Liebenthal cleared by DA?

There’s breaking news this morning that Chris Liebenthal, aka Capper, has been cleared of possible charges by the DA’s office.

This news is from a press release CRG’s put out. If you read it, beware of the spin and be sure you get to the part where the “DA’s office declined to issue criminal charges.”

A quick e-mail exchange with Liebenthal this morning indicates he hasn’t heard anything of this news.

CRG and Scott Walker whiff again.

More on Walker after the morning coffee.

Update: Be sure to check the comments where you’ll find a letter from the DA’s office.


  1. Cleared? Not at all. Based on the info you provided, Capper should resign. Or be fired.

  2. Really? Why don’t you hop right over and make that happen.

    Liebenthal’s a union employee. It creates an enormous hurdle to firing. As to resigning – would you willingly give up your livelihood in this economy? I doubt it.

    Keep in mind this is CRG’s side of the story. The rest is still to be determined.

  3. Why are you being so sarcastic?

  4. The forensic person found extensive evidence of blogging on county resources, they only referred it as a HR issue.

    This does not clear Liebenthal in any way.

  5. CRG says! We’re still waiting for the news from another source.

    Sorry guys. I know you want this thing to live, but honestly, I just don’t see how you’ll get any satisfaction.

  6. Only the first sentence was sarcasm. I used the tone to call attention to the fact you (or any of us) have no influence over Capper’s employment.

  7. The problem is with you Cindy, can you not see the MASSIVE difference between cleared and decided not to press charges.

    All that says is we don’t think it is a criminal matter, it does in fact confirm that he was using county resources for his jihad against Walker.

    A persuit you apparently endorse.

  8. Well, right now we have a CRG press release asserting such, but that all. Perhaps a letter from the DA would be useful in determining a confirmation. For some reason I just don’t feel comfortable placing my opinion in the hands of a CRG press release.

    Fred – I wrote “cleared of possible charges by the DA’s office.” I just don’t understand how I can make it more simple for you. I have also asserted that whatever employment-related consequences might exist are going to be tough because of the union. Those consequences are also outside of the scope of your or my influence.

    If I thought Walker was worth defending, I’d be the first one to the net.

  9. So in the end, it’s just one Walker-basher coming to the aid of another Walker-basher, eh?

  10. Remember, Fred, that the only information we have right now is from CRG. You remember CRG, right? They’re the ones who thought a blog post written on Labor Day was written on county time. So of course they’re completely trustworthy.

    To quote Homer Simpson: “Oh by the way, I was being sarcastic.”

  11. Yes, we all know that the information is incomplete, but right now it’s not looking good at all for Capper.

  12. No, Tom. In the end it’s a personnel matter out of our purview. We may not even know the outcome down the road.

  13. John Foust says:

    Why does CRG seem to have an inside track from a source at the DA’s office? Where’s the independent statement from the DA’s office on anything related to Capper? It sounds like a leak to me. It makes you wonder if CRG will get slapped for misrepresenting the statements and policies of the DA’s office.

    Is no one concerned that there’s no name connected to the quote in the press release? I’d like to see what the examiner found. Normally, the forensic expert’s report should stay all Joe Friday just-the-facts, saying “Boots and Sabers was visited on the following days and times” and not “he was always browsing the gun porn sites”.

    As my comments on Cindy’s earlier piece show, the County’s Internet use policy would not necessarily preclude casual personal Internet use.

    I think the far more interesting case regarding Walker and open records right now is Supervisor Weishan’s post-Wink request to see who was employed or interned in Walker’s office, and what they were doing while surfing. Where’s CRG on that one?

  14. No need to speculate for a leak. The news was likely in a letter from the DA to the person filing the complaint as an answer. What needs to be made public is that letter from the DA.

    Don’t expect the DA to gush for Capper, though. They’ll play both sides as they kick the issue down the field. ‘Tis the way this sport is played.

  15. CRG didn’t make its original request public. Where’s the call to make their original complaint public, or to make public any response from the DA’s office? I don’t have much sympathy for a group that claims to be about openness and accountability, but who doesn’t trust the public to question their communications.

  16. Yoohoo. All you have to do is make an open records request of the DA to get the original complaint and the response. It’s really not that hard. Even a housewife could do it. 🙂 However, she has a few other things going on right now, so one of you will have to do your own legwork if you really want to know.

  17. I made an email request to the DA on June 18 for the CRG complaint. Haven’t heard a peep.

  18. Well, you should try again with something besides e-mail. Everyone has their happy spot with open records requests. Figure out what makes the Milwaukee DA comply. If it’s really been a month, contact the AG. He’s the grand poo-bah of open records.

