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Kelly Rindfleisch tells conservatives, ‘Don’t back down’

By   /   June 26, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 90 of 385 in the series Wisconsin's Secret War

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — She thought about it — a lot.

In the depths of her depression, Kelly Rindfleisch, the former county government official marked by the left with a political scarlet letter, considered killing herself.

She just wanted it all to stop — the browbeating prosecutors, the mainstream media feeding frenzy, the crushing legal bills, the shadow of a jail sentence hanging over her. The betrayal.

“There were times I felt like I wasn’t going to make it through. They drove me to the absolute depths of depression,” Rindfleisch told Wisconsin Reporter during a recent interview at a diner in downtown Sun Prairie, a Madison suburb.

She agreed to meet here, about 15 miles southwest of her Columbus home, because Sun Prairie is just far enough from the vicious whisper of state politics.


STAND UP: Kelly Rindfleisch, the face of the secret “John Doe I” investigation, is speaking up — at the risk of her freedom — to tell the story of what she believes to be abusive prosecutors who are destroying the constitutional rights of conservatives.

Being here, talking like this, could cost Rindfleisch her freedom. She doesn’t care. She said she needs to tell her story of what a team of vindictive, partisan prosecutors has done to her — in the name of law enforcement.

“I may end up in jail for talking to you, but I’m not going to sit and let Judge (Neal) Nettesheim intimidate me into not telling the people in Wisconsin what they are doing, what he did, what (Milwaukee County District Attorney) John Chisholm did, what those investigators did,” Rindfleisch said.

“I’m not going to stay quiet. If I go to jail, so be it. It only proves that they are corrupt.”

Much has gone down since October 2012, when Rindfleisch said she was essentially forced by a Milwaukee County judge to plead guilty to a felony count of the nebulous charge of misconduct in public office.

She originally faced multiple charges for responding to emails regarding fundraising on behalf of failed lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis. She was on the government clock when she sent those communications, working as an aide to Gov. Scott Walker when Walker was Milwaukee County executive.

But prosecutors wanted to up the ante and make Rindfleisch an example in the politically charged “John Doe” investigation.

She took the best deal she could get at the time, although she said it came back to haunt her. Rindfleisch is appealing the conviction, asserting prosecutors grossly violated her Fourth Amendment rights. She never gave up her right to appeal even while entering a guilty plea.

The 45-year-old former deputy chief of staff looks tired. The stress of the past three-and-a-half years is etched into her pale face. She trembles before the interview begins. Her voice quivers as she begins to speak.

Rindfleisch said she’s doing OK, perhaps as well as anyone who is facing the real possibility of going to jail for six months and another three years of probation.

“I still have a lot of things hanging over my head. I’m still dealing with the repercussions. It’s difficult,” Rindfleisch said, pausing to order a blueberry muffin and Diet Pepsi. “The thing I’m still struggling with is just my mental health. That’s been the worst part of it.”

She’s been through a lot since the fall of 2010. She claims her life has been ripped from her by partisan prosecutors pushing a secret investigation bent on taking down Walker.

Rindfleisch said she isn’t surprised by the voracious appetite of the left and the mainstream media for every last detail of her political and personal life, to spin her legal troubles into a narrative of Walker-led corruption. But she sounds absolutely heart-broken by so many of her so-called friends in conservative politics who were nowhere to be found when she needed them most.

“There comes a point where you do the wrong thing and justify what you’re doing or you do the right thing. But the wrong thing is still the wrong thing, and I think a lot of people did the wrong thing, just out of fear,” she said of fellow Republicans who seemed to instantly disappear when she became the lead target in the so-called John Doe I investigation.

In her conversation with Wisconsin Reporter, Rindfleisch went over much of what she told the Wall Street Journal in the newspaper’s March 28 interview. But she delves into more detail about the investigation and the investigators, suggesting that, if not for at least the temporary measured kindness of a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney, she would have seen no evidence of humanity in the DA’s office.


The John Doe investigation, which began under the premise of a reported theft from a county veterans’ fund, spiraled into a probe of the people surrounding Walker, who, in 2010 was making his first run for governor. The office of Chisholm, a Democrat, held on to the veterans’ fund information for nearly a year and a half before doing much of anything, to the frustration of Walker’s then-chief of staff at the time, Tom Nardelli, Rindfleisch said.

But after county executive staff member Darlene Wink admitted making pro-Walker comments on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website during office hours, the prosecutorial chase was on.

Investigators burst into the county executive’s office on Nov. 1, 2010, the day before the gubernatorial election, loaded with warrants. They demanded copies of the office’s hard drives, and more.

“They kept me in our meeting room and refused to allow me to call our corporation counsel,” Rindfleisch recalled. “They wouldn’t allow me to leave the room … They took away my phone and told me I could not contact anyone.”

Investigators had warrants to search her office, her car, her house in Columbus and the home of Walker former chief of staff Jim Villa, where Rindfleisch was staying a couple nights each week.

“When we got there, (the investigators) said if I didn’t open the door they would break it down,” Rindfleisch said.

During the six-hour search-and-seizure operation,  Bob Stelter, an investigator for the DA’s office, took Rindfleisch aside and told her she was in a lot of trouble, Rindfleisch recalled.

“He attempted to scare the hell out of me,” she said.


