Wisconsin Supreme Court FINALLY Stops Nazistic John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives

Wisconsin Supreme Court Stops John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives – Legal Insurrection

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court has effectively killed the “John Doe” case which led to home raids and intimidation of a wide range of Wisconsin conservative activists.

The decision is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Here is the key finding, which completely shreds both the legal theories and motives of the prosecutors, completely vindicates the targets, and praises those who fought back legally against prosecutorial misconduct (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

Andrew Grossman, who filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case and who has served as counsel to Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth (two of the targets of the investigation) in various federal civil rights litigation against the prosecutors, provided me with the following statement:

Today’s decision puts an end to one of the worst abuses of power ever seen in Wisconsin law enforcement. The next step will be holding those responsible accountable for their actions. The Court’s recognition that the John Doe was a politically motivated “dragnet” of Gov. Walker’s allies provides strong support for Cindy Archer’s civil rights action against the Milwaukee prosecutors and lawsuits by potentially any of the other John Doe targets.

Background on John Doe abuses:

We have been covering the John Doe cases for a year and a half. You can read all out posts in the John Doe (WI) Tag.

Here are some key posts:

* Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe investigation was full-blown anti-conservative fishing expedition
* Exposed: How Prosecutors targeted Scott Walker and conservatives
* Was Prosecutor’s union-operative wife behind “John Doe” investigation of Scott Walker?
* Wisconsin “John Doe” War on Walker wins “Nastiest Political Tactic of the Year”
* Wisconsin Dems used battering rams against Scott Walker supporters – literally
* Former Scott Walker Aide Sues prosecutors for WI John Doe “Home Invasion”

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Analysis:

The court found that Wisconsin statutes did not limit “issue advocacy,” and that any attempt to so limit speech was unconstitutional:

¶7 We can resolve the original action, Two Unnamed Petitioners, by first examining whether the statutory definitions of “committee,” “contributions,” “disbursements,” and “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. §§ 11.01(4), (6), (7), and (16) are limited to express advocacy[4] or whether they encompass the conduct of coordination between a candidate or a campaign committee and an independent organization that engages in issue advocacy. Second, if the definitions extend to issue advocacy coordination, what then constitutes prohibited “coordination?”

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¶41 We turn first to Two Unnamed Petitioners, the original action filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This case requires us to interpret Wisconsin’s campaign finance law, Wis. Stat. Ch. 11. By its very nature, this task involves fundamental questions regarding the scope of the government’s ability to regulate political speech. To resolve this case, we must engage in statutory interpretation of the phrase “political purposes,” which includes all activities “done for the purpose of influencing [an] election.” Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16). We conclude, consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution, that the plain language of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague if it is not given a limiting construction and applied to only express advocacy and its functional equivalent. This conclusion invalidates the special prosecutor’s theory of the case and ends the John Doe investigation. Therefore, we agree with the Unnamed Movants and grant their requested relief.

The Court ripped into the investigating prosecutors (emphasis added):

¶68 Having reached our conclusion about the scope of conduct regulated by Chapter 11, we now turn to the special prosecutor’s theories of coordination and whether the alleged conduct is regulated under Wisconsin law.[23] The special prosecutor has disregarded the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of protection. The special prosecutor’s theories, rather than “assur[ing] [the] unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people,” Roth, 354 U.S. at 484, instead would assure that such political speech will be investigated with paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and then prosecuted and punished. In short, the special prosecutor completely ignores the command that, when seeking to regulate issue advocacy groups, such regulation must be done with “narrow specificity.” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 811 (quotations omitted).

¶69 The limiting construction that we apply makes clear that the special prosecutor’s theories are unsupportable in law given that the theories rely on overbroad and vague statutes. By limiting the definition of “political purposes” to express advocacy and its functional equivalent, political speech continues to be protected as a fundamental First Amendment right.

The court made clear the investigation was stopped cold in its tracks:

¶76 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

The Court went on in addition to uphold a lower court’s quashing of a subpoenas and search warrants sought by the prosecutors, finding that the John Doe powers did not allow “a fishing expedition”:

¶91 Reasonableness and particularity are not just requirements of search warrants, however. Subpoenas issued by courts, and by extension John Doe judges, must also satisfy these requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In re John Doe Proceeding, 272 Wis. 2d 208, ¶38. A John Doe proceeding, with its broad investigatory powers, must never be allowed to become a fishing expedition.

