Home  >  Wisconsin  >  Humiliated in court, WI Dems take their anti-conservative John Doe probe to the media

Humiliated in court, WI Dems take their anti-conservative John Doe probe to the media

By   /   June 20, 2014  /   No Comments

Part 85 of 98 in the series Wisconsin's Secret War
AP photo

POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS Hallis Mallen, of Madison, Wis., takes part in a January 2012 Recall Walker rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol. While union-backed rallies failed, Democratic prosecutors attempted to take down Gov. Scott Walker with a secret investigation.

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — Smacked by two judges in their legal effort to take down Gov. Scott Walker, prosecutors in Wisconsin’s secret John Doe investigation have taken their case to the friendlier court of mainstream media.

Citing 268 pages of documents released Thursday, the Associated Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel laid out the prosecution’s argument that conservative organizations and others illegally coordinated political activities with Gov. Scott Walker.

Looking at the same documents, two judges have already ruled that John Doe prosecutors have absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa, who last month shut down the investigation through a preliminary injunction, described the prosecutors’ claims against Walker as “simply wrong.”

“The prosecutors’ coordination conspiracy is the conspiracy to do things that are not only legal, but are absolutely protected by the U.S. Constitution,” said a legal expert with knowledge of the lawsuits. The source asked not to be identified due to his proximity to the case.

The documents, selected by prosecutors for the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, provide the public’s first real look at the well-organized liberal effort to unseat Walker.

Walker’s support for Act 10, his effort to reform public worker pay and benefits, produced a high-profile showdown between Walker supporters and government employee union members. In the background, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, began carrying out a legal strategy to dismantle Walker’s political support.

In October, Chisholm and other prosecutors carried out at least five predawn raids of the homes and offices of conservative and free-market activists, law-enforcement officials confiscated equipment, phone records and other communications, some of which is referred to in Thursday’s document release.

“The materials released today are all ones that we asked the district court to unseal because the public has a right to know about the John Doe prosecutors’ abuse of government power,” said Andrew Grossman, an attorney representing conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for Growth in a lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors.

“These documents show how the John Doe prosecutors adopted a blatantly unconstitutional interpretation of Wisconsin law that they used to launch a secret criminal investigation targeting conservatives throughout Wisconsin,” he added.

That claim is at the heart of O’Keefe’s federal civil rights lawsuit.

Like all targets of John Doe investigations, O’Keefe was bound by state law to say nothing publicly of the investigation. That provision of the John Doe law, ostensibly designed to protect innocent witnesses from any implication of criminal wrongdoing in connection with the probe, increasingly has been used to allow government prosecutors to conduct opposition political research at taxpayer expense.

But O’Keefe went public. In a high-profile Wall Street Journal piece and in Wisconsin Reporter articles, O’Keefe surprised prosecutors by announcing he had turned the legal tables — suing them for violating his constitutional rights.

O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth claim the prosecutors — including Chisholm, the Democrat who launched the John Doe probe in late summer 2012; two of his assistant DAs; John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz; and a shadowy contracted investigator — violated their rights of political speech and association through a bogus, partisan “witch hunt” of an investigation.

The investigation included what sources have described as “paramilitary-style” predawn raids on the homes and offices of conservative targets.

Randa’s preliminary injunction remains in effect, although the 7th Circuit is now taking up the prosecutors’ appeal.

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and this is a story that needs to be told to prevent more abuses and to hold the John Doe prosecutors accountable for violating the rights of Wisconsinites,” Grossman said.