ABOUT WALKER: Rindfleisch says John Doe I, and the latest version of the secret probe into conservatives, has always about taking down Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Mission Accomplished. Rindfleisch said she was scared, crying from a mixture of fear, frustration and anger.

“It was all about intimidation,” she said.

Late in the interrogations, during the closing months of 2010 and early 2011, Milwaukee County Assistant DA Bruce Landgraf stepped in briefly, Rindfleisch said. Landgraf was different than “hard-nosed” Chisholm, who wanted to throw the book at her, she said.

“And I believe to this day that if it wasn’t for Bruce Landgraf I would be in prison,” she said. “I know from people who met with him who were supposed to be witnesses (in the John Doe probe) that said he was reluctant to go through with this prosecution.”

Chisholm was not, and apparently Landgraf lost his soft touch along the way.

The DA’s office did offer Rindfleisch immunity should she divulge information on Walker that might be helpful to the investigation.

Investigators found the testimony not to their liking, so no immunity. Rindfleisch said she could offer them nothing but the truth, but that didn’t seem to be good enough for prosecutors.

“Their goal from the very start was to get to Scott Walker,” she said.

In a sentencing memo, Landgraf told the judge Rindfleisch had “provided no information deemed useful by prosecutors.” Landgraf asked the judge to view Rindfleisch’s campaign fundraising on county time as an “aggravated offense” that is “properly addressed with a jail sentence as a condition of probation.” Landgraf sought “deterrence.”

Disparate treatment

After nearly three years of extensive probing, prosecutors ended up getting Rindfleisch, and five other convictions, although four of the six had nothing to do with the original scope of the John Doe probe. The secret investigation finally ended in March 2013, a very expensive “political witch hunt,” according to critics, although the Milwaukee County DA’s office refuses to itemize the costs.

Rindfleisch acknowledges doing campaign work on the taxpayers’ dime was wrong, but she is furious at what she sees as the DA’s disparate treatment of left-leaning organizations and individuals who engaged in political activities on government time.

Take, for example, the case of Milwaukee County employee and liberal blogger Christopher Liebenthal, who in spring 2010 was caught engaging in “excessive political blogging” for liberals from his taxpayer-funded computer.

The DA’s office recognized that “Mr. Liebenthal’s actions constitute an extreme example,” but stated it would prefer to see the situation handled as a personnel matter rather than a criminal matter. The DA declined to prosecute.

There was no lengthy investigation into Kris Barrett, a teacher and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s wife, who violated Milwaukee Public Schools policy in 2011 when she sent three emails rallying political support from the school district’s account.

“The difference between all of them and me, I wasn’t using the county computer, I wasn’t using the county phone,” Rindfleisch said. “I was using my own personal cell phone, laptop and private, not ‘illegal’ web connection.”

Prosecutors have accused Rindfleisch of sending out campaign-related emails on a “secret email system.”

“The only resource I was using was time,” she said, calculating that she generally spent no more than 10 to 20 minutes each day answering emails related to Davis’ campaign. Rindfleisch said she often worked 10-hour days at the county executive’s office, more than making up for any lost time from her political work.

Ah, but there’s a big difference, said the left, a point breathlessly voiced by Urban Milwaukee’s Bruce Murphy, general defender of Chisholm and despiser of all things Walker, in a March 6 piece.

“But Liebenthal, who was suspended for ten days for personal activities unrelated to work, didn’t do any blogging from a ‘tax supported computer’ and wasn’t writing on behalf of or paid by any political party or political official,” Murphy said, ignoring the fact Rindfleisch used her own electronic devices to communicate on behalf of Davis. “Indeed (Liebenthal) was (a) county employee who regularly blasted his ultimate boss, then County Executive Walker.”

Liebenthal, for the record, did use a “tax supported computer.”


Chisholm in late summer 2012 seamlessly moved from that broad investigation into what has been billed as John Doe II. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, it appears the sequel is the same old movie.

A court document obtained by the newspaper’s editorial board shows Nettesheim, the presiding judge in John Doe I, authorized Chisholm to “roll all information” from that secret investigation into a “new proceeding while maintaining all documents under the ‘existing’ secrecy order.”

The document also reveals John Doe I was “enlarged no fewer than 18 times over two and a half years.”

Earlier this year, prosecutors disclosed that Rindfleisch is a target in John Doe II, a multi-county investigation into dozens of conservative organizations. Rindfleisch said she cannot comment on that. The latest Doe also is bound by a strict secrecy order, meaning targets and prosecutors alike cannot talk about the investigation on threat of contempt charges.

Prosecutors repeatedly have declined to comment.

But unlike the first John Doe, conservatives are fighting back, breaking their silence — at the peril of their liberty.

In February, conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for Growth filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Chisholm, Landgraf, another senior prosecutor in the Milwaukee County DA’s office by the name of David Robles, John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and Dean Nickel, a shadowy investigator contracted by the state Government Accountability Board.

O’Keefe’s lawsuit claims the prosecutors violated conservatives’ civil rights in an unlawful investigation that included predawn, “paramilitary-style” raids at the homes of several conservative targets.

Prosecutors have operated under a legal theory that at least 29 conservative organizations illegally coordinated with Walker’s campaign during the state’s partisan recall election drives.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa ordered the John Doe probe shut down, noting the prosecutors’ theory is “simply wrong” and that it appears no campaign finance laws were broken. John Doe presiding Judge Gregory Peterson in January effectively ruled the same, quashing several subpoenas because prosecutors had failed to show evidence of probable cause.

