Conservative Cat Fight in Wisconsin over John Doe II Investigation

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Image credit: Cristina

This is a compilation of commentary and links to John Doe II articles.

Friday May 30

In case you missed it – — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele will release a new round of emails culled during the John Doe probe.

“Abele will be responsible for disseminating them to anyone who requests them, but he said he won’t decide exactly how he will handle requests until [Judge] Nettesheim enters a written order detailing what records will be turned over to the county.” – source

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Bruce Murphy says that O’Keefe and Koch just aren’t into Scott Walker’s political career anymore. They’d rather destroy campaign finance laws with the help of the U.S. Supreme Court.

See the article Why Walker Has Split With Conservatives

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Walker says he won’t undermine “fellow conservatives”, sticks to federal lawsuit routine

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O’Keefe is suing G.A.B.

The conservative mouthpiece WatchDog.org has reported that Eric O’Keefe filed a lawsuit this morning against Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board for having “exceeded its statutory authority and evaded its statutory obligations by pursuing and funding a far-reaching criminal investigation into virtually every conservative-leaning group in Wisconsin”. The suit is filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

From WatchDog.org:
“The GAB’s use of a John Doe has created a Frankenstein monster,” the complaint states. “The GAB has grafted its existing powers for civil enforcement of campaign finance laws onto law enforcement powers borrowed from John Doe statute, and from this hybrid bundle of investigative powers, has lopped off vital procedural protections.”

Eric O’Keefe is continuing to use the judicial system as his mouthpiece.

He also wants this:
“O’Keefe and the club seek a judgment declaring the GAB has made and continues to make “illegal expenditures associated with its participation in the secret John Doe proceeding, and enjoining GAB from making any additional unlawful expenditures of public funds.”

A man who has access to unlimited funds is trying to eliminate funding for the agency in Wisconsin government that investigates crooks like him.

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As of Thursday May 29 we have
“Conservatives stung by talk of John Doe settlement with Scott Walker” by Stein, Marley, and Bill Glauber in which we get the impression that Wisconsin Club for Growth (A.K.A. Eric O’Keefe) is worried that Scott Walker’s campaign will be forbidden from associating with Wisconsin Club for Growth in a settlement deal that prosecutor Francis Schmitz is working on with Scott Walker’s attorney Steve Biskupic.

We also get the impression that other Walker allies targeted by the John Doe probe are worried that Walker isn’t their puppet anymore.

That is how I interpret the complaint that Walker’s lawyer Steven Biskupic is not “being aggressive enough with prosecutors and not acting in their best interests” – “their” being those other targets.

In response to all the gossip, there is a two sentence statement from Friends of Scott Walker, the Guv’s campaign arm.:
“Neither Governor Walker nor his campaign committee are parties to the federal lawsuit. This means they have no legal standing to reach a settlement or deal in their lawsuit”.

So interesting.

The statement specifies “the federal lawsuit”.
What about the three state court cases?
From WisPolitics:
But the statement does not address several cases in state court in which prosecutors overseeing the Doe are involved. Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz late yesterday asked U.S. Judge Rudolph Randa for clarification on his order halting the Doe and whether it includes talks “with counsel for individuals and organizations that were subjects of the John Doe investigation and that are parties in the state-court proceedings.”

and

“Schmitz’s filing notes three separate cases are now pending in state courts related to the Doe and asked if prosecutors are prohibited by the injunction from participating in those proceedings.”

That anonymous thing published in the Wall Street Journal said the attorney for Friends of Scott Walker “has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state’s investigation”.

The terse Friends of Walker statement has caused great consternation with local conservatives.

From WatchDog.org we learn that “one legal expert with knowledge of the John Doe investigation” informed right wing rag Wisconsin Reporter that he is “baffled” by the statement.

This WatchDog excerpt quotes the unnamed legal “expert”:

“If someone believed this was going to mollify Eric O’Keefe and the others, that’s incredibly naïve, to the point of incredible,” said the legal source, who asked not to be identified due to his proximity to the probe. “So what’s the point in putting this statement out?”

“There is an incredible tone deafness to” the statement, the source added.

“Tone deafness”. This phrase reminds me of blindness and that reminds me of when Scott Walker couldn’t see the Wisconsinites protesting in record numbers on the grounds of his own state office building.

Back then Wisco conservatives held their lips and flanks so tightly together. Times are changing.

And I doubt Club for Growth can hire an undercover videographer to help them get their way THIS time.

(Thinks to self: Do we have some popcorn in the house?)

Stay tuned.

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3 thoughts on “Conservative Cat Fight in Wisconsin over John Doe II Investigation

  1. Appreciate all the intelligent consideration over what the fault lines among oligarchs and wing nuts. I don’t have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, but afaik, Paul Gigot is still their editorial page editor. AFAIK, he and the WSJ editorial board wrote this piece. In wingnut circles that’s some really heavy support coming down against Walker/Biskupic. Nobody wants to anger a former U.S. Attorney.

    I’m way out of my depth here, but I read speculation in the JS comments that Walker/Biskupic’s strategy is to suppress the release of the emails.

    • How would it do that? I’ve wondered that from the start, but aren’t the emails scheduled to be released (by a different judge) to Milwaukee County after which the J-S could begin an FOIA/open records request and get them released to the public? Are they trying to keep the emails from being released to Milwaukee County, or to a subsequent news organization or other FOAI requestor?

      • Sue, excellent questions. I don’t have any good responses, but I’ll throw in some more opinion. You are correct, Judge Nettesheim has signaled that he’s willing to release some stuff to Abele/Milwaukee County. It doesn’t appear as though Abele wants to release them, which may indicate he’s concerned he or his people are in the correspondence and in ways he does not want made public. For obvious reasons, it’s very tough to sue district attorneys, prosecutors…. We require them to be fair, but because you don’t usually find angels in the sewer, making cases against difficult and dangerous people frequently requires getting testimony from unsavory types. It’s rare that you see a prosecutor disbarred, as happened here to Mike Nifong. http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3285862

        IMHO, the oligarchs attack on Schmitz and Chisholm,… and the John Doe process may have sent shock waves throughout the entire prosecutorial community, especially the vigor with which they wanted to depose prosecutors. Oligarchs like the Koch brothers with money to burn can hire top legal talent and drive anyone (who is not an oligarch) into the ground. The releasing-the-emails response, as you so rightly noted, is not connected to the actual proceedings that the oligarchs brought. It may have been a groundswell of prosecutors united in defending their own, to secure a “rough justice,” designed to use whatever leverage was available to level the playing field which Schmitz, Chisholm,… and others now face. If you’re buying any of that, Scott Walker’s just an actor. Sure, they’ve got a lot invested in him and if the emails ruin his political career, it’s a loss, but they can find plenty of other actors to read their script. What the oligarchs really don’t want is discovery. They don’t want the covers pulled back on what they and their minions (O’Keefe) have been doing. And they may fear that Schmitz and the John Doe’s have evidence that they don’t want to see the light of the day. See Randa’s order to destroy it.

        That supposition, speculation and $3 will get you something at Starbucks.

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