¶92 It is difficult, if not impossible, to overstate the importance of the role of the John Doe judge. If he does not conduct the investigation fairly, as a neutral and detached magistrate, the risk of harm to innocent targets of the investigation-and we remain mindful that all such targets are presumed innocent-is too great. Through the use of a John Doe proceeding, “law enforcement officers are able to obtain the benefit of powers not otherwise available to them, i.e., the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, and to compel the testimony of a reluctant witness.” Washington, 83 Wis. 2d at 822-23. Such powers, if not wielded with care and skill may serve to transform a John Doe proceeding into an implement of harassment and persecution by a vengeful or unethical prosecutor. Thus, John Doe judges must be mindful of this danger and zealously guard the rights of all citizens against over-reach.

The Court then summarized its holdings, just so there was no doubt that it had completely rejected the prosecutors’ legal theory on coordination of issue advocacy (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

¶134 In Two Unnamed Petitioners, we hold that the definition of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution because its language “‘is so sweeping that its sanctions may be applied to constitutionally protected conduct which the state is not permitted to regulate.’” Janssen, 219 Wis. 2d at 374 (quoting Bachowski, 139 Wis. 2d at 411). However, a readily available limiting construction exists that we will apply and that will prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech; namely, that “political purposes” is limited to express advocacy and its functional equivalent as those terms are defined in Buckley and WRTL II. With this limiting construction in place, Chapter 11 does not proscribe any of the alleged conduct of any of the Unnamed Movants. The special prosecutor has not alleged any express advocacy, and issue advocacy, whether coordinated or not, is “beyond the reach of [Ch. 11].” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 815. Accordingly, we invalidate the special prosecutor’s theory of the case, and we grant the relief requested by the Unnamed Movants.

¶135 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

Wisconsin Supreme Court – John Doe Decision

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Governor Bobby Jindal Announces Planned Parenthood Investigation, Halts Licenses For New Abortion Clinic

Jindal Announces Planned Parenthood Investigation, Halts Licenses For New Abortion Clinic – Big Government

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday he is directing his state’s Department of Health and Hospitals to launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood. This comes on the heels of the release of an investigative video by pro-life group Center for Medical Progress depicting the abortion giant’s chief medical officer speaking about how to abort a baby intact to harvest its body parts for sale.

“Today’s video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome,” Jindal, a Republican presidential contender, said in a statement sent to Breitbart News.

“This same organization is seeking to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans,” he continued. “I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete. I am also asking the FBI to assist DHH in investigating this alleged criminal activity by this organization.”

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Related article:

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Cruz Calls For ‘Immediate’ Investigation Into Planned Parenthood – The Hill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling for a full investigation into Planned Parenthood after a high-level official was caught in an undercover video discussing the harvesting of aborted fetal tissue.

“Congress should immediately begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts, including who is obtaining them and what they are being used for,” Cruz wrote in a statement late Tuesday.

The now-viral video, which was created by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, has inflamed conservatives on Capitol Hill since it surfaced early Tuesday. He is the third GOP White House hopeful to condemn the reported trafficking of “fetal parts.”

Earlier Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a Republican, charged his state health department with investigating the issue.

Planned Parenthood, which receives some of its funding from the federal government, has acknowledged that the video includes one of its executives but denied that she was discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Instead, the group said she was “speculating on the range of reimbursement that patients can receive after stating they wish to donate any tissue after a procedure.”

Cruz also renewed calls for lawmakers to “fully defund” Planned Parenthood, a long-time rallying cry among anti-abortion Republicans.

“There is no place for taxpayer funding of organizations that profit from taking away innocent life, much less profiting off the bodies of the lives they have stolen,” he wrote in a statement.

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Hitlery’s State Department Accused Of Covering Up Sex Crimes Investigation (Video)

Ugly: State Department Scandal Deepens Amidst New Sordid Allegations – Townhall

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To be clear, we’re talking about the most recent mess at State – not the lethal parade of failures known as “Benghazi.” Keeping these scandals straight is getting exhausting. Katie wrote yesterday about CBS News’ report on damning findings of an Inspector General investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The basics:

CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks. The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department’s security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide… according to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” – a problem the report says was “endemic.” The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.

