said he couldn’t do anything about Chisholm until he received a “verified” complaint from Milwaukee County residents. When he did, he spent taxpayer money to pick apart the complaint.
You’ll find lots of technicalities in the attorney’s opinion. Fourteen Waukesha-area lawmakers sent Evers a letter last week grilling the governor on his slippery move. They said Evers’ legal hit man’s opinion “rests heavily on assumptions, ambiguity and perceived technicalities.” In short, Evers took the coward’s way out.
Fleming’s memo demands citizens who would have the audacity to complain essentially first seek answers from Chisholm and his office on their motivations and actions. In other words, citizens would have to do what they’re asking Evers to do — investigate John Chisholm — before the governor would agree to investigate John Chisholm.
What it ultimately screams is that the liberal governor, who supports Chisholm’s soft-on-crime criminal justice ideas, has spent more time attacking Milwaukee County citizens concerned about public safety than investigating why Chisholm’s office has on numerous occasions recommended “inappropriately low” bail for violent crime suspects.
“It’s clear Governor Evers put more effort into ignoring Wisconsinites’ legitimate concerns about John Chisholm’s dereliction of duty in the case of Darrell Brooks Jr. than investigating the wrongdoing by Chisholm’s office,” Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin), a signer of the letter to Evers, told Empower Wisconsin. “I hope Governor Evers plans on calling each of the victims’ families to explain why he won’t do his job.”
Tony Evers is a tool for so many reasons. His failure to do the right thing in the face of political discomfiture has in large part made him the tool that he is.
And this week, this governor is, again, Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Week.