Finally, Rindfleisch said. Someone striking back at the heavy hand of John Chisholm.

“To me, Eric O’Keefe and his attorneys are heroes for exposing the corruption that has taken place with these John Does,” Rindfleisch said.

While the lawsuits won’t help her case, Rindfleisch said she’s glad conservatives are finally fighting this critical free speech battle.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is hearing the appeal of prosecutors, who claim, in part, Randa has no jurisdiction in the matter because the John Doe is a state investigation, and prosecutors are protected from such lawsuits.

But the appeals court, also last month, handed down an 88-page decision declaring unconstitutional portions of Wisconsin’s campaign finance law — language that involves issue advertisements, precisely the kind of political speech in which prosecutors say the club and other conservative groups were engaged.

No apologies

Rindfleisch said the lowest point in her long legal nightmare came in February, when state Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Curley ordered the release of Rindfleisch’s emails, some professional, others personal, ostensibly related to her legal troubles.

The mainstream media seized on the release, and the left used it as a rallying cry in its running narrative of a corrupt governor despite the fact John Doe I closed without any charges or accusations of wrongdoing lodged against Walker.

“I am still furious and disgusted about them releasing my private emails, most of which had nothing to do with my appeal and the charges,” Rindfleisch said. “The judge released it and it was fodder to make Scott Walker look bad.”

To be sure, there were some unflattering and embarrassing communications, not the least of which were Nardelli’s racially charged comments.

But Rindfleisch said much was misinterpreted or skewed by the press, beginning with the volume of emails. Media outlets everywhere reported the court-ordered release included 27,000 pages of emails, when in fact much of the document dump included thousands of pages of legal documents and thousands of pages of repeated emails.

Rindfleisch said she will not apologize for the content of the emails.

“If someone wants to judge me let six months of their private emails be released to the public and not have something (controversial) in there. I don’t feel the need to defend myself,” she said.

Some of the emails include very personal information, such as family communications about her elderly father, at the time dying from the effects of a stroke. A number of media outlets reported on emails concerning the antidepressant Rindfleisch was taking.

But beyond the public humiliation was the sense of private betrayal from the people Rindfleisch thought were her friends. Asked if she felt sold out by some fellow Republicans during the investigation and the court process, Rindfleisch said, “In a lot of ways, yes.”

“Throughout it, I blamed who should be blamed, and that’s John Chisholm. The media was out for blood. Anyone remotely associated with me was going to get smeared,” she said.

Asked if she felt abandoned by Walker, Rindfleisch said she didn’t want to talk about that.

“What he did or didn’t do doesn’t matter. What matters is what was done to me,” she said.

What drives her crazy, she said, is the Republican Party’s failure to rally around the “fact that our Constitution is being destroyed.”

She points specifically to comments early this year by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, who told Wisconsin Reporter he was concerned about the John Doe probes but wanted to wait until the investigations were in the “rearview mirror” before legislatively addressing John Doe law.

“Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?” Rindfleisch asked. “Shouldn’t you be calling it out while it’s happening? How much more damage do you want to be done before you say something.”

To the politicians, Rindfleisch said, it’s all about getting re-elected and getting power. John Doe probes are messy distractions in the bid to obtain both.

For now, Kelly Rindfleisch lives her life in a state of limbo, waiting for the slow wheels of justice to turn in her appeal.

If she loses, she goes to jail.

“I’m extremely frustrated. This thing can be dragged out for years,” Rindfleisch said, adding a famous aphorism, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Thanks to the “kindness of strangers” she said she isn’t as financially crippled as she once was, but she still has legal bills to pay. And finding work has become a struggle. People are under the impression she is “incompetent,” that all she can do is political business.

As the legal battle rolls on in John Doe II, Rindfleisch has some advice for the conservative targets caught in prosecutors’ net.

“Don’t back down,” she said. “The more of us that tell our stories, the more exposed this whole rotten investigation will be.”

Contact M.D. Kittle at [email protected].

