Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some Walker and Hiller Context

Today Dan Bice is reporting on a new element of the widening John Doe investigation that has already ensnared close Scott Walker aides, friends and other associates.  The big revelation in this new story is that prosecutors might be focusing on a personal email between Scott Walker and  long time confidant John Hiller.  This element of the investigation appears to be exploring possible bid-rigging within Walker's Milwaukee County administration.

So far Scott Walker has tried but failed to distance himself from his other associates that have been formally charged.  He will have even more difficulty distancing himself from John Hiller given their long history and the activities alleged in today's story.

Here is some additional context and history between Walker and Hiller that may be relevant as we continue to watch this specific part of the John Doe investigation unfold.

John Hiller served as Scott Walker's campaign treasurer from the early 1990's until just last year.  During that time Walker's campaigns have been the subject of a number of scandals including some of the following:

  • In 2005 Scott Walker's campaign received what was the second largest ethics fine in state history. The fine was based on the fact that they paid for 40,000 robo calls but failed to include the mandatory disclosure saying that the Walker campaign was responsible for them. [MJS, 8/4/05]
  • Walker's campaign finance reports have been absolutely filled with mistakes and questionable omissions of key information.  These and other various issues followed Walker's campaign from his entire time in Milwaukee County to his first failed run for governor and even in his successful campaign in 2010. [Milwaukee County Election Commission records; Capital Times, 5/14/02; WDC, 12/1/05; AP, 8/11/09; OWN,10/25/10]
  • When Scott Walker first ran for County Executive, there were reports that his campaign was aggressively shaking down lobbyists to contribute. The suggestion was that if he didn’t win, he would still be a state representative and could influence legislation that was important to said lobbyists. [MJS, 3/10/02]
Walker has certainly appointed John Hiller to positions of influence and power.

Based on the new report Hiller has not been very shy about capitalizing on his very close connection with Scott Walker.  Hiller operates a consulting firm and has sold himself as having "...over 20 years of business and political experience to assist you in navigating the maze of local government..."

Both before and after Hiller's role as Walker's campaign treasurer, he has taken a number of meetings  with key Walker cabinet members.

Some of those calendar items include the following examples:
  • Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin met with John Hiller on April 8, 2011 
  •  Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith met with John Hiller and Maximus representatives on June 10, 2011
The bottom line is that Walker and Hiller have been practically tied at the hip for a very long time.  It seems that this arrangement has been mutually beneficial for most of this time.  The question now is whether the dynamics of that long relationship could now become more of a millstone for both of them.

No comments: