Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

A Troubling Report on the Wisconsin John Doe Probes -- and its Current Import

December 19, 2017 --

LPR, July 2014, reported how The New York Times, in its news article and editorial on the Wisconsin John Doe probe, on alleged campaign finance violations had transformed itself from newspaper to partisan zealot. A recent report from Brad Schimel, Wisconsin attorney-general, includes language that indicates that not only was media coverage partisan; the conduct of those responsible for the John Doe investigation was no less partisan. According to the report, the Government Accountability Board (GAB ) which carried out the investigation, had become "weaponiz[ed]...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."

The report goes on to assert, "GAB attorneys did not act in a detached and professional manner. The most reasonable inference in that they were on a mission to bring down the [Gov. Scott] Walker campaign and the Governor himself." '

The title of the New York Times editorial, quoted by LPR, July 1, 2014 -- three and a half years ago -- was "'Gov. Walker's Campaign Violations.'" As it turned out, Wisconsin's courts, including the state supreme court, found no campaign finance violations -- just acceptable political speech -- and closed down the John Doe" probe. Apparently, however, court orders to turn over material gathered in the course of the probe were ignored. The report further pointed out that some John Doe material was obtained pursuant to "subpoenas and search warrants...executed" on October 3, 2013, quoting from a court decision, "'in pre-dawn, paramilitary-style raids in which bright floodlights were used to illuminate the targets' homes.'" Also, individuals in the homes, including minors, were not permitted to contact attorneys.

The United States Supreme Court declined to review the action putting an end to the John Doe probes. The attorney general's report points out that the Wisconsin legislature has placed limits on John Doe investigations, "primarily limiting their use to certain enumerated drug crimes and violent felonies." For the text of the report, please google: "Report of the Attorney General Concerning Violations of the John Doe Secrecy Orders." The report should be of interest to all citizens committed to freedom and popular government.

Given focus on what seems partisan motive in pursuing the now-discredited John Doe probe, congressional Republicans would do well to keep a close eye on the investigation of of special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. In view of the financial support given by the Clinton campaign to Christopher Steele to gather Russia-sourced material against Donald Trump, can there be any doubt that the dossier put together by Steele had a very partisan motive. And what of the likely partisanship of those in the intelligence community, including former FBI director James Comey, who apparently gave no little credence to Steele's material? And could it be seriously claimed that FBI agent Peter Strzok acted professionally when, as a member of the Mueller investigation, had exchanged anti-Trump partisan messages with his girlfriend? It seems to LPR that the Wisconsin attorney-general's report warns that professionals can give in to invidious partisanship.

Consider, too, the pre-dawn John Doe raids on homes of Wisconsin conservatives. A similar early morning raid targeted the home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Have conservatives become fair game for police-state tactics? Thank goodness the abuse conservatives by the Wisconsin John Doe ordeal is over, as is the abuse of conservatives by the I.R.S. -- but where was the public outcry when the abuse was happening? Shame on the leftist media for its silence when conservatives are targeted by anti-democratic ideologues.

Congressional Republicans, if you don't step in to prevent political partisans from bringing down the president under the guise of a special counsel probe, who will?

An op-ed piece by Wisconsin state senator Leah Vukmir  about her John Doe experience -- "An Attack on My Privacy in Wisconsin's Political War" --appeared in the  The Wall Street Journal, December 11. She noted that the state legislature eliminated the Government Accountability Board in June, 2016. See also the Journal's July 23, 2015 article on the John Doe probe, "The Wisconsin  Targets Tell Their Story."