Part of 385 in the series Wisconsin's Secret War
  1. So what are the odds the Wisconsin Supreme Court will stay its John Doe ruling?
  2. Sources: Secret probe targeting conservatives is abuse of prosecutorial powers
  3. Scary! Phantom prosecutor in Dems’ war on conservatives disappears inside courthouse
  4. EXCLUSIVE: Judge in Democrat-led John Doe probe recuses herself
  5. Democrats’ ‘intelligence-gathering’ spreads in Wisconsin
  6. Democrats tap anti-terror expert to head secret probe of Wisconsin conservatives
  7. Sheriff Clarke: John Doe case shows Milwaukee DA is ‘weaponized for political purposes’
  8. Clarke: John Doe into conservatives ‘unbridled,’ ‘dangerous’ and ‘tainted’
  9. Sources: New judge named in Democrat-led secret probe
  10. Vendetta justice? Criticism growing about John Doe prosecutor Bruce Landgraf
  11. Will Wisconsin’s own ‘Miserable’ inspector jail conservative activist for speaking out about Dem probe?
  12. Conservative targets bring in big guns to Democrat-led John Doe fight
  13. ‘Dangerous’ game: Former FEC official blasts Democrats’ secret investigation of conservative groups
  14. Center for Media and Democracy: Liberals are morally superior
  15. Wisconsin Dems suddenly support political investigations
  16. WI Republican attorney general to represent judges in Democrat-led John Doe probe
  17. Republicans speak out about silent John Doe targeting conservatives
  18. Biggest secret in John Doe may be just how judges and special prosecutors are selected
  19. WSJ: John Doe judge deals body blow to secret probe targeting conservatives
  20. Vos: Wait until John Doe in ‘rearview mirror’ before revisiting law
  21. Lawsuits looming in Wisconsin’s crumbling John Doe probe?
  22. Conservative to Democrat prosecutors: Shut down secret political probe or face civil rights lawsuit
  23. John Doe target O’Keefe taking on IRS, too
  24. Lawmaker: Wisconsin’s John Doe like Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’
  25. Target files civil rights lawsuit against Wisconsin’s John Doe prosecutors
  26. Disparate treatment: Civil rights lawsuit claims conservative speech trampled
  27. Liberal group looking to take Wisconsin’s John Doe national
  28. John Doe judge: ‘Results of the John Doe speak for themselves’
  29. John Doe special prosecutor appeals judge’s ruling quashing subpoenas
  30. John Doe prosecutor pushed for brain-damaged man’s conviction in ATF debacle
  31. Conservatives counterpunch John Doe prosecutors’ move to stall injunction
  32. Shadowy John Doe investigator invokes federalism in civil rights lawsuit
  33. John Doe prosecutors wanted higher-priced lawyers, source says
  34. Secret agent Dean Nickel’s defense: ‘Dean Nickel is not responsible’
  35. D’oh! John Doe prosecutors claim secrecy protection – after filing secret documents
  36. Recusal in John Doe case raises questions of fairness, purpose
  37. Absolute immunity makes it tough to prosecute the prosecutors of John Doe
  38. Poll suggests Dems’ big ‘secret’ weapon against Walker is backfiring
  39. ‘Easy target’: Kelly Rindfleisch breaks silence about John Doe probe
  40. SCOTUS ruling on campaign finance shows abuse of John Doe, targets say
  41. Nobody will say what John Doe’s shadow man did, but taxpayers are paying his legal bill
  42. Judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ move to dismiss civil rights suit
  43. Civil rights expert: John Doe law is ‘un-American,’ like something from ‘Nazi Germany’
  44. Target: John Doe prosecutors making up campaign law as they go along
  45. John Doe, as it is being used, must go, WI senator says
  46. John Doe target says prosecutors latest move another delay tactic
  47. John Doe prosecutors sound defensive in latest court filings
  48. Federal judge denies John Doe prosecutors’ motion to stall civil rights case
  49. Media coalition asks judge to open sealed John Doe documents
  50. Are John Doe prosecutors sweating out federal judge’s decision?
  51. John Doe is dead: Judge stops WI prosecutors’ probe into conservatives
  52. This is what the Fourth Amendment looks like?
  53. What’s next for now-defunct John Doe probe?
  54. Appeals court stalls judge’s order halting John Doe probe
  55. Federal judge’s ruling could open up sealed John Doe records
  56. Federal judge orders John Doe probe shut down again
  57. Lawmakers call for review of GAB’s secret John Doe activities, funds
  58. Lawyers, lawyers everywhere and other dispatches from John Doe Land
  59. Secret’s out: The world is beginning to learn more about WI’s John Doe
  60. Still their little secret? Questions remain on John Doe gag order
  61. Appeals Court declares portions of Wisconsin campaign finance law unconstitutional
  62. John Doe prosecutors suddenly support opening sealed court records
  63. Expert: It’s as if GAB decided ‘Citizens United didn’t exist’
  64. John Doe prosecutors voice phony outrage, legal source says
  65. GAB still reviewing court ruling declaring WI campaign finance law unconstitutional
  66. State Farm still doesn’t want to cover John Doe prosecutor’s legal bills
  67. For the Walker-hating left, John Doe is ‘Mission Accomplished’
  68. Sources: No urgency in WI Supreme Court on John Doe
  69. Would Walker settlement with John Doe prosecutors be a deal with the devil?
  70. Contempt questions surround reported John Doe deal talks
  71. Walker’s John Doe response raises more questions than answers
  72. Sources: Attorney General passes on defending GAB in John Doe cases
  73. Attorney to judge: Don’t let John Doe prosecutor ‘moot’ injunction
  74. John Doe targets sue Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board
