Apparently a second Scott Walker staffer is potentially in hot water for perhaps allegedly doing what he shouldna been doing at work. He is innocent until proven guilty, or within his rights until proven otherwise, or however you want to phrase it. Period. And though his computer was apparently seized, I am opting to believe that he has a right not to be called any names or libeled by anyone on the interntets and beyond by stating as fact that he has done something he hasn't. Cindy K, whose blog the link above sends you to, makes no accusations against the guy, which is the right way to do it.
Too bad the same consideration was not offered to my friend Chris "capper" Liebenthal, who was in a similar pickle a while back. The right howled and, based on a misleading letter released by the DA, have accused him of all kinds of things that are not, in fact, true.
The Republicans, because they so enjoy a good tit-for-tat, targeted Chris because of the first Walker staffer in this predicament. You may recall that earlier this year, Darlene Wink, who worked for Walker as well as holding a position with local Republicans, admitted to commenting on political jsonline stories about her boss from work. She subsequently resigned.
The accusations against capper, as I detailed at the time, were flimsy, and when the DA's letter came out, saying that capper's computer was found to have evidence of "extensive blogging activity," the right was ecstatic that they had found their Darlene Wink. Except two things: One, Chris never admitted to doing what he was accused of, and didn't quit. And two, he wasn't prosecuted and, as far as we know, didn't face any blowback from his employer.
Why? Because the vague phrase "extensive blogging activity" doesn't mean blogging. When pressed by capper's attorney, Michael Maistelman, the DA explained that they found evidence that his computer had visited sites that may have contained political content--not that there was any blogging going on. As Maistelman wrote to a media outlet (one that wrote about the accusations against Chris but not about the name-clearing),
If looking at websites that have political content, such as WisPolitics, Milwaukee Magazine, JSONLINE.COM, etc was a criminal act, most public employees would be in a heap of trouble. Chris was exonerated as expected.Reading the internet is not prohibited by the county internet acceptable use policy. Indeed, just a short while later, it was reported that a number of Walker staffers did just that--visit Wispolitics--from work and not only did Dan Bice note "No scandal there," but the conservative blogosphere that had been gloating over capper wrote exactly zero words about those Walker staffers.
So let's just get this out of the way right now, so that later this week when Bice, probably, writes about this new thing and the righties go with the predictable "buh-buh-buh-but capper was blogging!" Chris wasn't blogging. Anyone who says he was is committing a pretty serious libel. Given that Maistleman is still capper's attorney, I'd be careful what you say.
UPDATE I: Bice's story is up, and it contains an inaccurate description of capper's activities. Ugh. Also, I am really not a fan of the new jsonline deal where you can read the story, or the reader comments, but not both on the same page.