The John Doe Investigation has been going on and on in Wisconsin since 2012 and has taken twists, turns, while moving in fits and starts. It is easy to lose track, partly because of irregular pulse of activity, and partly because by its very nature it is secret – so many of the details of who, what, and where remain in the closet. What is happening behind the door? We can only guess and conjecture from occasional leaks or from public legal actions as Doe moves through the legal system. Frustrating and confusing. – Almost like lady justice is a skipping and singing that seven-year-old chant, “I know something you don’t know – And I’m not going to tell you”.
This post offers a guide from the day District Attorney John Chisholm (left) concluded the investigation of Walker’s activities as Milwaukee County Executive to present.
March 1, 2013 Walker will not be charged
MILWAUKEE (WITI) March 1, 2013 — Governor Scott Walker will not be charged in the nearly three-year-old investigation into his former aides and associates, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
“After a review of the John Doe evidence, I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded,” Chisholm said in a statement. “As a consequence, last week my office petitioned for, and Judge Nettesheim has granted, the closure of the John Doe investigation.”
October 3, 2013 – RAID!
Ok. This is funny. The The right leaning blog Watch Dog (linked below) actually ran the photo below with the story about the raid on the homes and offices of conservative targets – read the caption. Remember the palm trees footage run by Fox News during the Act 10 protest? Well Watch Dog used a photo from the Furgeson protests.
Police didn’t draw their guns. They didn’t have to. Garish light blinded the groggy targets of the secret probe, startling neighbors. The uniforms, the lights, the early hour got everybody’s attention. One of the targets says police threatened to use battering rams to break down the front door, but the targets let them in.
The search warrants were issued to discover evidence connecting Club for Growth along with some 20 other political organizations carrying an Americans for Prosperity brand, to illegal collusion with the Walker campaign during the Senate and Walker’s recall elections. And thus began the entangled and beleaguered legal battle – to release or not to release – going on to this day.
The central characters on the conservative side are John Connors (left)who is Franklin Center’s “Director of Special Projects” and Eric O’Keefe (above) of the Wisconsin Growth who has close ties to many of the groups receiving funding (9.1 million dollars!).
By the very nature of Capitalism the guy with the capital gets the favor. Never before has so much secret money, and the organizations those funds support, moved into the electoral process as was demonstrated in Wisconsin in the past two years.
October 30, 2013 – Doe Judge very suddenly quits
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka (above) has stepped aside, throwing off the proceedings, scheduled for Tuesday.Wisconsin Reporter
One day hearings were scheduled for a new phase of the investigation, and the Doe Judge, Barbara Kluka very suddenly cancels out. She makes some snap decision to retire. Why? She would not say anything about anything – “I cannot tell you anything. There is a secrecy order and I will abide by it.” Conjecture anyone? 100 people had been subpoenaed to testify. When special prosecutor Francis Schmitz was asked about the sudden departure. You’ll never guess what he said: he is not commenting on “anything regarding anything dealing with an alleged John Doe investigation, in accordance with the law. Conjecture anyone?
Nov. 19, 2013 – Here come da New Judge!
Kluka is replaced.
Former state Appeals Court Judge Gregory A. Peterson (left) became new presiding judge in the secret criminal investigation into campaign fundraising and spending during the recall elections, which had spread to five Wisconsin counties.
“I can confirm that I’m the John Doe judge,” Peterson said when reached by phone Monday evening. “But that’s all I’m going to say.” Retired Eau Claire judge to oversee John Doe investigation
By Daniel Bice
January 10, 2014 – Peterson Pounces
Two months after Peterson is secretly assigned by some secret process as the new Doe Judge, he rules in favor of the money –
MADISON, Wisc. – In a serious body blow to a Democrat-driven secret investigation into dozens of Wisconsin conservative organizations, including Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, a judge has quashed some subpoenas, ruling that they were issued improperly, according to a newly published opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
“Now we learn that Judge Gregory A. Peterson ruled on Friday that at least some of those subpoenas were improper,” the Journal’s editorial board broke Friday evening in a piece headlined Wisconsin Political Speech Victory.Judge Deals Blow
Speial Prosecutor Schmitz asked the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals to review that ruling, arguing the John Doe judge misinterpreted campaign finance laws. Walker’s campaign in April asked the state Supreme Court to take the case from the appeals court. (Note this will come to be on Dec. 16, 2014)
May 6, Tuesday 2014 Judge Rudolph Kills Doe (but not really)
Judge Rudolph Randa (H.W.Bush Appointee) granted a preliminary injunction to stop Doe in its tracks, “saying any attempt to obtain compliance by any Defendant or John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson is grounds for a contempt finding by this Court. The Defendants 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,” wrote Randa, federal judge for the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
Sept. 24, 2014 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago
Judge Randa’s ruling called an “intrusion” and overruled
The three-judge panel consisted of Diane Wood, William Bauer, and Frank Easterbrook (below)
“What we have said shows not only that an (Judge Randa’s) injunction was an abuse of discretion but also that (as prosecutors) all defendants possess qualified immunity from liability in damages,” wrote Judge Frank Easterbrook (right)in the decision.
The federal judges were set to decide if prosecutors could be allowed to revive their investigation, as well as whether to unseal court documents that have been fully or partially blacked out because of the secrecy of the underlying investigation. They expressed skepticism about making public the prosecutors’ evidence in the case, which typically remains private unless charges are filed. Federal judges question John Doe isssue.