  75. Federal judge says his order halting John Doe probe should be clear to prosecutor
  76. John Doe special prosecutor’s bill still shrouded in secrecy
  77. ‘Are these kind of armed pre-dawn raids standard operating procedure?’
  78. John Doe special prosecutor obeys judge’s order
  79. ‘Never-ending’ John Doe never ended, WSJ reports
  80. Appeals court upholds judge’s order shutting down John Doe probe
  81. O’Keefe keeps collecting big wins in John Doe lawsuit
  82. John Doe I judge says he’s not responsible for John Doe II
  83. Will taxpayers have to pay for frivolity of John Doe prosecutors?
  84. John Doe prosecutors jump back into the dark?
  85. What about those prosecutors? Questions surround other John Doe DAs
  86. Humiliated in court, WI Dems take their anti-conservative John Doe probe to the media
  87. Federal judge blasts John Doe prosecutors – again – as he denies records release
  88. Right on cue: Document dump fuels anti-Walker donation drive
  89. Wall Street Journal points out ‘disgrace’ of mainstream John Doe reporting
  90. Expert: John Doe raids raise ‘troubling’ Fourth Amendment questions
  91. Kelly Rindfleisch tells conservatives, ‘Don’t back down’
  92. Mainstream media forced to walk back Walker ‘criminal scheme’ narrative
  93. John Doe prosecutors engaged in premature justification, conservatives say
  94. Is John Doe probe a case of a mini NSA in Wisconsin?
  95. AG opinion means accountability board’s John Doe secrets are safe — for now
  96. Senator asks attorney general to compel GAB to open up its books
  97. GAB now playing secrets in state John Doe lawsuit
  98. Will John Doe prosecutors launch lengthy probe against Trek Bicycle?
  99. John Doe prosecutors engaged in war of words — lots and lots of words
  100. Judge denies conservatives’ request to add GAB to civil rights lawsuit
  101. Oral arguments set in John Doe prosecutors’ appeal
  102. In John Doe Land, the left doesn’t illegally coordinate
  103. John Doe document blitz must have broken mainstream media’s heart
  104. Senator: Looks like accountability board is hiding something
  105. Kelly Rindfleisch appeal to test validity of John Doe digital searches
  106. Conservatives in John Doe battle know disclosure comes with a heavy price
  107. Appeals court orders release of some John Doe documents
  108. Taxpayers on the hook up to $25,000 for GAB’s legal maneuvers
  109. Overheated media erroneously bring back Walker ‘criminal scheme’ theme
  110. ‘Retaliation’: Docs show state prosecutors launched mini-NSA probe of WI conservatives
  111. John Doe prosecutors take desperate, unethical slap
  112. Walker ‘smoking gun’ story has tiny glaring flaw
  113. Wisconsin prosecutors aim to shut down conservatives
  114. Conservatives appeal to common sense in John Doe appeals case
  115. Conservatives say ‘incorrect disclosure’ of John Doe docs no ‘tiny error’
  116. First Amendment big guns back targets of John Doe probe
  117. Was John Doe judge a rubber stamp?
  118. $25,000 and counting: WI taxpayers’ bill so far to defend GAB and its ‘monster’
  119. Another blow for Wisconsin’s restrictive campaign finance law
  120. Wisconsin prosecutors appeal for protection from blowback in partisan probe
  121. Is John Doe story colored with a bit of ‘Macbeth?’
  122. GAB director says agency just following the law in John Doe probe
  123. Kelly Rindfleisch: Where are the tears for the kids the Milwaukee school system failed?
  124. Rindfleisch attorney: Appeals court can protect the Fourth Amendment in Digital Age
  125. Source: Wisconsin Supreme Court doesn’t want political heat of John Doe case
  126. Appeals court reverses John Doe injunction, but Wisconsin’s secret war far from over
  127. A whistleblower’s story: Taking on a ‘hyper-partisan’ district attorney
  128. Conservative O’Keefe seeks investigation into John Chisholm and his John Doe
  129. Who’s paying the bill? Report casts questions on GAB and John Doe payments
  130. Target of secret John Doe probe is fighting back and speaking out
  131. The day John Doe rushed through the door
  132. Rindfleisch: ‘Rape’ not too strong a word for how violated John Doe targets feel
  133. Conservative group asks court to stop John Doe ‘constitutional injury’
  134. Conservatives to appeals court: ‘You don’t know Doe’
  135. Armed and growing: Milwaukee County DA beefs up his ‘police force’
  136. Federal judge stops John Doe prosecutors from bothering conservative group
  137. Wisconsin Supreme Court takes another pass on John Doe case
  138. No surprise: Bice buries the lead, Walker follows the law
  139. Federalism v. individual rights: A conversation with Eric O’Keefe
  140. Report: No district attorney will investigate District Attorney John Chisholm
  141. Appeals court denies request to rehear John Doe civil rights case
  142. Voters say ‘yes’ to Walker, ‘no’ to John Doe, law expert says
  143. Vos: There will be reforms to John Doe, GAB
  144. GAB, Milwaukee County DA bail on key provision behind war on conservatives
  145. John Doe lawsuit could be headed to U.S. Supreme Court
  146. Kelly Rindfleisch will fight on in Fourth Amendment case
  147. John Doe froze conservative speech, targets say
  148. Conservatives to court: Open up records on GAB’s role in John Doe
  149. Did the GAB doctor documents to cover their tracks in John Doe?
  150. Wisconsin’s Van Hollen says goodbye to AG post, John Doe
  151. Rindfleisch appeals to Supreme Court in John Doe Fourth Amendment abuse case
  152. Audit: GAB has failed to follow the law
  153. Wisconsin Supreme Court to take up John Doe complaints