    It will embarrass you if I have to do it, so I’ll give you more time.

  19. Embarass away. I’m only a pretend blogger, after all.

  20. Your stomach is much stronger than mine Cindy if you can take on fred and tom in the same thread. You’ll never be able to state something so simply that fred won’t be able to misread it to his supposed advantage.

  21. John Foust says:

    Here’s the meat of the ADA’s letter to the County IT department director, from which the CRG quotes derive: “Our office has completed a review of an image of the Liebenthal workstation. On that county computer, we found extensive blogging activity, including blogging of a political nature, but we found nothing that might be characterized as soliciting or receiving a political contribution or service within the meaning of Section 11.36 of the Wisconsin Statutes. We are closing our file at this time. I understand that IMSD will notify the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services that our investigation was closed with the findings noted above.”

    So… not a word about any correlation as to whether it was done on company time, or whether Capper’s boss felt his Internet usage was outside of allowable personal use as defined by County policy.

    (Fred – it’s spelled “pursuit”.)

  22. CRG paraphrased. Imagine that.

  23. Grow up Grumps

  24. When the original complaint by CRG was filed, all the lefty bloggers said that it was a waste of time because Capper was innocent. Now that Capper has been shown to be guilty, at least by the evidence currently available, they say it doesn’t matter.

  25. Are you surprised Tom?

  26. Michael Mathias says:

    How does “but we found nothing that might be characterized as soliciting or receiving a political contribution or service within the meaning of Section 11.36 of the Wisconsin Statutes. We are closing our file at this time.” amount to any evidence of guilt? Even Fred should be able to understand that one.

  27. He didn’t solicit funds Mathias, he clearly did do blogging on his county pc.

    Surely even you can understand that.

    Then again, you just clearly proved that you either can not or will not.

  28. But blogging on his county pc may or may not be a problem. Why would you want to judge without knowing whether or not it’s an issue?

  29. John Foust says:

    Get a grip, McMahon. Read CRG’s original press release. They claim Capper was running three blogs on work time, claiming it was political activity. Their list of timestamps was so sloppy as to include known furloughs and holidays, and they didn’t cross-check vacation time. Despite CRG’s devotion to openness and accountability, they never released their original complaint. There’s been no response to any questions over at Num6ersgame since June 17. We can study the entrails of the DA’s statement to the County IT director. It looks like the DA was asked, or believed they should inquire, as to whether Capper was violating the statutes regarding political activity by state workers. They find “blogging”. No mention of “work time” or not. The DA finds no violation of the statutes and closes their file. We have no definition of what they called “blogging activity”, which for all we know, could include looking at McMahon’s cartoons or reading Fred’s “real debate”. The County Internet use policy allows personal surfing. You call this “guilty”? Which blog owner is concerned with all those day-time commenters violating the Internet use policy of their respective employers and thereby decreasing shareholder value?

  30. Michael Mathias says:

    Actually, nothing about the statement is clear…except that he didn’t break any laws and surely wasn’t waging a jihad. You’d think the DA might have been concerned about that it if was true. But, alas, it isn’t.

  31. BrkfldDad says:

    Heck, I don’t think it’s even that clear, he didn’t break one specific law, and they declined to issue any criminal charges. It’s as clear as mud. What’s real clear, is the DA’s office is huge. I count 130 names on that letter, are they all attorneys?

  32. Scary, huh bdad?

  33. BrkfldDad says:

    Too say the least. I’d love to see the budget for the DA’s office (but I am too lazy :))

  34. Since his “client” is obviously guilty, John Foust is trying desperately to make his accuser the issue. Frankly, I’d probably do the same if I had to defend Capper on this.

  35. Tom, there’s nothing to defend. If you believe “no violations of statutes” means “obviously guilty” you’re deluding yourself.

    Fred, I was talking to Cindy. Stop trying to make it all about you.

  36. From the DA, “on that county computer, we found extensive blogging activity, including blogging of a political nature”

    So if the question is, was Capper blogging using county resources, the answer is obviously yes.

    Did the DA choose to press criminal charges, the answer is obviously no. They clearly would have had there been a monetary issue (raising funds)

    That in no way clears Capper of misconduct. If he had an ounce of integrity he would resign.

    Though I’m not surprised a blind partisan like Grumps fails to see that distinction.

  37. fred, you aren’t a blind partisan? Is that news!

    I still haven’t seen anything that says blogging from a county computer is misconduct.

