By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Still think politics has nothing do with a taxpayer-funded, Democrat-driven investigation into conservatives connected to Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker?
In a “memo” sent out Tuesday afternoon, Woodhouse beats the old Democratic Party drum, drudging up allegations from a long and winding secret investigation that finally ended with six convictions, four of those not in any way related to the original reason for the probe.
Remember where Woodhouse is coming from. He leads liberal super PAC American Bridge, an opposition-research juggernaut, as described by Politico. He also is president of Americans United for Change, the progressive issue-advocacy group.
American Bridge’s offshoot, Correct the Record, as you may recall, late last year launched its first political salvo in its war on potential GOP candidates for president in 2016, putting Walker squarely in its crosshairs.
While in his memo Woodhouse makes a passing note that the nearly 3-year-old John Doe investigation ended without any charges of wrongdoing lodged against Walker, he strikes up the left-wing conspiracy band again, playing the same old Democratic Party tune.
“… (Walker) still paid thousands in legal defense fees related to the investigation. Now, mere months after the first three-year long investigation was closed, there is a second John Doe investigation related to spending and coordination of outside groups in Walker’s 2011 recall election,” Woodhouse declares.
That second John Doe is the same meandering, multi-county probe launched, again, by the Democrat-led Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. It’s the same court-administered dragnet that has orchestrated pre-dawn raids at the home of conservative targets, only to have several of its subpoenas quashed by the presiding judge in the case, who ruled the prosecution did not show evidence to support its allegations.
Wringing out his wet conspiracy wash cloth, Woodhouse goes back to the first John Doe.
“On Wednesday, new documents resulting from the John Doe investigation into Walker’s Milwaukee County Executive administration will be released,” Woodhouse writes in an email.
He is, of course, referring to the court-ordered release of the private emails of Kelly Rindfleisch, who served as deputy chief of staff for Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.
The investigation, launched in May 2010 by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, began after Walker’s staff discovered discrepancies in a county fund for veterans. County executive employee Darlene Wink, who first found the shortage, was eventually convicted for campaigning for Walker on government time.
A civil rights lawsuit filed last week by the target of the latest John Doe, asserts the first probe was nothing more than a politically driven “fishing expedition” intent on bringing down Walker for his political successes.
“… (T)he Milwaukee County Attorney’s Office decided to use a John Doe proceeding to investigate the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office as a means of influencing the 2010 election in which Scott Walker was a candidate for Governor,” the lawsuit alleges.
As recently reported in Wisconsin Reporter:
The first John Doe investigation concluded with the convictions of two men Walker had hoped would be investigated in the case of the missing veterans funds. Kevin Kavanaugh, treasurer of the veterans fund, and Walker former aide Timothy Russell were found guilty of embezzlement. Russell’s domestic partner, Brian Pierick, got caught up in the dragnet after investigators found damning images on the couple’s home computer. Pierick was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $2,148 fine for contributing to the delinquency of a child. He had been charged with one count of child endangerment and another count of exposing his genitals for an alleged online sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male. Pierick reportedly believed the 17-year-old to be of consenting age.
But in its wide net, the John Doe investigation captured three others on convictions unrelated to the veterans fund. The CEO of a Wisconsin railroad company got two years of probation for exceeding campaign contribution limits in support of Walker’s run for governor, as well as laundering campaign contributions through employees and associates. Walker’s campaign promptly returned the contributions. As the lawsuit points out, the conviction had nothing to do with the original intent of the John Doe investigation.
Neither did the conviction of Kelly Rindfleisch, who worked in Walker’s county executive office. She was sentenced to six months in jail on a misconduct conviction for campaign fundraising at the courthouse using a secret email system, according to the prosecution. She is appealing that decision. Last week, a Milwaukee County judge ordered the release of all of Rindfleisch’s professional and personal emails.
Rindfleisch agreed to a plea deal because she said she lacked the funds to mount a legal defense and hoped to “avoid jail time to care for her 88-year-old, ailing mother,” according to the lawsuit.
Sources tell Wisconsin Reporter that Rindfleisch’s home was raided again during the latest John Doe probe into conservative organizations.
Wink, the county executive employee who first reported the discrepancy in the veterans fund, was convicted on two misdemeanors for campaigning for Walker on government time.
“As with Rindfleisch, (Wink’s) conviction is the result of prosecutors turning peoples’ lives upside down in a politically motivated fishing expedition,” the civil rights lawsuit asserts.
Now Woodhouse and his ilk are hoping to fire up the Democratic Party “shame” machine in advance of the release of the Rindfleisch emails.
