October 22, 2014

Timing of latest John Doe records release raises questions

Mary Burke, Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Mary Burke, Scott Walker (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

The Milwaukee County executive’s office released another wave of documents Tuesday, seized during a John Doe investigation that resulted in the convictions of six people tied to Governor Scott Walker when he was in charge of that office. The timing of the release of 16,000 documents from the case is raising questions though, coming just two weeks before Walker faces a tough reelection fight against Democrat Mary Burke.

Walker released a statement Tuesday morning, saying “Clearly, the highly partisan Milwaukee County E​xecutive​, who has given $63,000 to ​my opponent​,​ released four​-​year​-​old emails two weeks before the election to distract voters from​ my opponent’s failed record. This case was closed nearly two years ago. Voters see through the political motives of my opponents to stop our successful reforms​ ​which are moving Wisconsin forward.”

The records released Tuesday are just some of the massive number of documents seized during the John Doe investigation, which was looking into allegations that workers in Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County executive were doing campaign work on taxpayer time. The governor was never charged with any wrongdoing, but members of his staff and associates were convicted under the probe.

Current Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele’s office said he was not directly involved in the decision to release the records Tuesday, relying on corporation counsel to review and release them instead. Milwaukee County attorney Paul Bargren said in a statement that no outside influences determined when the information was going to be released, noting that “work has been underway full time by a group of four to six reviewers under my supervision since June 30. The material had to be reviewed carefully, and at the same time, there was substantial public interest in the material….As material was ready for release, I chose to make it available rather than hold on to it.”

The release came just hours after Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke put out a new campaign targeting Walker over the John Doe investigation. Speaking with reporters before casting an in-person absentee ballot Tuesday in Madison, Burke said there were no discussions with the county executive about the release of the documents on the same day. Burke said “the timing wasn’t determined based on that…the timing is about that people, when they go to the polls, need to consider Governor Walker’s entire record.”

Attorney General Van Hollen drops effort to restore Voter ID requirement before election

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

The state Department of Justice is no longer pursuing an effort to restore a Wisconsin law that requires voters to show a government-issued photo identification to obtain a ballot, before the November 4th election.

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order putting the law back on hold earlier this month, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had said he would explore alternatives to address the high court’s concerns so the requirement could be reinstated for the November 4 elections. Van Hollen did not indicate he hoped to accomplish that goal.

On Monday, DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck said they now do not expect to have the law restored before the election, although she declined to say what alternatives the agency had explored. In an email, Brueck said that the fact that the requirement will not be in effect is “unfortunate as it is a constitutional piece of common sense legislation that is overwhelmingly supported by the people of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin’s voter ID law has been the subject of a long legal battle since it was first enacted by Republicans in 2011. It was only in effect for a single primary election in early 2012, before a Dane County judge put it on hold. Further state and federal court challenges have kept it tied up since then, until an appeals court ordered it put back in effect in early September. State and local election officials had been working to educate voters about the requirement, prior to the Supreme Court’s order earlier this month putting the law on hold again.

A federal appeals court earlier this month did rule that the law is constitutional. The case is currently being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Eau Claire sex sting results in 9 arrests

File photo

File photo

A sex-trafficking sting in Eau Claire late last week resulted in the arrests of nine men.

Local officers, working with state investigators, ran a two-day undercover operation last Thursday and Friday, in which they posted ads online offering sex with underage individuals. After responding to the ad, eight men were arrested on computer sex crime and attempted sexual assault charges, while one was arrested on drug charges. The men ranged in age from 20 to 60.

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer says they message should be clear, that predators should be aware they “are monitoring these sites and you’ll never know who you’re talking with.”

A similar sting operation a year ago resulted in the convictions of five men.


Wisconsin woman accused of faking cancer to raise money

Theresa Strub

Theresa Strub

A Spring Green woman is accused of faking cancer and cashing in on thousands of dollars that people and organizations donated for her bogus cancer fight.

According to a news release from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, Richland County Sheriff’s Office and Spring Green Police Department, 29-year-old Theresa Strub faces nine felonies and one misdemeanor. She is accused of benefiting from fundraisers and charities designed to help her fight cancer.

Strub had told people she was suffering from stomach and kidney cancer, although police says their investigation found cancer photos Strub had used on social media were stock photos dating back more than a decade. One of Strub’s largest fundraisers was held at Arthur’s restaurant in Spring Green. According to investigators, she collected more than $30,000 that night..

Strub is charged with Theft by False Representation, Identity Theft for Financial Gain  and Attempted Theft by False Representation.


Tomah man arrested in wife’s shooting death

A northern Wisconsin man has been arrested in the death of his wife. Cade Clark, 26, was arrested Wednesday in Tomah, 10 days after his wife was shot in the head. According to the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office, Clark called 911 to report that his wife had been shot around 2 a.m. on October 5 at a residence near Winter. Kristina Star Clark, 25, was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, where she later died.

Cade Clark faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the sheriff’s office. Funeral services for Kristina Clark were held last Sunday in Tomah. The couple had three young children.