For the last three years a Democrat affiliated Milwaukee County District Attorney has been engaged in a political jihad of sorts, using “secret subpoenas” and illegally invading homes and offices of a wide range of conservatives and Republicans in an “investigation” into collusion between activist groups and Wis. Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign. At last, a federal judge has ordered that the illicit probe be halted on First Amendment grounds.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, two of his assistant DAs, and Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz, launched a politically motivated investigation into whether or not Eric O’Keefe and his group the Wisconsin Club for Growth–a conservative activist group–illegally coordinated with Gov. Walker and other Republicans during the 2011 and 2012 recall election campaigns. The case was titled the “John Doe” investigation because all the accusations were made anonymously, many of the subpoenas were hidden behind a “secrecy rule”–meaning those accused could not even see them–and many of the proceedings were hidden from the public in secret court proceedings.
Also, as the wide-ranging search warrants were served, many of the accused were held and denied access to their lawyers. The raids were para-military styled, implemented in pre-dawn hours, and swept up not only business records, but personal records along with those of family members.
At last, a federal judge has ruled that this whole Democrat jihad amounts to a witch-hunt that is in violation of the rule of law. Worse, that it is drenched in violations of the rights of the accused not the least of which is their First Amendment rights.
The judge held that the actions of the out of control prosecutors either disregarded the law or purposefully misinterpreted it to fit their political aims of destroying conservative activist groups and undermining elected Republican officials.
In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in Milwaukee demanded that the Democrat prosecutors immediately end the illicit investigation, return all property, and then destroy any copies of that personal information.
“The (Wisconsin Club for Growth and its treasurer) have found a way to circumvent campaign finance laws, and that circumvention should not and cannot be condemned or restricted. Instead, it should be recognized as promoting political speech, an activity that is ‘ingrained in our culture,” Judge Randa wrote.
The judge also told the Club for Growth that it no longer had any responsibility to cooperate with the investigators or the County officials involved.
Randa revealed that the Democrat investigators weren’t just looking into the Club for Growth and its “coordination” with Waker, but had expanded the probe to include nearly every Republican official elected in that period and a multitude of other conservative leaning activist group.
The probe had also expanded to every corner of the state and many subpoenas were even issued to groups outside the state.
“The plaintiffs have been shut out of the political process merely by association with conservative politicians,” wrote Randa, a 1992 George H.W. Bush appointee. “This cannot square with the First Amendment and what it was meant to protect.”
The Democrat attackers claimed that because these conservative groups had advocated for the same things that Walker and other GOP candidates did, that somehow must mean there was illegal “coordination” going on in violation with these groups tax status.
But Randa disagreed saying “this interpretation is simply wrong.”
“O’Keefe and the Club obviously agree with Governor Walker’s policies, but coordinated ads in favor of those policies carry no risk of corruption because the Club’s interests are already aligned with Walker and other conservative politicians,” Randa wrote. “Such ads are meant to educate the electorate, not curry favor with corruptible candidates.”
The judge went on to say that the prosecutors were improperly attempting to transform issue advocacy into direct coordination. “If correct, this means that any individual or group engaging in any kind of coordination with a candidate or campaign would risk forfeiting their right to engage in political speech,” he wrote.
Naturally the out of control, jack-booted prosecutors have filed an emergency appeal to vacate Judge Randa’s order.
Judge Randa’s original cease order on this case had a technical problem and was set aside, but today, May 8, the judge went back and reiterated his decision with the technicality corrected and the “John Doe” probe is once again outlawed.
Milwaukee should be ashamed of the partisan, left-wing liars that pretend to be county prosecutors there. And good on Judge Randa for seeing the truth.