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AG opinion means accountability board’s John Doe secrets are safe — for now

By   /   July 10, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 94 of 385 in the series Wisconsin's Secret War

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — It appears the state Government Accountability Board will be able to keep its secrets from the public eye.

In an opinion issued Thursday, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the GAB “may not” turn over its confidential investigative records to the Legislative Audit Bureau because “there is no specific authorization for it do so.”

Now the leaders of the Legislature’s audit committee say they might change the law to open up the records.

The Legislature has provided specific authorizations of confidential information in other circumstances, Van Hollen wrote, but the audit bureau’s right to access documents under Wisconsin statute only provides a “general right” access, and no specific authorization to access confidential records.

Van Hollen’s ruling effectively keeps secret the records GAB investigators have collected in the long-standing John Doe investigation into dozens of conservative targets. That’s important, because a detailed audit might show whether GAB, which oversees state campaign and election law, overstepped its authority in a probe that has featured what sources have described as predawn, “paramilitary-style” raids.

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SECRET’S SAFE: Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued an opinion Thursday declaring that the state Government Accountability Board does not have to turn ‘confidential’ information over to the Legislative Audit Bureau.

The plot thickens more so, now that a federal judge has ordered the investigation halted and declared the legal theories of John Doe prosecutors and the GAB — that at least 29 conservative groups may have illegally coordinated with Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign — “simply wrong.”

State auditors have been conducting a thorough review of the GAB’s financial records, at the request of lawmakers.

Kevin Kennedy, GAB’s director and general counsel, resisted turning over certain “confidential” information to the audit bureau, according to state Sen. Robert Cowles, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Audit Committee. Kennedy asked the attorney general whether GAB could provide its investigative records to the bureau when state statute only allows those records to be disclosed when “specifically authorized by law.”

In advising the GAB to maintain its secrecy, Van Hollen said the matter turns on the word “specifically.”

He said state law pertaining to the matter doesn’t specifically address the accountability board or even explicitly grant the audit board the “general right to obtain documents made confidential by other statutory sections.”

“These general powers and duties do not satisfy a common, ordinary understanding of ‘specific authorization,’” Van Hollen wrote.

Basically, GAB only has to make public what is already public, according to the attorney general’s reading of the law. And when it comes to confidential investigations, the board doesn’t have to be accountable.

Van Hollen says GAB has a “privilege” to disclose the investigatory information “in the normal course of an investigation or prosecution,” the privilege to disclose the investigatory information to any “local, state, or federal law enforcement prosecutorial authority,” and the privilege to disclose the investigatory information to a subject of the investigation, the subject’s attorney, and the board’s attorney.

Kennedy said the attorney general’s opinion reaffirms the law the Legislature passed when it created the GAB in 2006, to protect the confidentiality of investigative records — a law the board has “zealously followed,” according to Kennedy.

“The Legislature created these confidentiality laws to avoid jeopardizing investigations and to protect people who may be subject to complaints or investigations while the GAB reviews the matter and until certain resolutions are reached,” Kennedy said in a statement to Wisconsin Reporter. “The board and its staff have always taken the confidentiality laws and the criminal penalties for violation very seriously.

Kennedy said the GAB wanted to “fully cooperate” with the audit bureau “to the extent permitted by law,” so it sought guidance from Van Hollen.

“The GAB will continue to cooperate with the LAB consistent with the AG’s opinion, and we look forward to completion of that audit,” Kennedy wrote.

The audit, originally slated for release in June, has been pushed back until late summer or fall, Cowles said.

In a joint statement, Cowles, R-Green Bay, and state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem, the other co-chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, said they will push to change the law to conduct a full audit.

“It benefits the Legislature and the State for the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau to use its broad authority to access any records it needs to conduct audits that provide oversight of state agencies and operations,” the lawmakers said. “Any needed statutory clarifications will be pursued in the next legislative session.”

But that’s a long time to wait for conservative targets of an investigation that sources assert has stolen their constitutional guarantees — principally their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

And then there is the question of just how much taxpayers are paying for the GAB’s “confidential” activity.

One target, who spoke on condition of anonymity, charged that the GAB is hiding behind confidentiality to avoid answering basic questions about activities and expenditures.

More urgently, the source asserts, the GAB doesn’t want any disclosures about its role in the John Doe.

GAB had no further comment.

The accountability board is being sued by conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth on behalf of state taxpayers on allegations the GAB has spent state money on an investigation it had no statutory authority to conduct.

Kennedy and the GAB have been under the Legislature’s radar in recent years, with some Republican lawmakers in particular concerned about the agency’s handling of election and campaign law.

Cowles called the questions surrounding the laws a “murky set of circumstances,” but acknowledges the Legislature is ultimately responsible for any lapses or loopholes the laws may have created.

“It looks like we’ve got to change the statute, that’s for sure,” the senator said, adding he believes the forthcoming audit of the GAB will be valuable.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, who has in recent months asked the GAB to answer some questions on its activities, said next session doesn’t deal with the thorny issues the state is faced with in the “here and now.”

“I’ve been reviewing the AG’s position, and I don’t agree with it,” Tiffany said. “I think that the GAB should be releasing some information.”

The senator said he was in the process of drafting a letter asking Van Hollen to require the GAB to release at least the financial information tied to the John Doe investigation.

“Yes, there need to be changes next legislative session, but I think now, while we don’t want to jeopardize any investigation, some questions should be answered. How many hours have they been working on this? What is the compensation?” Tiffany asked. “These are basic issues the public should know. The GAB doesn’t need to hide, and I don’t think it compromises the investigation.”

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

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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.