Contact M.D. Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org

Part of 98 in the series Wisconsin's Secret War
  1. Sources: Secret probe targeting conservatives is abuse of prosecutorial powers
  2. Scary! Phantom prosecutor in Dems’ war on conservatives disappears inside courthouse
  3. EXCLUSIVE: Judge in Democrat-led John Doe probe recuses herself
  4. Democrats’ ‘intelligence-gathering’ spreads in Wisconsin
  5. Democrats tap anti-terror expert to head secret probe of Wisconsin conservatives
  6. Sheriff Clarke: John Doe case shows Milwaukee DA is ‘weaponized for political purposes’
  7. Clarke: John Doe into conservatives ‘unbridled,’ ‘dangerous’ and ‘tainted’
  8. Sources: New judge named in Democrat-led secret probe
  9. Vendetta justice? Criticism growing about John Doe prosecutor Bruce Landgraf
  10. Will Wisconsin’s own ‘Miserable’ inspector jail conservative activist for speaking out about Dem probe?
  11. Conservative targets bring in big guns to Democrat-led John Doe fight
  12. ‘Dangerous’ game: Former FEC official blasts Democrats’ secret investigation of conservative groups
  13. Center for Media and Democracy: Liberals are morally superior
  14. Wisconsin Dems suddenly support political investigations
  15. WI Republican attorney general to represent judges in Democrat-led John Doe probe
  16. Republicans speak out about silent John Doe targeting conservatives
  17. Biggest secret in John Doe may be just how judges and special prosecutors are selected
  18. WSJ: John Doe judge deals body blow to secret probe targeting conservatives
  19. Vos: Wait until John Doe in ‘rearview mirror’ before revisiting law
  20. Lawsuits looming in Wisconsin’s crumbling John Doe probe?
  21. Conservative to Democrat prosecutors: Shut down secret political probe or face civil rights lawsuit
  22. John Doe target O’Keefe taking on IRS, too
  23. Lawmaker: Wisconsin’s John Doe like Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’
  24. Target files civil rights lawsuit against Wisconsin’s John Doe prosecutors
  25. Disparate treatment: Civil rights lawsuit claims conservative speech trampled
  26. Liberal group looking to take Wisconsin’s John Doe national
  27. John Doe judge: ‘Results of the John Doe speak for themselves’
  28. John Doe special prosecutor appeals judge’s ruling quashing subpoenas
  29. John Doe prosecutor pushed for brain-damaged man’s conviction in ATF debacle
  30. Conservatives counterpunch John Doe prosecutors’ move to stall injunction
  31. Shadowy John Doe investigator invokes federalism in civil rights lawsuit
  32. John Doe prosecutors wanted higher-priced lawyers, source says
  33. Secret agent Dean Nickel’s defense: ‘Dean Nickel is not responsible’
  34. D’oh! John Doe prosecutors claim secrecy protection – after filing secret documents
  35. Recusal in John Doe case raises questions of fairness, purpose
  36. Absolute immunity makes it tough to prosecute the prosecutors of John Doe
  37. Poll suggests Dems’ big ‘secret’ weapon against Walker is backfiring
  38. ‘Easy target’: Kelly Rindfleisch breaks silence about John Doe probe
  39. SCOTUS ruling on campaign finance shows abuse of John Doe, targets say
  40. Nobody will say what John Doe’s shadow man did, but taxpayers are paying his legal bill
  41. Judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ move to dismiss civil rights suit
  42. Civil rights expert: John Doe law is ‘un-American,’ like something from ‘Nazi Germany’
  43. Target: John Doe prosecutors making up campaign law as they go along
  44. John Doe, as it is being used, must go, WI senator says
  45. John Doe target says prosecutors latest move another delay tactic
  46. John Doe prosecutors sound defensive in latest court filings
  47. Federal judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ motion to stall civil rights case
  48. Media coalition asks judge to open sealed John Doe documents
  49. Are John Doe prosecutors sweating out federal judge’s decision?
  50. John Doe is dead: Judge stops WI prosecutors’ probe into conservatives
  51. This is what the Fourth Amendment looks like?
  52. What’s next for now-defunct John Doe probe?
  53. Appeals court stalls judge’s order halting John Doe probe
  54. Federal judge’s ruling could open up sealed John Doe records
  55. Federal judge orders John Doe probe shut down again