So we have a drug ring, an “endemic” prostitution problem among Hillary Clinton’s security detail, and pattern of alleged sexual assault in Beirut (where, by the way, our embassy astoundingly isn’t up to snuff on security measures), investigations into which were manipulated or terminated by State Department higher-ups. As we know from the Benghazi matter, they’re hyper-sensitive about bad political optics. The CBS News story also mentioned the IG’s discovery that one US Ambassador “routinely ditched” security to solicit prostitutes in a public park. The Ambassador in question was recalled to Washington, then sent on his merry way by by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy – a familiar name from the Benghazi imbroglio. It gets worse. The ambassador in question is also alleged to have solicited sexual acts from “minor children,” according to NBC News:

The ambassador who came under investigation “routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to documents obtained by NBC News…Former State Department investigator Aurelia Fedenisn has said that investigators dropped the ball in the case, and that a final report published in March of this year was “watered down,” according to her attorney. “She felt it was important that Congress get this information,” Fedenisn’s lawyer Cary Schulman told NBC News.

Did the State Department keep a known (or at least heavily suspected) pedophile on the job, try to block the investigation, then “water down” the final report? State denies any undue influence on internal probes, and the ambassador is decrying the allegations “smears.” Who is he? The New York Post unearths a name with deep financial ties to President Obama and Democrats:

A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team… were well aware of the behavior.” Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo. Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.

Why did Kennedy “order the investigation ceased”? The Post story also notes that Clinton’s Secretary of State Cheryl Mills – you remember her, too, right? – personally involved herself in a separate investigation, effectively shutting it down.

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26 States Call For Investigation Of Obama’s Executive Amnesty Scheme And Federal Court Perjury

26 States Want Investigation Of Obama’s Amnesty – Daily Caller

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a judge to allow an investigation of the closed-door workings of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, following the discovery that 100,000 illegal immigrants had secretly been given three-year amnesty documents well before a promised start date.

“The Obama Administration appears to have already been issuing expanded work permits, in direct contradiction to what they told a federal judge previously in this litigation,” Paxton said in a Thursday statement describing his legal request, which was signed by the governors or attorneys general of 26 states.

“The circumstances behind this must be investigated, and the motion we seek would help us determine to what extent the Administration might have misrepresented the facts in this case,” he added.

The judge has frozen Obama’s amnesty since Feb. 16, pending the future decisions of appeals court judges. Without the judge’s decision, Obama’s deputies already would be preparing work permits and tax rebates for illegals.

Paxton’s hardball response was cheered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. ”I commend Attorney General Paxton for continuing to hold the Obama Administration accountable, and I’m confident an investigation would find the Administration knowingly or recklessly misled a Federal Court in issuing thousands of amnesty documents illegally,” he said Thursday.

“President Obama has continued to show complete disregard for the Rule of Law by acting beyond his Constitutional authority at every stage of this process,” he added.

The judge, Andrew Hanen, showed his skepticism about the administration in a 2014 case, when he said border officers were being used by the administration to illegally transfer foreign children from Central America to their parents living illegally in U.S. cities.

On Feb. 16, Hanen froze Obama’s two-part amnesty, which was intended to provide residency, work permits and tax rebates to at least four million illegals, after concluding it likely violated the federal government’s rule-making process.

The amnesty for roughly 1 million younger illegals is called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and it was launched in June 2012, five months before the 2012 election. Obama’s November amnesty extends the work permits given to the younger illegals from two years to three years.

The amnesty for roughly 4 million parent illegals is called DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Obama’s plan would give them work permits, tax rebates, Social Security numbers, drivers’ license and a fast-track to citizenship.

In November, administration statements had declared it would not start the DACA upgrade until Feb. 18, and would not start the DAPA amnesty until in May 2015. On Jan. 15, Obama’s lawyer told the judge that “no applications for the revised DACA… would be accepted until the 18th of February.”