  154. ‘R word’ surfaces in wake of state Supreme Court taking up John Doe challenges
  155. GAB won’t say whether it has reauthorized its role in John Doe probe
  156. Rogue agency defied judges to carry out partisan probe of Wisconsin conservatives
  157. ‘Outside the … law’: Lawmakers call for investigation of GAB
  158. Attorney: GAB’s John Doe justifications don’t hold up to law
  159. Isn’t it ironic: Mainstream silence follows reports of secret GAB Gmail in John Doe
  160. GAB offers contradictory defense of its John Doe activities
  161. O’Keefe officially asks judge to open probe into John ‘Doe’ Chisholm
  162. State lawmakers look to investigate the GAB and its investigators
  163. One year ago, judge’s ruling shakes up John Doe probe
  164. Doe possessed: ‘They have information about every aspect of our lives’
  165. GAB plays victim card in ‘complicated’ John Doe, campaign finance farce
  166. Public defender asks Supreme Court to take up John Doe-related Fourth Amendment case
  167. GAB has a sudden change of heart on campaign finance reform
  168. O’Keefe takes his case against John Doe to U.S. Supreme Court
  169. Conservatives: GAB’s meeting minutes show gap in board’s John Doe oversight
  170. How Wisconsin media support DA’s war on conservatives
  171. Federal judge’s judgment takes John Doe probe off life support
  172. Following judge’s order killing John Doe, what’s next?
  173. First Amendment expert: Wisconsin ought to be ’embarrassed’ by John Doe
  174. Does chief justice have conflict of interest in John Doe case?
  175. Conservative groups ask U.S. Supreme Court to defend rights of John Doe targets
  176. Is John Doe special prosecutor still working with partisan DA, GAB?
  177. Prosecutor misstatements continue to shape John Doe narrative, Walker’s future
  178. $775,000 and rising — Wisconsin taxpayers’ bill to defend John Doe prosecutors
  179. Milwaukee DA to be ‘special guest’ at fundraiser for Supreme Court justice
  180. John Doe reform bill aims to break silence of abusive investigations
  181. Reform bill would open up the John Doe books to taxpayers
  182. John Doe target says they are the victim of identity theft
  183. On Sunshine Week, GAB still operating in the dark
  184. Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects Rindfleisch Fourth Amendment appeal
  185. Secretive John Doe special prosecutor who fancies a good leak screams secrecy breach
  186. Kelly Rindfleisch hopes to avoid becoming first John Doe political prisoner
  187. GAB, friend of the John Doe, just wants to be a ‘friend of the court’
  188. Kelly Rindfleisch, Chisholm’s political prize, to begin sentence on Thursday
  189. U.S. Supreme Court could soon decide whether to take John Doe Case
  190. Did chief justice show her hand in dissenting John Doe opinion?
  191. New documents expose GAB’s ‘parallel’ probe expenditures
  192. Lawmaker: Chief justice’s civil rights complaint is ‘pathetic’
  193. John Doe reform bill stalls in Legislature
  194. Who was the reporter outside Cindy Archer’s house?
  195. U.S. Supreme Court to consider hearing John Doe-related case
  196. Experts: Chances rise that U.S. Supreme Court will take John Doe case
  197. Do Chisholm’s public comments on John Doe cross ethical line?
  198. John Chisholm’s 50 shades of ‘raid’
  199. Five years later: America just learning ‘tyrannical’ secrets of Wisconsin’s John Doe
  200. U.S. Supreme Court could announce decision on John Doe case later this month
  201. Wisconsin as a New Yorker cartoon of itself
  202. Will discovery reveal more bombshell information about ‘rogue’ GAB?
  203. Political prisoner Kelly Rindfleisch on home confinement, working for O’Keefe
  204. Warrants command John Doe targets to remain silent
  205. U.S. Supreme Court denies review of John Doe-related case
  206. Was John Chisholm John Doe distracted?
  207. John Doe reform bill stuck in legislative waiting game
  208. GAB reform stalled, new docs show GAB working closely with John Doe prosecutors
  209. Kelly Rindfleisch takes her Fourth Amendment fight to the U.S. Supreme Court
  210. What happened to Kelly Rindfleisch could happen to you
  211. Justice asks state Supreme Court to reconsider Rindfleisch Fourth Amendment appeal
  212. Justice Gableman: Warrants in Rindfleisch case amount to ‘fishing expedition’
  213. ‘Did they get me?’: Docs reveal long-time John Doe spying operation
  214. Kelly Rindfleisch: ‘I fear I will never get justice’
  215. Former Walker aide to file civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutor
  216. Cindy Archer: Chisholm’s John Doe was ‘campaign of intimidation’
  217. National Review: Political John Doe victimized 16-year-old boy
  218. GAB’s Kennedy had a friend in IRS’ Lois Lerner
  219. Vos: Time to ‘double down’ on GAB reform in wake of reported IRS links
  220. Left’s loud transparency defenders silent on secret John Doe
  221. The John Doe investigation might finally be over; Supreme Court to rule Thursday
  222. Wisconsin Supreme Court shuts down John Doe investigation
  223. Wisconsin Supreme Court shuts down John Doe investigation, affirms First Amendment
  224. Kelly Rindfleisch seeks release following death of John Doe probe
  225. Legal experts on right and left seek review of Rindfleisch John Doe conviction
  226. John Doe horror stories: ‘I felt completely helpless in my own home’
  227. Hillary Clinton plays victim card
  228. Legal expert: Abrahamson and John Doe civil rights cases like day and night
  229. Attorney: audio confirms traumatic John Doe raid of Cindy Archer’s home
  230. John Doe prosecutors open new assault on conservative targets
  231. John Doe prosecutors’ tape of raid raises questions about missing moments