“How much involvement did Walker have in the mixing of county government and campaign business by his staff?” Woodhouse’s memo asks. “Did Walker himself use the ‘secret email network’? Did he ever use it to direct his staff to conduct campaign business on government time?”
Of course, Woodhouse knows the answers to those question.: The investigation would not have ended without charges against the then-Milwaukee County executive had those emails, reviewed through the John Doe process, found Walker had done anything illegal.
But why let the facts get in the way of politics.
Woodhouse’s group has made it clear it is hungry to go after Walker, seen as a growing threat on the national stage in 2016, even as the first-term Republican governor runs for re-election in November.
Politico senior political reporter Maggie Haberman said the choice of Walker as the hit group’s first target is interesting.
“Slamming Walker gets Correct the Record a political hat-trick — they get to try to ding him for two elections, and to elevate him in name recognition in a GOP presidential primary battle in which New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seen as a strong front-runner,” Haberman wrote in a Nov. 27 piece.
In short, the Clinton machine’s early attack on Walker shows national Democrats don’t see the Wisconsin governor, best known for his public-sector collective bargaining reforms, as just some Republican dark horse. They see him as a bona fide threat.
With Christie’s star falling in the wake of “Bridgegate,” American Bridge and its like-minded, well-coordinated friends would seem more interested than ever in going after Scott Walker.
Contact M.D. Kittle at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sources: Secret probe targeting conservatives is abuse of prosecutorial powers
- Scary! Phantom prosecutor in Dems’ war on conservatives disappears inside courthouse
- EXCLUSIVE: Judge in Democrat-led John Doe probe recuses herself
- Democrats’ ‘intelligence-gathering’ spreads in Wisconsin
- Democrats tap anti-terror expert to head secret probe of Wisconsin conservatives
- Sheriff Clarke: John Doe case shows Milwaukee DA is ‘weaponized for political purposes’
- Clarke: John Doe into conservatives ‘unbridled,’ ‘dangerous’ and ‘tainted’
- Sources: New judge named in Democrat-led secret probe
- Vendetta justice? Criticism growing about John Doe prosecutor Bruce Landgraf
- Will Wisconsin’s own ‘Miserable’ inspector jail conservative activist for speaking out about Dem probe?
- Conservative targets bring in big guns to Democrat-led John Doe fight
- ‘Dangerous’ game: Former FEC official blasts Democrats’ secret investigation of conservative groups
- Center for Media and Democracy: Liberals are morally superior
- Wisconsin Dems suddenly support political investigations
- WI Republican attorney general to represent judges in Democrat-led John Doe probe
- Republicans speak out about silent John Doe targeting conservatives
- Biggest secret in John Doe may be just how judges and special prosecutors are selected
- WSJ: John Doe judge deals body blow to secret probe targeting conservatives
- Vos: Wait until John Doe in ‘rearview mirror’ before revisiting law
- Lawsuits looming in Wisconsin’s crumbling John Doe probe?
- Conservative to Democrat prosecutors: Shut down secret political probe or face civil rights lawsuit
- John Doe target O’Keefe taking on IRS, too
- Lawmaker: Wisconsin’s John Doe like Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’
- Target files civil rights lawsuit against Wisconsin’s John Doe prosecutors
- Disparate treatment: Civil rights lawsuit claims conservative speech trampled
- Liberal group looking to take Wisconsin’s John Doe national
- John Doe judge: ‘Results of the John Doe speak for themselves’
- John Doe special prosecutor appeals judge’s ruling quashing subpoenas
- John Doe prosecutor pushed for brain-damaged man’s conviction in ATF debacle
- Conservatives counterpunch John Doe prosecutors’ move to stall injunction
- Shadowy John Doe investigator invokes federalism in civil rights lawsuit
- John Doe prosecutors wanted higher-priced lawyers, source says
- Secret agent Dean Nickel’s defense: ‘Dean Nickel is not responsible’
- D’oh! John Doe prosecutors claim secrecy protection – after filing secret documents
- Recusal in John Doe case raises questions of fairness, purpose
- Absolute immunity makes it tough to prosecute the prosecutors of John Doe
- Poll suggests Dems’ big ‘secret’ weapon against Walker is backfiring
- ‘Easy target': Kelly Rindfleisch breaks silence about John Doe probe
- SCOTUS ruling on campaign finance shows abuse of John Doe, targets say
- Nobody will say what John Doe’s shadow man did, but taxpayers are paying his legal bill
- Judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ move to dismiss civil rights suit
- Civil rights expert: John Doe law is ‘un-American,’ like something from ‘Nazi Germany’
- Target: John Doe prosecutors making up campaign law as they go along
- John Doe, as it is being used, must go, WI senator says
- John Doe target says prosecutors latest move another delay tactic
- John Doe prosecutors sound defensive in latest court filings
- Federal judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ motion to stall civil rights case
- Media coalition asks judge to open sealed John Doe documents
- Are John Doe prosecutors sweating out federal judge’s decision?