But Obama’s deputies were already handing out the three-year DACA amnesties. By mid-February, 100,000 three-year amnesties had been given to illegals who had received two-year amnesties in 2012 or 2013.

On March 3, Obama’s lawyers admitted to the judge that officials had already given the three-year DACA amnesties to 100,000 people, according to a March 4 article in the Washington Examiner.

“Out of an abundance of caution, however, Defendants wish to bring one issue to the Court’s attention,” said the administration’s document given to the judge. “Between November 24, 2014 and the issuance of the Court’s [Feb. 16] Order, USCIS granted three-year periods of deferred action to approximately 100,000 individuals who had requested deferred action under the original 2012 DACA guidelines.”

The officials excused the deception by claiming that the announced Feb. 18 start date “may have led to confusion about when USCIS had begun providing three-year terms of deferred action to individuals already eligible for deferred action under 2012 DACA.”

The administration’s “confusion” was exposed March 3, the same day that top GOP leaders allied with Democrats to pressure GOP legislators to pass a budget bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The budget did pass, and it doesn’t block funding for Obama’s unpopular and possibly illegal amnesty.

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IRS Inspector General Now Undertaking Criminal Investigation Into Lois Lerner’s “Missing” Emails

IRS Watchdog Reveals Lois Lerner Missing Emails Now Subject Of Criminal Probe – Washington Times

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The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.

He said they have also discovered the hard drives from the IRS’s email servers, but said because the drives are out of synch it’s not clear whether they will be able to recover anything from them.

“To date we have found 32,744 unique emails that were backed up from Lois Lerner’s email box. We are in the process of comparing these emails to what the IRS has already produced to Congress to determine if we did in fact recover any new emails,” Mr. Camus said.

Democrats questioned the independence of Inspector General J. Russell George, who is overseeing the investigation, saying he’s injected politics into his work.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said Mr. George is refusing to turn documents over to him, prompting a heated reply.

“You’re not entitled to certain documents,” Mr. George said.

“Oh really? We’ll see about that, won’t we,” Mr. Connolly replied, saying that he questioned whether Mr. George could be trusted if he’s refusing to provide documents, yet is in charge of an investigation into whether the IRS stonewalled document requests.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the complex investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Several congressional committees are still probing the matter, and both the inspector general and the Justice Department are conducting criminal investigations.

In a 2013 report, the inspector general said the IRS had improperly targeted conservative and tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status, asking repeated intrusive questions and delaying their applications well beyond a reasonable time. Some of those groups are still waiting, with their applications now pending for years.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and Oversight Committee chairman, said the ongoing investigations undercut President Obama’s assertion last year that there was no evidence of corruption in the IRS’s targeting.

“I have no idea how the president came to such a definitive conclusion without all the facts,” he said.

The IRS belatedly told Congress it may have lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails after her computer crashed, and asserted that the backup tapes didn’t exist.

But under questioning from Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Camus said it took him only two weeks to track down the backup tapes, and when he asked the IRS depository for them, the workers there said they’d never been contacted by the agency itself.

Republicans said that was stunning because IRS Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress the emails were irretrievably lost.

“I think they have misled or lied to the committee,” said Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican.

Mr. Camus said they were clued in to the 424 new tapes they just found a couple of weeks ago after realizing the IRS hadn’t given over a key document. They demanded that document, and realized it showed hundreds of other tapes existed.

Democrats said the investigation has dragged on too long and been too expensive, pointing to the IRS’s estimate that it has spent $20 million on staff and equipment to try to comply with the committee’s request.

Ms. Lerner, who oversaw the unit of the IRS that scrutinized nonprofit groups’ applications, is a central figure in the investigations.

After belatedly discovering that some of her emails weren’t being recovered, the IRS did try to reconstitute them by asking other employees to dig through their emails to see if they were the recipients of any messages that involved her. That did produce some of the missing emails.

Democrats said the GOP seemed to be insinuating Ms. Lerner had purposely crashed her hard drive to hide emails – though she herself pushed to try to get messages recovered.

Democrats also questioned why the hearing was happening now, given that Mr. Camus and Mr. George both stressed that their findings are preliminary and could change as they learn more.

“It seems that the best course of action would be to have the inspector general come back when his report is complete,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the panel.

