New twist in the abusive prosecutorial crusade against Scott Walker and Wisconsin conservatives.
You may recall the two John Doe investigations of Scott Walker, his supporters and almost the entire Wisconsin conservative movement. It was a nasty, vicious investigation which saw military-style raids in the middle of the night.
There was John Doe No. 1, investigating Scott Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive. They never came up with any wrongdoing by him.
Then there was John Doe No. 2, regarding Walker’s alleged unlawful collusion with conservative groups during the recall election. It is John Doe No. 2 that has generated litigation over several years. In the end, every court that ruled on the issue found that the entire prosecution legal theory was legally unfounded — that even if these conservative groups did what they were alleged to have done, it was constitutionally protected speech and not illegal.
Lives were ruined over an attempt to punish constitutionally protected speech by conservatives.
(note: Michael Lutz in this interview from late April 2015 committed suicide in late July).
We have several dozen posts about the history of John Doe No. 2 . Scroll through our John Doe (WI) tag. Here are some key posts in our extensive coverage of the John Doe investigation reflecting the abusive tactics:
- Can we finally stick a fork in Wisconsin John Doe?
- 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”
I discussed the case in this September 2015 radio interview:
Throughout it all, M.D. Kittle of the MacIver Institute led the way with his investigations and research. We relied heavily on his work for our own coverage.
Kittle did the work the mainstream media refused to do, because conservatives were the target. Had the targets been liberals, every major media group would have had teams of investigators on the case.
In this video, Kittle helps explains the history of John Doe and the trajectory of the case:
The John Doe investigation is dead. But the corpse still stinks.
Kevin Kennedy was the top Wisconsin election official during the John Doe investigations, until his retirement in June 2016. The Government Accountability Board that Kennedy led played a controversial role in the investigations, leading to allegations that it exceeded its authority, as this December 2014 report indicated:
The state Government Accountability Board’s top officials proceeded with a secret probe into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative political groups for months without authorization from the six retired judges who run the board, court records unsealed Friday allege.
The documents filed by a target of the investigation also allege that the board voted to end its involvement in the probe in July but that staff continued to work on it.
The lawsuits were eventually settled with GAB agreeing to limit its role moving forward:
Conservatives who sued the state’s political speech cop for helping to drive a politically motivated investigation picked up a huge victory in court Thursday.
Conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth resolved their lawsuit against the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, with the GAB agreeing it will refrain from funding and assisting future criminal prosecutions in violation of its statutory authority.
The victory for conservatives targeted in the unconstitutional John Doe investigation was announced a day after Gov. Scott Walker, himself a target of the political probe, signed legislation eliminating the GAB and replacing it with two separate ethics and elections commissions.
While the regulator doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, it acknowledges “it had contact with prosecutors about the subject of John Doe II and later made expenditures in conducting GAB Investigation No. 2013-02 in cooperation with prosecutors conducting the John Doe II investigation,” according to a press release issue by Kansas City, Mo.-based Graves Garrett LLC, the law firm that represented the conservatives.
The controversy over GAB’s role led to legislation eliminating the agency, as Wisconsin State Journal reported in December 2015:
Gov. Scott Walker has cemented key changes in time for the 2016 political campaign, signing into law bills giving campaign finance law its biggest makeover in decades and dismantling and replacing Wisconsin’s oversight board for elections and elected officials….
Walker’s signing of the two bills, announced in a press release, was conducted in private Wednesday. It was widely expected after the bills passed the Legislature last month on votes that largely mirrored party lines.
The campaign finance measure dials back restrictions on money flowing into state political campaigns, some of which had been struck down by court rulings.
The signing of the measure dismantling the Government Accountability Board kicks off a six-month transition to new elections and ethics commissions that will succeed it on June 30.
The John Doe law also was reformed, to take out many of the provisions that permitted abuse, as we reported in October 2015, Scott Walker signs law emasculating “John Doe”.
But the GAB controversy lives on.
Kittle has a new report asserting that Kevin Kennedy Caught On Tape: Former Speech Cop Shares John Doe Secrets:
In late July, MacIver News Service broke the story that former Wisconsin speech cop Kevin Kennedy appears to have broken the law in publicly sharing court-sealed information from the infamous John Doe investigation.
Today, MacIver News is releasing the audio of Kennedy’s curious defense of the disbanded agency at the center of one of Wisconsin’s darkest political chapters.
Kennedy at December’s national COGEL conference discussed a news story and accompanying court-sealed documents on the John Doe investigation, something that appears to be a violation of the probe’s strict secrecy order.
The long-serving state bureaucrat retired in June 2016, on the verge of being unceremoniously shown the door.
In the audio obtained by MacIver News Service, Kennedy waxes nostalgic for a simpler time, when law enforcement agents could storm into the private homes of citizens before sunrise and grab their possessions in pursuit of campaign finance law violations. He seems to long for the return of years-long spying operations pushed by partisan prosecutors and “ethics” attorneys, collecting mountains of personal information ultimately used as opposition research by their friends on the political left.
The Kittle article has numerous other audio excerpts from the appearance. In response to my inquiry, Kittle indicated that Kennedy has not responded to Kittle’s request for comment on the story.
Whether or not Kennedy violated a court order or other legal privacy provisions based on this appearance and remarks remains to be seen.
But one thing is clear.
Despite the years since the courts and legislature killed John Doe, the rotting corpse of the John Doe investigations still stinks.DONATE
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