- John Doe is dead: Judge stops WI prosecutors’ probe into conservatives
- This is what the Fourth Amendment looks like?
- What’s next for now-defunct John Doe probe?
- Appeals court stalls judge’s order halting John Doe probe
- Federal judge’s ruling could open up sealed John Doe records
- Federal judge orders John Doe probe shut down again
- Lawmakers call for review of GAB’s secret John Doe activities, funds
- Lawyers, lawyers everywhere and other dispatches from John Doe Land
- Secret’s out: The world is beginning to learn more about WI’s John Doe
- Still their little secret? Questions remain on John Doe gag order
- Appeals Court declares portions of Wisconsin campaign finance law unconstitutional
- John Doe prosecutors suddenly support opening sealed court records
- Expert: It’s as if GAB decided ‘Citizens United didn’t exist’
- John Doe prosecutors voice phony outrage, legal source says
- GAB still reviewing court ruling declaring WI campaign finance law unconstitutional
- State Farm still doesn’t want to cover John Doe prosecutor’s legal bills
- For the Walker-hating left, John Doe is ‘Mission Accomplished’
- Sources: No urgency in WI Supreme Court on John Doe
- Would Walker settlement with John Doe prosecutors be a deal with the devil?
- Contempt questions surround reported John Doe deal talks
- Walker’s John Doe response raises more questions than answers
- Sources: Attorney General passes on defending GAB in John Doe cases
- Attorney to judge: Don’t let John Doe prosecutor ‘moot’ injunction
- John Doe targets sue Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board
- Federal judge says his order halting John Doe probe should be clear to prosecutor
- John Doe special prosecutor’s bill still shrouded in secrecy
- ‘Are these kind of armed pre-dawn raids standard operating procedure?’
- John Doe special prosecutor obeys judge’s order
- ‘Never-ending’ John Doe never ended, WSJ reports
- Appeals court upholds judge’s order shutting down John Doe probe
- O’Keefe keeps collecting big wins in John Doe lawsuit
- John Doe I judge says he’s not responsible for John Doe II
- Will taxpayers have to pay for frivolity of John Doe prosecutors?
- John Doe prosecutors jump back into the dark?
- What about those prosecutors? Questions surround other John Doe DAs
- Humiliated in court, WI Dems take their anti-conservative John Doe probe to the media
- Federal judge blasts John Doe prosecutors – again – as he denies records release
- Right on cue: Document dump fuels anti-Walker donation drive
- Wall Street Journal points out ‘disgrace’ of mainstream John Doe reporting
- Expert: John Doe raids raise ‘troubling’ Fourth Amendment questions
- Kelly Rindfleisch tells conservatives, ‘Don’t back down’
- Mainstream media forced to walk back Walker ‘criminal scheme’ narrative
- John Doe prosecutors engaged in premature justification, conservatives say
- Is John Doe probe a case of a mini NSA in Wisconsin?
- AG opinion means accountability board’s John Doe secrets are safe — for now
- Senator asks attorney general to compel GAB to open up its books
- GAB now playing secrets in state John Doe lawsuit
- Will John Doe prosecutors launch lengthy probe against Trek Bicycle?
- John Doe prosecutors engaged in war of words — lots and lots of words
- Judge denies conservatives’ request to add GAB to civil rights lawsuit
- Oral arguments set in John Doe prosecutors’ appeal
- In John Doe Land, the left doesn’t illegally coordinate
- John Doe document blitz must have broken mainstream media’s heart
- Senator: Looks like accountability board is hiding something
- Kelly Rindfleisch appeal to test validity of John Doe digital searches
- Conservatives in John Doe battle know disclosure comes with a heavy price
- Appeals court orders release of some John Doe documents
- Taxpayers on the hook up to $25,000 for GAB’s legal maneuvers
- Overheated media erroneously bring back Walker ‘criminal scheme’ theme
- ‘Retaliation': Docs show state prosecutors launched mini-NSA probe of WI conservatives
- John Doe prosecutors take desperate, unethical slap
- Walker ‘smoking gun’ story has tiny glaring flaw
- Wisconsin prosecutors aim to shut down conservatives
- Conservatives appeal to common sense in John Doe appeals case
- Conservatives say ‘incorrect disclosure’ of John Doe docs no ‘tiny error’
- First Amendment big guns back targets of John Doe probe
- Was John Doe judge a rubber stamp?