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The Leftist Douchebaggery Continues Unabated In Wisconsin (Videos)

Former Prosecutor Says Wisconsin Investigation Fueled By “Hyper-Partisan” DA And Union Activist Wife – Hot Air

Last we checked on Gov. Scott Walker, he was (a) knotted in the polls with his Democratic challenger, and (b) fending off mind-bendingly dishonest media coverage of the scurrilous investigation into Wisconsin conservative groups – which has been summarily thrown out of court by two different judges. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals took up the ‘Joe Doe’ circus yesterday, as twice-thwarted prosecutors sought to have their secret probe reinstated; lawyers for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the targeted organizations, argued that a scathing lower court ruling shutting down the investigation and exposing the prosecutors to misconduct lawsuits ought to be be upheld. A press account of Tuesday’s oral arguments said the judges, “repeatedly quizzed lawyers… why the federal courts should weigh in on a state investigation” at all. Leading up to the proceedings, former FEC official Hans Von Spakovsky penned an op/ed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spelling out what’s at stake in the case:

The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy… The [conservative] group’s supposed “crime” was coordinating its efforts on public policy issues with elected officials such as Gov. Scott Walker and with other conservative advocacy organizations. This resulted in SWAT-like raids in the middle of the night by armed law enforcement officials to seize “evidence,” as if these organizations were dangerous drug cartels or mob operations. Last week, I joined three other former members of the Federal Election Commission in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief for the organizations unfairly targeted.

Based on our extensive experience interpreting federal campaign finance law, we argue that issue advocacy is at the core of our rights to free speech, to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The right of citizens and their membership associations to directly engage elected leaders is all the more important on politically charged questions of public policy. Such collaboration is the norm in the political arena, where there is extensive interaction between citizens groups and elected officials about proposed legislation. In fact, such coordination is vital to a functioning democracy… I hope that the civil rights lawsuit filed against these prosecutors is successful and results in a large judgment that deters this type of investigation from ever happening again.

As we await the panel’s ruling – which is expected before the upcoming elections – a new report from respected journalist and Brookings senior fellow Stuart Taylor, Jr. sheds fresh light on the possible motivations behind the whole imbroglio. According to a source described as a former prosecutor with firsthand knowledge of the investigation’s inner workings, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm’s efforts have been driven by intense partisanship. The source says Chisolm’s wife is a fanatical anti-Walker agitator, and assesses the entire inquiry as a vindictive political crusade:

A longtime Chisholm subordinate reveals for the first time in this article that the district attorney may have had personal motivations for his investigation. Chisholm told him and others that Chisholm’s wife, Colleen, a teacher’s union shop steward at St. Francis high school, a public school near Milwaukee, had been repeatedly moved to tears by Walker’s anti-union policies in 2011, according to the former staff prosecutor in Chisholm’s office. Chisholm said in the presence of the former prosecutor that his wife “frequently cried when discussing the topic of the union disbanding and the effect it would have on the people involved… She took it personally.” Citing fear of retaliation, the former prosecutor declined to be identified and has not previously talked to reporters. Chisholm added, according to that prosecutor, that “he felt that it was his personal duty to stop Walker from treating people like this.” Chisholm was referring to Gov. Walker’s proposal – passed by the legislature in March 2011 – to require public employee unions to contribute to their retirement and health-care plans for the first time and limited unions’ ability to bargain for non-wage benefits.

This former Chisolm associate goes on to allege that the culture within his office was about as far removed from the paradigm of impartial law enforcement as could be imagined:

Chisholm said his wife had joined teachers union demonstrations against Walker, said the former prosecutor. The 2011 political storm over public unions was unlike any previously seen in Wisconsin…Chisholm’s private displays of partisan animus stunned the former prosecutor. “I admired him [Chisholm] greatly up until this whole thing started,” the former prosecutor said. “But once this whole matter came up, it was surprising how almost hyper-partisan he became… It was amazing… to see this complete change.” The culture in the Milwaukee district attorney’s office was stoutly Democratic, the former prosecutor said, and become more so during Gov. Walker’s battle with the unions. Chisholm “had almost like an anti-Walker cabal of people in his office who were just fanatical about union activities and unionizing. And a lot of them went up and protested. They hung those blue fists on their office walls [to show solidarity with union protestors] …At the same time, if you had some opposing viewpoints that you wished to express, it was absolutely not allowed.”