  232. John Doe reform bill starts to move again
  233. Conservatives ask Abrahamson to turn over John Doe-related records
  234. John Doe investigators say there are more tapes of raids
  235. Legal defense of rogue John Doe agents costs taxpayers nearly $1.2 million
  236. Explosive email exposes GAB attorney’s partisan motives in John Doe probe
  237. An open letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley
  238. Wisconsin GAB reform bill could be ready in a few weeks, sources say
  239. Updated complaint shines more light on dark day in John Doe
  240. Partisan Falk once urged GAB to ‘get around constitutional right to free speech’
  241. Legislature to take up John Doe reform in October, GOP leadership says
  242. Knudson on GAB: ‘We need to take this thing apart’
  243. Did the GAB ‘illegally coordinate’ with left-leaning groups?
  244. John Doe prosecutors get a win, practice legal gymnastics again
  245. Wall Street Journal: GAB targeted conservative justices in John Doe defense
  246. Craig says bill to investigate GAB’s John Doe activities coming soon
  247. New emails show GAB assisting in John Doe defense after judge said stop
  248. ‘Nonpartisan’ GAB staff has partisan past
  249. John Doe political prisoner Kelly Rindfleisch nears end of her sentence
  250. Will the voices of the John Doe victims be heard?
  251. Supreme Court will not hear Kelly Rindfleisch’s Fourth Amendment case
  252. Judge orders GAB to turn over emails with liberal groups
  253. The silence of the left is the Dems’ transparency hypocrisy
  254. GAB chairman: ‘I wasn’t offended’ by John Doe raids
  255. Sources: Bill would overhaul controversial GAB
  256. GAB fighting to keep its secrets out of public eye
  257. GAB overhaul would eliminate blank checks on taxypayer dime
  258. John Doe victims to tell their stories in Fox News special
  259. Fiery GAB hearing invokes ghost of Joe McCarthy
  260. Why did accountability board use Gmail accounts to talk John Doe?
  261. Prosecutor plugged into ‘hotspot’ to email sensitive John Doe docs
  262. Judge holds off on release of GAB’s ‘very embarrassing’ records
  263. Craig blasts newspaper for Dem ‘press release’ coverage of John Doe bill
  264. Hyperbole happens as John Doe reform passes on party-line vote
  265. Fireworks coming on GAB and campaign finance reform debate
  266. GAB living on borrowed time?
  267. Back to the Future: Dems walk out on vote again
  268. Newly released John Doe docs reveal much more about rogue GAB
  269. Lawmakers want answers on GAB director Kevin Kennedy’s IRS conversations
  270. WSJ: Wisconsin’s political John Doe targeted national conservatives
  271. Target of political John Doe targets reluctant senators in robocall campaign
  272. Kevin Kennedy’s spin to save the GAB and his job contradicts the record
  273. EXCLUSIVE: Wisconsin Senate majority leader, others also targeted in John Doe
  274. GAB’s defense of John Doe database raises more question than answers
  275. Spokeswoman: Fitzgerald not ruling out extraordinary session on GAB bill
  276. GAB kept pushing political probe despite daunting evidence problems
  277. Memo to Legislature: Take a closer look at GAB Judge’s conduct
  278. Senate passes GAB overhaul, campaign finance reform in ‘extraordinary’ session
  279. Conservatives to court on GAB’s secrets: ‘Enough is enough’
  280. Milwaukee citizens petition Walker to remove DA John Chisholm from office
  281. Rogue GAB pushing strained legal arguments to keep its secrets
  282. GAB just about dead as final overhaul bill passes Assembly
  283. Speech cop, prosecutors argue for secrecy in the face of GAB extinction
  284. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel mentions petition to remove Milwaukee DA — finally
  285. Taxpayers on hook for at least $187,000 to defend rogue GAB
  286. Court filing shows GAB’s Kennedy asking Lois Lerner if IRS ‘would be interested’
  287. Lawmaker asking GAB to open its John Doe records
  288. Did GAB’s Kevin Kennedy break the law in John Doe talks with Lois Lerner?
  289. John Doe victims still in legal limbo four months after Supreme Court ruling
  290. John Doe political prisoner Kelly Rindfleisch completes probation
  291. Lawmaker advises GAB’s Kevin Kennedy to ‘obey the law’
  292. Walker yet to sign GAB overhaul bill
  293. Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule on motion to reconsider John Doe ruling
  294. Wisconsin Supreme Court reaffirms John Doe is dead
  295. John Doe prosecutor gets no respect from targets he intimidated for years
  296. Former John Doe special prosecutor has little chance before high court
  297. Political speech ‘watchdogs’ urge continuation of illegal John Doe
  298. Attorney General: End John Doe case now
  299. Attorney General: John Chisholm broke campaign finance law
  300. Milwaukee County Board signals support to fight for illegal John Doe
  301. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s selective outrage on transparency
  302. District attorneys want out of political John Doe business
  303. Did DA who launched political John Doe probe break campaign finance laws?
  304. With Walker’s signature, the GAB is dead
  305. Conservatives, transparency win! GAB settles lawsuit, agrees to open up its secrets
  306. O’Keefe to Chisholm: Go ahead, make my day
  307. Bill creates legislative committee to investigate John Doe investigations
  308. Chisholm quietly returns illegal campaign contribution
  309. John Doe target: ‘Where and when does this abuse end?’
  310. ‘Good government’ group that celebrated Lois Lerner mourns for GAB