  38. John Foust says:

    As for Fred’s “obvious” claim, go ahead – tell me what the ADA actually meant by “blogging”. Reading blogs? Posting comments? Capper posting to his blog? And tell me on what you base this assumption.

    Tom, I’ve given my advice on open records issues to all comers, including Orville himself as I recall, and in no way is Capper my client. If the evidence pointed to his guilt, I’d be right there with you. Give me a little credit for integrity. CRG took a ready, fire, aim strategy.

    I would’ve recommended silent data acquisition of timestamps for several months, vetting the data against known non-work days, and then airing it all in public for all to judge. Go ahead, show Capper is hypocritical for wasting time on the Internet during the work day, while claiming Walker is neglectful of Milwaukee… for all that’s worth. Make Capper the issue to misdirect the yokels from Walker’s issues. If one were honest, though, you’d need to recognize some personal Internet use is apparently allowed for County employees, and you’d need to admit there are thousands of commenters “blogging” during their work hours, too.

    The odds were slim of any success by going to the DA, especially as a first step. The DA, if they took the complaint at all, could only find a violation in rather narrow circumstances as per the statute in the letter. The DA is not the first line of defense in enforcing the County’s Internet use policies.

  39. Randy in Richmond says:

    As someone with no dog in this fight, I make several conclusions:
    –Capper did nothing illegal.
    –Capper most likely violated County policy at some level.
    –Whoever ratted on Capper had a political and possibly a personal motivation.
    –The CRG does have a dog in this fight and it shows in their shotty, unverified reporting.
    –DA’s hate cases like this.
    –Illegal is not the same as wrong, unethical, or in violation of a stated policy.
    –It will be interesting to see what Capper’s direct supervisors do, if anything, considering the guy at the top of the food chain is the negative target of many of his entries-regardless of when they were made.

    And rest assured the County will revise/update/review/rewrite/etc. it’s employee use of computers/internet.

  40. I love your outside perspective, Randy. Thanks for weighing in on this one. You nailed it.

  41. “Ratted on Capper”? Looks like you DO have a dog in this fight, Randy.

  42. Nah. He lives way out there on the east coast.

    You guys should hang around more than just to defend Walker. We actually have a lot of fun.

  43. Foust, the quote came directly from the letter released by the DA.

    Surely you can understand that.

  44. John Foust says:

    No, Fred, I think it’s ambiguous. I asked you what you thought “blogging” meant, and on what facts you make that assumption. What’s so tricky about that? Can’t we at least try to agree on a few definitions? Or does “blogging” get to mean anything we want it to meant?

  45. Gee Foust, I don’t know if we can find common ground?

    Can we agree that the taxpayers did not intend to pay Capper to blog?

  46. Randy in Richmond says:

    After researching this story and some of those involved, I would say that using the figure of speech ‘ratting’ fits the tone of this tit-for-tat adventure. In reality I suspect that you are right and no one can be fully objective on any subject given that the human factor is involved.
    Given that, I still stand by my observations.

  47. BrkfldDad says:

    The more I read it, the more I have an odd feeling that perhaps no one ratted Liebenthal out. While a good number of his blog posts are at all sorts of odd evening hours, sometimes the times on his own site, and comments on others sites, leads you to believe he posted from work. Not saying he wasn’t at lunch or on a break, but it may have happened enough that Walker just sent the henchmen after him to try and uncover the needle in the haystack that’d remove the thorn!

  48. Bdad, like I said, Capper plays hardball. I have a feeling he knew the rules of the game before he engaged. It doesn’t mean the Walker folks couldn’t have a little fun at his expense, though.

  49. John Foust says:

    Don’t play stupid, Fred. Admit it, you don’t know what the ADA meant by “blogging” and neither do I, so don’t act like you do. You’d like to assume it means “Capper writing on his blog” because that’s somehow more of a time-waster than Facebook or RDW?

    I am 100% on-board with the notion that employees noodling around on the Internet is an enormous time-waster. (If you searched the letters-to-the-editor in Forbes magazine circa 1992 or so, you’ll find my warning to employers to not allow Internet access to employees.) It is arguably a form of theft from the employer as much as any other form of loafing.

    On the other hand, it is rare today for any employer (public or private) to allow employees Internet access and yet insist and enforce that no personal surfing take place.

    If you don’t like the County’s Internet use policy that would allow occasional personal surfing that does not offend the boss, then you need to take up that cause with the County Supervisors who set that policy.

    If you are willing to grant that employers might allow some personal surfing and Net use, then are you also willing to draft any sort of enforceable limit on speech that says it’s OK to chat on Facebook, but not OK to chat on RDW because it’s political? OK to Facebook, but not WordPress?