Read Taylor’s whole story, which traces the history of the ‘John Doe’ campaign finance probe and describes the pair of lower court decisions that lowered the boom on overzealous prosecutors. Not one person has been charged throughout the ordeal (let alone indicted or convicted), and prosecutors admit that Walker hasn’t even been served with a single subpoena. Meanwhile, conservatives in Wisconsin say the groundless, never-ending, punitive, secret investigation has frozen them into a state of paralysis, which they argue is a clear violation of their rights. President Obama’s former White House counsel appears to agree:

Bob Bauer, one of the nation’s leading election law experts, counters that however valid the reformers’ concerns may be, the Wisconsin investigation raises important constitutional and policy issues. “There are serious problems with the effort to prohibit or limit issue ad coordination,” Bauer said. “I’m very wary of using the criminal law to enforce them.” Punishing coordination, Bauer said, would “drive apart natural allies who should be free to collaborate on common political goals.” …Since Bauer served as President Obama’s White House Counsel, he cannot be discounted as a conservative partisan.

This is only the latest skirmish in the Left’s apparent campaign to criminalize political disagreement – ranging from a proposed Constitutional amendment restricting political speech, to an endless ‘Bridgegate’-to-nowhere investigation in New Jersey, to the utterly preposterous indictments against Texas Gov. Rick Perry. If these tactics prove successful, what’s to stop agenda-driven prosecutors in heavily partisan jurisdictions from routinely cooking up criminal inquiries and charges for the sole purpose of hanging a dark cloud over a rival politician during an election season? By the time the target has time to clear his or her name, the political damage has been done. The attack ads already aired. The people already voted (see: Stevens, Ted and DeLay, Tom). Genuine public corruption is a scourge that must be rooted out, but abusing the legal system to harass and silence ideological opponents is disgraceful. I’ll leave you with one of Walker’s latest ads touting Wisconsin’s job growth, followed by an RGA hit on Mary Burke:

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Democrats are now seizing on new projections of a future structural deficit – estimated to emerge between 2015 and 2017 – to pummel Walker. These gripes come from the same people who left Wisconsin drowning in a $3.6 billion sea of red ink, which Walker has mopped up by reducing spending and reforming the budget, all while lowering taxes across the board. A Republican member of the state’s Joint Finance Committee offers a six-point primer on what Democrats won’t mention as they fulminate about potential structural deficits, which they suddenly care about very deeply. His first point: Walker and the Republican legislature have produced a string balanced budgets, leading to a sizable surplus and a robust rainy day fund. These latest projections employ a static analysis that assumes no efforts will be undertaken to adapt, respond, and achieve balance.

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Corruption Update: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition

Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition – Legal Insurrection

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We’ve covered the abusive anti-conservative Wisconsin “John Doe” proceedings many times before.

The short story is that two separate proceedings were commenced under the auspices of Democratic District Attorneys in order to try to take down Scott Walker.

John Doe No. 1 concerned Walker’s time as County Executive and ended without finding any wrongdoing by Walker himself.

John Doe No. 2 concerned Walker’s time as Governor and recall election. Both a state court judge and a federal judge found that even if everything the investigators claimed was true, it was not illegal. This John Doe No. 2 resulted in a federal lawsuit by two of the targets alleging that the investigators violated the targets’ constitutional rights.

Some documents released Friday by the federal Court of Appeals reveal just how abusive this John Doe No. 2 was.

The investigators conducted a widespread fishing expedition through the otherwise private records of numerous conservative activists, as described by M.D. Kittle of Wisconsin Reporter, who has followed the case more closely than anyone (h/t Instapundit):

‘Retaliation’: Docs show state prosecutors’ launched mini-NSA probe of state conservatives

Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.

That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.

Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.

“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The documents raise serious concerns about the tactics of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, two of his assistant DAs and others involved in the investigation targeting dozens of conservatives.

We are in a dangerous place when prosecutors can identify the target first, and then try to find a crime.

Hey Wisconsin conservatives. You’re not paranoid, Democrats really are out to get you.

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