- $25,000 and counting: WI taxpayers’ bill so far to defend GAB and its ‘monster’
- Another blow for Wisconsin’s restrictive campaign finance law
- Wisconsin prosecutors appeal for protection from blowback in partisan probe
- Is John Doe story colored with a bit of ‘Macbeth?’
- GAB director says agency just following the law in John Doe probe
- Kelly Rindfleisch: Where are the tears for the kids the Milwaukee school system failed?
- Rindfleisch attorney: Appeals court can protect the Fourth Amendment in Digital Age
- Source: Wisconsin Supreme Court doesn’t want political heat of John Doe case
- Appeals court reverses John Doe injunction, but Wisconsin’s secret war far from over
- A whistleblower’s story: Taking on a ‘hyper-partisan’ district attorney
- Conservative O’Keefe seeks investigation into John Chisholm and his John Doe
- Who’s paying the bill? Report casts questions on GAB and John Doe payments
- Target of secret John Doe probe is fighting back and speaking out
- The day John Doe rushed through the door
- Rindfleisch: ‘Rape’ not too strong a word for how violated John Doe targets feel
- Conservative group asks court to stop John Doe ‘constitutional injury’
- Conservatives to appeals court: ‘You don’t know Doe’
- Armed and growing: Milwaukee County DA beefs up his ‘police force’
- Federal judge stops John Doe prosecutors from bothering conservative group
- Wisconsin Supreme Court takes another pass on John Doe case
- No surprise: Bice buries the lead, Walker follows the law
- Federalism v. individual rights: A conversation with Eric O’Keefe
- Report: No district attorney will investigate District Attorney John Chisholm
- Appeals court denies request to rehear John Doe civil rights case
- Voters say ‘yes’ to Walker, ‘no’ to John Doe, law expert says
- Vos: There will be reforms to John Doe, GAB
- GAB, Milwaukee County DA bail on key provision behind war on conservatives
- John Doe lawsuit could be headed to U.S. Supreme Court
- Kelly Rindfleisch will fight on in Fourth Amendment case
- John Doe froze conservative speech, targets say
- Conservatives to court: Open up records on GAB’s role in John Doe
- Did the GAB doctor documents to cover their tracks in John Doe?
- Wisconsin’s Van Hollen says goodbye to AG post, John Doe
- Rindfleisch appeals to Supreme Court in John Doe Fourth Amendment abuse case
- Audit: GAB has failed to follow the law
- Wisconsin Supreme Court to take up John Doe complaints
- ‘R word’ surfaces in wake of state Supreme Court taking up John Doe challenges
- GAB won’t say whether it has reauthorized its role in John Doe probe
- Rogue agency defied judges to carry out partisan probe of Wisconsin conservatives
- ‘Outside the … law’: Lawmakers call for investigation of GAB
- Attorney: GAB’s John Doe justifications don’t hold up to law
- Isn’t it ironic: Mainstream silence follows reports of secret GAB Gmail in John Doe
- GAB offers contradictory defense of its John Doe activities
- O’Keefe officially asks judge to open probe into John ‘Doe’ Chisholm
- State lawmakers look to investigate the GAB and its investigators
- One year ago, judge’s ruling shakes up John Doe probe
- Doe possessed: ‘They have information about every aspect of our lives’
- GAB plays victim card in ‘complicated’ John Doe, campaign finance farce
- Public defender asks Supreme Court to take up John Doe-related Fourth Amendment case
- GAB has a sudden change of heart on campaign finance reform
- O’Keefe takes his case against John Doe to U.S. Supreme Court
- Conservatives: GAB’s meeting minutes show gap in board’s John Doe oversight
- How Wisconsin media support DA’s war on conservatives
- Federal judge’s judgment takes John Doe probe off life support
- Following judge’s order killing John Doe, what’s next?
- First Amendment expert: Wisconsin ought to be ‘embarrassed’ by John Doe
- Does chief justice have conflict of interest in John Doe case?
- Conservative groups ask U.S. Supreme Court to defend rights of John Doe targets
- Is John Doe special prosecutor still working with partisan DA, GAB?
- Prosecutor misstatements continue to shape John Doe narrative, Walker’s future
- $775,000 and rising — Wisconsin taxpayers’ bill to defend John Doe prosecutors