    I also understand that anti-government types would want to insure that all public-paid employees never engage in professional training, ropes courses, Facebooking, or excessive doughnut eating at their desks that might blur break time into work time, or anything that might not make public employ look any less dreary than North Korea.

    But please, go ahead, explain to me why it’s a great thing that employees of private corporations are allowed to do the same kind of occasional Internet use, which could include political participation, chatting and surfing as encouraged by blogs such as yours.

    “Little fun at his expense”, Cindy? You’ve sued or been sued for less.

  50. I didn’t mean it was right, just that it’s a free country and they can do what they want. As in they found it fun.

  51. John Foust says:

    Really? You’d describe CRG’s intentions and press release language as “fun”? Along with CRG’s and Fred’s repeated calls for him to resign his position?

  52. John – again I meant fun for them. Not fun for me, or fun for Capper.

    If I didn’t write clearly enough, I apologize, but step back a moment and understand I’m not your enemy on this one.

  53. John, where was your outrage over the big deal made by someone in Walker’s office making 2 posts on Jsonline?

  54. fred, that kind of rebuttal is stupid and way overused on our little blog world.

  55. John Foust says:

    I wouldn’t call it a rebuttal, Cindy. You’re too kind. I’d call it ignoring my questions…

    This is how it works, Fred. We can ask each other questions and if we’re engaged and polite, we can respond to each other. How “real!” Maybe you can point to the “big deal” and “someone” and I’ll render my opinion. Meanwhile, we were talking about CRG. Where’s CRG’s num6ersgame web page about Darlene Wink? I can’t find it.

  56. No Cindy it is not a stupid question.

    The left, went after Darlene Wink with both barrels for making 2 posts on JSonline. For that she resigned.

    The same people (and you) are excusing Capper for doing considerable blogging using county resources.

    So the standard is apparently if you favor Walker, are a county employee and use county resources you are guilty of wrong doing, if you are a vocal opponent of Walker it is just fine to utilize county resources to attack him.

    Because that is exactly what we have here.

    On a secondary note, the paper showed their Walker bias by trumpeting the Wink story and to date they have not published a word of the Liebenthal issue. (I’m talking actual newsprint)

    And for the record, I find it truly stunning that John Foust would actually talking about being polite.

    The point here is bias and double standards and that is exactly what we have going on here.

  57. BTW John, you were talking about CRG, I was speaking of the release from the DAs office and about LIEbenthal.

  58. Bice’s story says she made more than two, Fred. He reports seventy on JSOnline and dozens elsewhere. Wink resigned immediately. In some coincidence, hasn’t had an update since. Her bosses said campaign-related work on County time was a no-no. Bringing a personal laptop to work was a no-no, too. How that could go unnoticed for months, I have no idea. As an IT person, I don’t know how the County could allow random laptops to be connected to its networks, either.

    In Capper’s case, the ADA didn’t find any evidence of similar campaign-related activity. So where’s CRG’s call for investigating whether others in Walker’s office were engaged in similar surfing?

    I look forward to you actually responding to my questions above in #49, Fred. I thought the “point here” was that the ADA didn’t find any campaigning by Capper, and secondarily, that simple Internet use isn’t a fire-able offense if the boss didn’t care.

  59. Whoa, Fred. I see all kinds of problems with this approach.

    The left had a flurry of activity about Wink, but they did not file a complaint with the DA. Nor did they sign her resignation.

    I didn’t weigh in on Wink much. I’m not “excusing” Capper for anything. I am saying that we don’t know if Capper blogging from a county computer (understanding that “blogging” is not specifically defined) is a problem or not. We may never know.

    Do I think it’s ridiculous so much of America’s productivity is eaten up by the internet? Sure. But that’s a great big picture.

    As to the paper, would it cover your performance at your job?

    Really, bias and double standards exist everywhere. Are you honestly able to say you don’t exhibit some of each yourself?

  60. John Foust says:

    There’s the heart of CRG’s complaint, Cindy. They didn’t like what Capper was saying. They wanted some odd sort of retribution for Darlene Wink. They didn’t seem to show much concern for any larger problem of political speech conducted by employees on the job, or even narrowed to simply public employees on the job.

  61. F*** all you all who doubted me.

    (Edited for profanity.)

  62. Yeah, that’s not capper.

  63. I rather think it’s not Capper, either. They did use Capper’s e-mail address, though. Here’s the IP info. Notice they landed here from Real Debate.

  64. Capper’s not in New Jersey this week …

  65. And Capper is much more polite and writes sentences better than that. “All you all”? Seriously?