On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) released an 88-page report on the abuses of the John Doe process by members of the Government Accountability Board and others. The report describes an intelligence-gathering operation by rogue liberal government officials for the purpose of silencing the conservative movement in Wisconsin. The DOJ investigation was prompted by the leak of court-ordered sealed information to The Guardian by unknown operatives of the John Doe investigation in an effort to sway the US Supreme Court to allow the illegal intelligence gathering operation to continue.
“As this report describes in detail, the systemic and pervasive mishandling of John Doe evidence likely resulted in circumstances allowing the Guardian leak in the first place, and now prevents prosecutors from proving criminal liability beyond a reasonable doubt,” the DOJ report said. “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel recommended the following actions be taken as a result of the DOJ investigation:
- Refer Attorney Shane Falk to the Office of Lawyer Regulation for knowing and repeated violation of Judge Peterson’s January 27, 2014, order
- Initiate contempt proceedings against the following individuals to remedy violations of orders of the John Doe Judge and orders of the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Former Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz, Former GAB employee Kevin Kennedy, Former GAB employee Shane Falk, Former GAB employee Molly Nagappala, Former GAB employee Jonathan Becker, Elections Commission Counsel Nathan Judnic, Milwaukee ADA David Robles, Milwaukee Administrator James Krueger, Milwaukee DA Investigator Robert Stelter
Among the results of the investigation, the DOJ revealed the existence of a secret third John Doe investigation into conservative activities. This John Doe investigation probed into the emails and chat conversations of Wisconsin and national conservatives fishing for personal, damaging information. The files were then kept in folders marked “opposition research.”
One of the victims of this investigation was state Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). Personal emails between her and her daughter, 150 of them, were among the emails kept in an “opposition research” file.
We will update with more reactions to the DOJ report as more become available.
Leah Vukmir statement about unconstitutional John Doe raids in Wisconsin
Brookfield, Wis. — State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, issued the following statement following the release of the report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice that said her emails as far back as 2009, including personal emails with her daughter were collected, sorted and kept during the John Doe witch hunts by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and the now defunct Government Accountability Board:
“The upsetting news that my privacy was violated as personal emails between my daughter and I were obtained, read and kept by those who ran the John Doe investigation is absolutely appalling. This criminal behavior is inexcusable, and the individuals involved in this belong in prison.
“I am horrified to learn again just how invasive this witch hunt was into nearly every part of every major Wisconsin conservative’s life. Now it’s confirmed that it reached my own, even so far as to collect private medical information included in my emails with my daughter and stored in a file titled ‘opposition research.’
“My privacy has been violated in such a brazen way by those who targeted me, my friends, and even my family. No political motivation justifies this. The thought of my government intentionally and illegally targeting me is sickening.
“Today reminds me just how important it was that Gov. Walker, my legislative colleagues and our supporters worked to rein in the abuses of the John Doe investigations. The elimination of the Government Accountability Board was critical, and despite the fact I was specifically targeted, I have never been prouder to have authored a piece of legislation that defends our Constitutional rights.”
State Senator Dave Craig, a John Doe critic:
“The scope of abuses outlined in this report is astounding but unsurprising to those of us who have closely followed this news. This document finally reveals to the public the coordinated government conspiracy conducting dramatic personal invasions of innocent Wisconsinites and the existence of a secret John Doe III investigation. Those at the head of this illegal investigation and leak should be held fully accountable under law. “Additionally, the report shows that the GAB lied in a letter to the legislature and used unsecure Gmail accounts to store sensitive information from unconstitutional investigations into private citizens.”
M. D. Kittle and Vicki McKenna
Investigative reporter M. D. Kittle of the MacIver Institute spoke with WISN-AM’s Vicki McKenna on Wednesday shortly after the report was released. Kittle has been following the John Doe story, first for Watchdog.org and then the MacIver Institute.
A reminder that Pravda applauded Stalin’s show trials:
That’s right. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice wants to know why there is no mention of the leak to the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal and Watchdog stories were based on information shared with them by the victims of the John Doe probe. We can imagine Bice’s reaction after reading the Gulag Archipelago. “So where’s the book on how Stalin’s victims weren’t supposed to tell anyone what was happening?”
Perhaps Bice should have read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story more closely:
In an interview Monday, Schimel said he did not investigate whether Eric O’Keefe, the head of Wisconsin Club for Growth and a target of Chisholm’s probe, had leaked information because “he has a right as a citizen to say whatever he wants” about the raids of the homes of those who worked with him.
“It would smack frankly of authoritarian countries” if someone were barred from saying his or her home had been raided, Schimel said.
Attorney General Brad Schimel in an interview Wednesday afternoon by Mark Belling on WISN-AM:
“When I look at what happened at the GAB, it shocks me and frightens me that government could engage in that kind of invasion into personal life and personal liberty,” Schimel said. “It’s shocking, it’s frightening, and we do need to make sure this can’t happen again.”
Schimel also speculated a hard drive, with all of the John Doe information, may have been turned over to The Guardian. At the very least, it’s gone missing.
You can listen to the entire interview beginning at the 55:00 minute mark in the podcast.
Scott Manley, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
Keep in mind that while GAB and Milwaukee DA staff were violating the constitutional rights of citizens in the John Doe, many media outlets were cheering them on in their editorial pages.
— Scott Manley (@ManleyWMC) December 6, 2017
Kurt Bauer, CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
The incredibly broad “kitchen sink” nature of the #JohnDoe subpoenas show investigators didn’t even know what they were looking for because there was no probable cause of a crime to justify the raids, subpoenas or the investigation.
— Kurt R. Bauer (@Kurt_R_Bauer) December 7, 2017
Only the desire by corrupt partisans to use their power to punish people and groups they viewed as political opponents. And WI media stood by.
— Kurt R. Bauer (@Kurt_R_Bauer) December 7, 2017
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)
“This report confirms what Republicans have known to be true for years. The Government Accountability Board staff acted as though they were above the law. We have a mountain of evidence that clearly shows an abuse of power for partisan purposes.
“Democrats must now accept the fact that Republicans were right. The GAB was not a model for the country. It was a rogue agency where partisan behavior ran rampant and went completely unchecked.
“The GAB will go down in Wisconsin history as a failed experiment. The secret, unconstitutional John Doe investigations will be remembered for their blatant breach of personal information and the silencing of free speech. Thankfully, the GAB and John Doe investigations are history and this threat to democracy in Wisconsin is behind us.”
Candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tim Burns (D-Madison)
Meanwhile, Tim Burns decided to endorse illegal partisan investigations that defy court orders and leak like sieves material that was supposed to be kept sealed. He’ll make a great state Supreme Court Justice.
The horror of Walker’s rubber stamp Supreme Court: the people are left without a means to determine if public officials are abusing their power and an independent branch of government to stop the abuse. #JohnDoe #WIpolitics #SCOWIS https://t.co/xGfHYNvl2G
— Tim Burns (@Burns4WI) December 6, 2017