Catch 22 – Prosecutors’s evidence
You will notice that nearly all of the photos above are of legal entities, judges and prosecutors, that hold the prize – the evidence! The 7th court had the option to release this evidence – but NOOOoooo (with best John Belushi inflection). Do you think that the Koch – Club for Growth – Franklin Center folks are really concerned about violation of their 1st amendments rights, or are they investing millions in lawyers and litigation to keep “the evidence” secret? Do you believe that Scott Walker had no knowledge of the secret email network across the hall from his office, the network that sent his closest aids to jail? That is the question, the link, “the evidence” which hold the promise of ending the reign of Scott Walker once and for all. The advancement of money let loose by Citizens United has allowed endless litigation and manipulation of the judicial branch to hold the people hostage.
We need “the evidence” released, once and for all. I don’t know what, if any, criminal acts may have been discovered in the searches and raids in five Wisconsin counties, but I do know that the Walker had a defense fund, employing the best and most expensive lawyers and public relation firms to hold “the evidence’ secret.
We can remember how these same groups hired questionable thugs from across the country to collect recall signatures so they could be trashed. Remember?
I do know of documented election fraud, when registration forms were sent to voters across the state from “Americans for Prosperity” aimed at disenfranchising voters before the Senate recall elections. Rememeber the Wisconsin Sportsmen grant? The application, award, and cancellation of the $500,000 grant to the group. Well, that money is tied to those fraudulent mailings.
I do know for a fact, and first hand, the election materials from the Walker Recall election were discarded before the 21 days required by law. Read Command Central machines don’t like recalls ReadFOIA does not apply
I do know for a fact, and first hand, that GOP county clerks “mysteriously forgot” to update websites to inform voters that no ID would be required for the Walker Recall election. Official web sites said “Voter ID WILL be required”.Read photo ID
Want to know what happened in Wisconsin in 2010 to elect Walker and Ron Johnson? The truth is in “the evidence”.Nathan Sproul is also tied to Club for Growth and with R.J. Johnson. Sproul has been investigated for election fraud in states across the country. The Club for Growth is aptly named since it invaded the state with covert and fraudulent actions to promote and implement a cancer deep within the body politic.
Dec. 16, 2014 State high court to take up Doe
Madison — The state Supreme Court on Tuesday accepted three cases stemming from a long-running John Doe investigation of fundraising and spending by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups backing him.
Four of the justices have benefited from political spending by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the groups at the center of the investigation. Some legal experts have argued that at least some of those justices should not hear the cases because of actual or perceived biases from that political help.
The court’s action comes six weeks after the Republican governor handily won a second term, and as he is considering running for president. The special prosecutor has said Walker was not a target of the investigation.State High Court
Above are the faces of the four Wisconsin Supreme Court Judges that denied collective bargaining rights injunction June 14, 2011. Wait. Isn’t it interesting how the same four justices who voted against the collective bargaining injunction are the very justices that were supported by WMC and Club for Growth? .
In the illustration above they are from left to right:
David Prosser appointed 1998 current term expires 2021
Pateince Roggensack Her current term expires July 31, 2023.
Justice Michael J. Gableman His current term expires July 31, 2018.
Annette Kingsland Ziegler Her current term expires July 31, 2017
What about “the evidence”
The parties’ names are sealed in court records, but, according to sources they are the Wisconsin Club for Growth, R.J. Johnson and Deb Jordahl (right). Johnson in the 2010 and 2012 campaigns was a top adviser to both the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Walker’s campaign. Jordahl was an adviser to the club.
Much of the court record in that case is sealed because of the secret nature of the investigation, so the particulars of the challenge are not known.
Many of the records in the other cases are also being kept from the public, but some of those documents were made public in one of the federal lawsuits.
Those records revealed prosecutors had developed a theory Walker was at the center of “criminal scheme” to bypass campaign finance laws. Walker has stressed that he was never charged, and two judges rejected that theory.
Abrahamson (Chief Justice?) noted that some records in the court file are not available to some of those who are bringing the legal challenges.Patrick Marley Journal Sentinel
Looking at the words in bold above, we can begin to see what the oligarchs have accomplished over the past five years. They have taken the John Doe investigation secrecy and turned it to an advantage that only money can buy. You can read the litigation slice and dice at the link above, and probably never understand it. That is the point. Now, they have three separate cases – the details of which are not only secret to the public but to the litigants themselves! All played out in a high court that has been fraught with in-fighting (literally) and is stacked 4 to 3 in favor of the oligarchs. OH what sweet justice money can buy!
March 27, 2015 State high court won’t hear arguments in John Doe cases
Now we’ve arrived at the dreary liaison of Money, Power, and Election Fraud
Madison — The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday it would not hear arguments — in secret or in public — as it considers whether to allow an investigation to continue that has looked into whether Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign illegally worked with conservative groups in recall elections.
“The prospect of oral argument creates severe tension between important and conflicting priorities,” the court wrote, citing the long tradition of open courts and the secrecy of the John Doe.
Instead, the court will decide the matter based on hundreds of pages of briefs that have been filed in the cases, mostly in secret, because the court also rejected a special prosecutor’s argument that the secrecy genie has already largely escaped the bottle.State high court won’t hear arguments
In short, we are back where we started. Let me repeat.
Now, we have three separate cases much of which are not only secret to the public but to the litigants themselves! All played out in a high court that has been fraught with in-fighting (literally) and is stacked 4 to 3 in favor of the oligarchs. Well it is even worse, since Justice Bradley, who just won her election, has recused herself. Make that 4 to 2 in favor of the oligarchs.