  311. Falk blasts incompetence of GAB, prosecutors in John Doe, emails show
  312. Defense attorney: Liberal John Doe cheerleaders beware
  313. Bad Santa: John Doe prosecutor delivers letters to the people he spied on
  314. Craig asks attorney general to compel GAB to open up John Doe records
  315. Former John Doe prosecutor not in compliance with court order
  316. What’s it like to find out the government has been spying on you?
  317. John Doe prosecutors ‘just playing games,’ says Cindy Archer’s attorney
  318. Supreme Court says no to John Doe prosecutors; Abrahamson lashes out
  319. Mainstream media displays selective principles on open records
  320. John Doe targets tell Supreme Court that prosecutor is not complying with order
  321. Schimel says decision coming soon on open records complaint against GAB
  322. Walker’s office won’t open hearing into Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm
  323. Petitioner against John Chisholm: Walker’s office dropped the ball
  324. Chisholm’s use of big guns in John Doe fight raises legal questions
  325. Lawmaker takes one more try at records request with reluctant GAB
  326. Schimel says John Doe prosecutors have no right to illegally obtained ‘evidence’
  327. GAB’s John Doe secrets could soon be released to the public
  328. John Doe targets: Chisholm has no right to share illegally seized ‘evidence’
  329. Conservatives: Attorney General alone has authority over John Doe petition
  330. AG Brad Schimel on John Doe authority question: It’s complicated
  331. Court denies DAs’ motion to open up John Doe records to private attorneys
  332. Chisholm’s unaccountable defense: ‘The records do not exist’
  333. Unsealed John Doe documents show view from Chisholm’s world
  334. Did John Doe cost Larry Nelson an election?
  335. Schimel: John Doe investigators living in ‘Alice in Wonderland world’
  336. First John Doe documents released from lawsuit show GAB’s partisan motives
  337. Vos names commissioners, end of GAB inches closer
  338. Will Senate take up Assembly amendment watering down John Doe reforms?
  339. Important court days coming soon to John Doe Land
  340. John Doe freedom fighter wins big victory against the IRS
  341. Oral arguments set in John Doe civil rights lawsuit
  342. Attorney to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter: ‘Your article is ridiculous’
  343. Judge Lynn Adelman on John Doe records custody: ‘I don’t care about the law’
  344. Documents raise questions about John Doe judge’s review of warrant
  345. Bruce Murphy: When journalists (don’t) attack
  346. New docs show GAB spent more than 2,500 hours on John Doe probe
  347. Chisholm invokes his illegal John Doe probe in re-election campaign
  348. Haas’ emails in GAB’s John Doe probe should give senators pause
  349. Liberal judge dismisses civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors
  350. John Doe victims stuck with GAB retread until at least January
  351. Mark Gundrum, architect of John Doe-driving GAB, could be next Supreme Court justice
  352. Before lamenting the end of the GAB, read this
  353. A year after Supreme Court pronounces John Doe dead, conservatives still waiting for justice
  354. Free-market group sues John Doe ‘ringleaders’ for violating federal law
  355. Cindy Archer appeals John Doe civil rights lawsuit to 7th Circuit
  356. Constitutional law experts come to defense of conservatives targeted in John Doe probes
  357. Schimel opposes John Doe prosecutors’ petition before U.S. Supreme Court
  358. Wall Street Journal: Hold John Doe prosecutors accountable
  359. Where was Russ Feingold’s defense of civil liberties in abusive John Doe probe?
  360. John Chisholm, the Captain Ahab of prosecutors, wants another shot at John Doe
  361. Fitzgerald: GAB’s Michael Haas not long for new administrator role
  362. Craig renews call for legislative investigation into John Doe investigators
  363. Different day, same old tired and faulty John Doe narrative by mainstream players
  364. More evidence points to prosecutors, investigators as source of John Doe leaks
  365. Schimel still weighing options on John Doe leaks
  366. John Doe dies again: Supreme Court won’t hear Chisholm’s case
  367. On John Doe: ‘People shouldn’t face jail time for speaking out on the issues’
  368. Attorney says conservatives still waiting for justice in John Doe saga
  369. Conservatives seek return of possessions, criminal probe of John Doe leaks
  370. Under fire, John Doe prosecutors now seek secrecy
  371. Former John Doe prosecutor continues to practice delay, attorney says
  372. Document suggests prosecutors leaked sealed John Doe records to Guardian
  373. Federal judge scolds John Doe prosecutors for ’emergency motion’
  374. Rep. Dave Craig: Time has come to investigate John Doe investigators
  375. Supreme Court won’t investigate John Doe leaks
  376. John Doe civil rights lawsuit about to heat up
  377. AG says grand jury likely to probe John Doe leaks
  378. Attorney General calls for investigation into John Doe leaks
  379. Joe Doe lawsuit seeks to answer whether prosecutors have boundless immunity
  380. An open letter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court from a John Doe victim
  381. Latest document dump reminder of how abusive Wisconsin’s John Doe probe was
  382. John Doe probe will never be over for furious Democrats
  383. Does prosecutorial immunity trump justice in John Doe-related lawsuit?
  384. Attorney general’s office remains silent on John Doe leak probe
  385. Seized documents could raise legal questions for John Doe special prosecutor, GAB


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.