By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ handlers have made it clear that he can’t open an investigation into Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm until he receives a verified complaint from a taxpaying Milwaukee County resident.
So why is Evers “working with” Chisholm on the embattled DA’s internal investigation into “inappropriately low” bail for the suspect in the Waukesha massacre?
“When asked about the situation at a press conference Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers said he’s “working with Chisholm’s office to investigate what happened,” Wisconsin Public Radio reported last week.
Evers’ spokespeople have yet to answer Empower Wisconsin’s requests for comment (originally sent Monday with a follow-up on Thursday).
We want to know what many of our readers want to know. Why is the governor involved in Chisholm’s investigation?
It seems clear Chisholm’s internal review ended last Thursday when he told Milwaukee County supervisors that his young assistant DA screwed up in recommending $1,000 bail for a career violent criminal accused of killing six people and injuring scores more last month when he drove through Waukesha County’s annual Christmas parade.
Republican lawmakers, among others, have asked Evers to remove Chisholm from office. Evers said as soon as he receives an official complaint to begin an investigation, “we would begin it.”
“But it has to be somebody from the county,” the governor stressed..
As of Thursday, no Milwaukee County resident had stepped forward with a complaint.
Should a complaint be filed, Evers’ involvement in Chisholm’s investigation into the low bail recommendation could complicate his ability to conduct a fair assessment of the DA’s conduct. It could raise red flags of a conflict of interest.
Political cynics, many of them Republican lawmakers, say Evers, a highly partisan Democrat, will do nothing to hold accountable Milwaukee County’s long-serving Democrat DA — especially one who has led secret investigations against his political enemies.
Also interesting to note, Evers’ call for “caution” in the wake of the Waukesha massacre.
“I caution people not to jump to conclusions,” he said after the arrest of Darrell Brooks, the black man charged with six counts of intentional homicide.
The liberal governor certainly was quick with his own conclusions shortly after a white Kenosha police officer shot a black man who was armed with a knife as he repeatedly resisted arrest. Evers’ incendiary statement about the officer-involved shooting has been criticized for helping to light the fuse on the riots that ravaged Kenosha in the summer of 2020.