The Controversy Surrounding the Scott Walker John Doe Investigation
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – In late 2013, a controversial “John Doe” investigation was launched into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and many of his supporters and affiliates. There were allegations against him that suggested that there was some foul play among the donors who contributed to his win in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Overseers suggested that some of Walker’s affiliates and donors illegally coordinated with GOP candidates during the recalls. According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
“A John Doe functions much like a federal grand jury, allowing prosecutors to conduct searches, subpoena records and other material, and take testimony under oath from witnesses – all in secret.”
It was the office of Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf that initiated investigation. Though he nor his colleagues have publicly commented on the issue, sources familiar with the case say that the probe was launched as a response to a similar “John Doe” investigation launched into Scott Walker in 2010 while he was a Milwaukee County executive.
In that case as well as this one, the legitimacy of his aides were questioned. The previous case did result in criminal charges being filed against six of the entities investigated – including three former Walker aides and a major campaign contributor – but Walker himself was not found guilty on any grounds.
Subpoenas Spark First Amendment Concerns
According to The Wall Street Journal, dozens of conservative groups were subpoenaed by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, including the Scott Walker campaign, the official Wisconsin Republican Party, The Republican Governors Association, the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, American Crossroads and the Wisconsin chapter of the Club for Growth. The Wall Street Journal stated the following:
“Copies of two subpoenas we’ve seen demand “all memoranda, email… correspondence, and communications” both internally and between the subpoena target and some 29 conservative groups, including Wisconsin and national nonprofits, political vendors and party committees. […] One subpoena also demands ‘all records of income received, including fund-raising information and the identity of persons contributing to the corporation.’ In other words, tell us who your donors are.”
The WSJ article quoted above requires a membership to view, however a free excerpt of the same article is available courtesy of Free Republic.
The subpoenas also forbade the entities from releasing public statements on the case, according to Fox News. However, that did not stop Wisconsin Club for Growth director Eric O’Keefe from publicly speaking out while the subpoenas were still valid. He stated that at least three homes have been raided by investigators, and that “he wants the public to know what’s going on,” regardless of the personal risk. He stated that the subpoenas “froze my communications and frightened my allies and vendors of the pro-taxpayer political movement in Wisconsin… the process is the punishment.”
Scott Walker, his affiliates and supporters have achieved a small victory, however. According to our most recent reports, the subpoenas have been fully lifted, but the “John Doe” investigation is still in progress, leaving the door open for more scrutiny and oppression. This has left a shaky outlook for Scott Walker’s upcoming 2014 run for re-election as the governor of Wisconsin.