  56. Lawmakers call for review of GAB’s secret John Doe activities, funds
  57. Lawyers, lawyers everywhere and other dispatches from John Doe Land
  58. Secret’s out: The world is beginning to learn more about WI’s John Doe
  59. Still their little secret? Questions remain on John Doe gag order
  60. Appeals Court declares portions of Wisconsin campaign finance law unconstitutional
  61. John Doe prosecutors suddenly support opening sealed court records
  62. Expert: It’s as if GAB decided ‘Citizens United didn’t exist’
  63. John Doe prosecutors voice phony outrage, legal source says
  64. GAB still reviewing court ruling declaring WI campaign finance law unconstitutional
  65. State Farm still doesn’t want to cover John Doe prosecutor’s legal bills
  66. For the Walker-hating left, John Doe is ‘Mission Accomplished’
  67. Sources: No urgency in WI Supreme Court on John Doe
  68. Would Walker settlement with John Doe prosecutors be a deal with the devil?
  69. Contempt questions surround reported John Doe deal talks
  70. Walker’s John Doe response raises more questions than answers
  71. Sources: Attorney General passes on defending GAB in John Doe cases
  72. Attorney to judge: Don’t let John Doe prosecutor ‘moot’ injunction
  73. John Doe targets sue Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board
  74. Federal judge says his order halting John Doe probe should be clear to prosecutor
  75. John Doe special prosecutor’s bill still shrouded in secrecy
  76. ‘Are these kind of armed pre-dawn raids standard operating procedure?’
  77. John Doe special prosecutor obeys judge’s order
  78. ‘Never-ending’ John Doe never ended, WSJ reports
  79. Appeals court upholds judge’s order shutting down John Doe probe
  80. O’Keefe keeps collecting big wins in John Doe lawsuit
  81. John Doe I judge says he’s not responsible for John Doe II
  82. Will taxpayers have to pay for frivolity of John Doe prosecutors?
  83. John Doe prosecutors jump back into the dark?
  84. What about those prosecutors? Questions surround other John Doe DAs
  85. Humiliated in court, WI Dems take their anti-conservative John Doe probe to the media
  86. Federal judge blasts John Doe prosecutors – again – as he denies records release
  87. Right on cue: Document dump fuels anti-Walker donation drive
  88. Wall Street Journal points out ‘disgrace’ of mainstream John Doe reporting
  89. Expert: John Doe raids raise ‘troubling’ Fourth Amendment questions
  90. Kelly Rindfleisch tells conservatives, ‘Don’t back down’
  91. Mainstream media forced to walk back Walker ‘criminal scheme’ narrative
  92. John Doe prosecutors engaged in premature justification, conservatives say
  93. Is John Doe probe a case of a mini NSA in Wisconsin?
  94. AG opinion means accountability board’s John Doe secrets are safe — for now
  95. Senator asks attorney general to compel GAB to open up its books
  96. GAB now playing secrets in state John Doe lawsuit
  97. Will John Doe prosecutors launch lengthy probe against Trek Bicycle?
  98. John Doe prosecutors engaged in war of words — lots and lots of words

Click here to LEARN HOW TO STEAL OUR STUFF!

Kittle is a 25-year veteran of radio, newspaper and online journalism. In July 2011, Kittle joined Watchdog.org as bureau chief for Wisconsin Reporter. He has spent much of the past three years covering the seismic political changes taking place in the Badger State. Last year, Kittle joined Watchdog’s national reporting team, covering everything from energy policy to governmental assaults on civil rights. Beyond being published in Wisconsin’s daily newspapers and in multimedia news outlets, Kittle’s work has appeared on Fox News, and in Human Events, Reason Magazine, Newsmax and Town Hall. His special investigation into a politically charged John Doe probe, “Wisconsin’s Secret War,” was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze. Kittle has made several appearances on Fox News, including “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. He serves as weekly politics commentator for Lake 96.1 FM in Lake Geneva, and WRJN-AM 1400 in Racine. His resume includes multiple awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, Wisconsin Broadcast Association and other journalism associations. Contact Kittle at mkittle@watchdog.org.