Boots & Sabers

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0754, 16 Jun 20

Evers’ record(ings)

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Governor Evers’ secret recordings and his reaction to the news tells us  lot about him as a governor and as a person. Here’s a little:

Further, Evers’ refusal to disclose or discipline the perpetrator tells us more about him. It tells us that he is either afraid to hold his staff accountable for bad behavior, or he condones it. Recall that we do not yet know if the perpetrator committed a crime or merely violated ethical boundaries. Either way, Evers is allowing staff members to run rogue with no consequences.

Whether Evers knew or just condoned his staff’s recording of the call, it also shows that his administration is willing to use slimy tactics for political gain – even on an official call that was supposed to be about working together to respond to a pandemic. They recorded the call and released it to the media in an effort to embarrass political opponents. Despite the Evers administration’s claims of innocent motives, the results speak for themselves. Look at what they do — not what they say.

Finally, since the disclosure of the recording, Governor Evers has not seen fit to apologize to Vos and Fitzgerald for recording their conversation. He may have not known that the call was being recorded at the time, but he knows it now. His stubborn refusal to even do the simple mannerly thing and apologize for the breach of trust shows his inability, or unwillingness, to build relationships with people with whom he disagrees politically. His lifetime as a bureaucrat has not equipped him with the skills and he lacks the natural acumen to develop personal relationships outside his rigid ideological sphere.


0754, 16 June 2020


  1. jjf

    Who received invitations to the call, and how was that arranged?  If a staffer received the invitation and called-in, aren’t they a party to the call?

    If they were Nixonian, they would’ve tried to keep it secret.

    If they were Walkerian, they would’ve just erased it as quickly and as thoroughly as a hard drive used in gerrymandering.

    My guess?  A reporter caught wind of the recording.  It wasn’t leaked.  A reporter requested it as an open record and got it.

  2. Jason

    Objection, SPECULATION!

  3. Owen

    If you are to argue that someone who is on a call, but does not speak and the participants don’t know they are there, is a “participant,” then you argue that anyone listening to a call may record it. Welcome to the wholesale legalization of a surveillance state.

  4. jjf

    Well, you said it – you would think there’s a difference between someone who was invited or allowed access to a call (as part of their job) and someone who taps a call they weren’t invited to.

    If they sent an email that said “call in to this conference number at 10 a.m.” then I’d say everyone who was intended to receive the email is a participant.  And if a legislator passed it to their staff – didn’t they intend those people to participate?

    Maybe they even have a log of all the numbers that called in.  You think that if someone speaks up, they’re a participant, and if they don’t they’re not?  How many other staffers do you think were on that call?

    Best of all, do you think the AG will prosecute it?

    Cough Trump cough Barr.

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