Monday, September 22, 2014

The Perils of Whistleblowing

When Republicans were in the White House anyone who "blew the whistle" on government shenanigans was treated like a national hero by the media, but now that the Democrats are in control whistleblowers are sometimes treated more like terrorists.

Hot Air has the story of a man named Michael Lutz who exposed sleazy political chicanery by Wisconsin District Attorney John Chisolm who has been abusing his legal authority in order to harass Republican Governor Scott Walker.

About Chisolm the Hot Air piece says:
His efforts to tear down Walker are quickly becoming the stuff of legend. A longtime Chisholm subordinate reveals for the first time in this article that the district attorney may have had personal motivations for his investigation. Chisholm told [the source] and others that Chisholm’s wife, Colleen, a teacher’s union shop steward at St. Francis high school, a public school near Milwaukee, had been repeatedly moved to tears by Walker’s anti-union policies in 2011, according to the former staff prosecutor in Chisholm’s office.

Chisholm said in the presence of the former prosecutor that his wife “frequently cried when discussing the topic of the union disbanding and the effect it would have on the people involved … She took it personally.”
Lutz subsequently told several media outlets that Chisolm's criminal prosecution of Walker was purely political/personal and had no legal merit at all. After the news got out that a whistleblower in Chisolm's office had spilled the beans, Chisholm launched a massive hunt to find out who in the circle of those in the know was the source of the leaks.
After missing a scoop on Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm’s long-running investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writers, along with the district attorney’s staff, hunted down the key source who had asked for anonymity, fearing retaliation…

The source turned out to be Lutz, a former prosecutor in Chisholm’s office who feared his reputation and his law practice would suffer if he were unmasked.

The district attorney’s staff launched a Nixon-style “mole hunt” to find the anonymous source, a Journal Sentinel columnist said, and was annoyed that the description of the confidential source wasn’t precise enough to identify him. The staff developed a list of roughly a dozen suspects, the columnist said. The Journal Sentinel never reported this secret search.

They found their guy, in the person of Michael Lutz, a decorated and disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer who worked with John Chisholm, first as a police officer and later in the district attorney’s office. One “journalist” at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got rather personal in rooting out the source.

The feared retaliation was not long in coming. The Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice, whose “political watchdog” column is titled “No Quarter,” appeared after dark at [Lutz's] home on Sept. 11. Bice’s persistent door-bell ringing and heavy knocks awakened and frightened the [Lutz’s] sleeping 12-year-old daughter, he said. The noise was so loud that a neighbor came out to investigate the din.

When [Lutz], a decorated and disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer, came to the door, he opened it a crack to hear Bice demand to know if he was the person quoted in the story. He did not deny it.
So Lutz reveals the truth about the DA's attempts to get Walker indicted and removed from office on fabricated charges and the Journal-Sentinel retaliates not against Chisolm but against Lutz. Lutz's career is now in jeopardy:
The retaliation he feared was that the influence of Chisholm and his allies could affect his new career. He was right.

“I have relocated my kids to prevent them from being brought to tears by any more J-S reporters and to protect them from the onslaught that has already begun. All for telling the truth.”

The consequences for telling that truth are already being felt, Lutz writes. “My law practice .... is over in MKE [Milwaukee]. There is no doubt, as one person has put it, that I am already blacklisted. . . . . Supporting the family will be difficult. Of course, it has been a huge undertaking to go through 4 surgeries, take care of 2 children, drive back and forth to Madison daily in order to get my law license ... only to be persecuted for simply telling the truth.”
It's tragic, but sadly it's what often happens when powerful, corrupt people are revealed to be malfeasant. It'd just be nice if the left were as solicitous about protecting those who inform on liberal officials from retaliation as they are about those who inform on conservative administrations. It'd also be nice if the liberal media weren't complicit in the attempt to destroy the livelihood of men who do the right thing.