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George Will – Wisconsin John Doe Investigation a Partisan Abuse of Law Enforcement

George Will – Wisconsin John Doe Investigation a Partisan Abuse of Law Enforcement

Attempt to silence conservative voices in Wisconsin.

Legal Insurrection readers are likely familiar with the harassment of Scott Walker supporters in Wisconsin.

George Will addressed the issue with some follow up in his column this week…

Wis. prosecutors abuse the law for partisan ends

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, revolted by the police-state arrogance of some elected prosecutors, has stopped a partisan abuse of law enforcement that was masquerading as political hygiene. Last Tuesday, Randa halted the corruption being committed by people pretending to administer campaign regulations — regulations ostensibly enacted to prevent corruption or the appearance thereof. The prosecutors’ cynical manipulation of Wisconsin’s campaign laws is more than the mere appearance of corruption.

Eric O’Keefe’s refusal to be intimidated by lawless law enforcement officials produced Randa’s remarkably emphatic ruling against an especially egregious example of Democrats using government power to suppress conservatives’ political speech…

As a director of Wisconsin Club for Growth, which advocates limited government, O’Keefe had participated in his state’s 2012 debate surrounding attempts by Democrats and state and national government-employee unions to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and some state senators. The recalls were intended as punishment for legislation limiting the unions’ collective bargaining rights.

Walker prevailed. The Democratic prosecutors, however, seeking to cripple his 2014 reelection campaign and to damage him as a potential 2016 presidential aspirant, have resorted to a sinister Wisconsin process called a “John Doe investigation.” It has focused on the activities of O’Keefe and 28 other conservative individuals or organizations.

Between this and the IRS harassment of Tea Party groups, progressives have shown the depths they will sink to when they can’t win based on their ideas.

Tactics they would decry as abuses of power if the situation was reversed come quite naturally to them when used against their opponents.

WAJ adds:  I was honored to see O’Keefe at Anne’s wedding this weekend (second from right, seated):

It’s rare that someone risks his own freedom for the freedom of all of us, but O’Keefe was just such a person, an unassuming guy who stood up to the Star Chamber travesty that is the anti-conservative John Doe investigation. His lawsuit against the investigators — named individually — will continue, even as the investigation has been shut down by the courts. (BTW, Jim Hoft was looking great, thank God he’s doing better.)


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They were caught red-handed and nothing has happened. Ending the John Doe investigations a mild and pusillanimous resolution.

I don’t know what’s worse for democracy: these crooks’ actions or the fact that they still enjoy impunity in their positions, ready to play more dirty tricks.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | May 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

Ah yes, Wisconsin’s “John Doe law” along with the Fed’s FISA Courts are today’s answer to the question of whatever happened to Jolly Old England’s Star Courts?

Both Wisconsin’s “John Doe Law” and the FISA courts are equally bad for a democracy; even for the Dems if they were to ever contemplate the dangers from having either exist.

    The FISA court has a real, protective function for the people of the US. We do have people from overseas trying to come over here, or influence people already here, to kill our people at random. If our law enforcement agents are to protect us, they have to be able to operate in secrecy. The FISA court allows for the secrecy, but still provides necessary court supervision. The system is not perfect, but it is not purposeless.

      tom swift in reply to Valerie. | May 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      but it is not purposeless

      But this is never an adequate justification. All sorts of wretched things have purpose – Benedict Arnold’s plans for West Point, Tamerlane’s sack of Delhi, the revival of The Munsters – but that doesn’t make them tolerable.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Valerie. | May 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      There are indeed times when courts and prosecutors must move quietly.

      Not nearly as many times as THEY think, but there are times.

      I have no problem with intelligence agencies gathering as much information as they can from overseas. That after all is their job by definition. Secrecy is part of that effort. And if an Iranian refinery goes kaboom or a terrorist hard-boy gets drone-zapped, that’s their problem.

      But here at home I want our government to be careful, circumspect and sober when it comes to respecting the liberties of our own citizens. None of that happened in Wisconsin. The “John Doe” investigations were clearly — clearly! — an attempt to silence political opponents. Secret proceedings, midnight searches, gag orders, and malicious prosecution should result in these prosecutors spending time at the Greybar Hotel.

      That it hasn’t happened yet shows the erosion of our constitutional rights. That’s downright worrisome.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm

        My hope is that the good guys are still in the process of unraveling all that these vengeful, commie zealots have done in an effort to prosecute them for this travesty. I’m not positive, but I don’t think they’d have personal immunity in this case, depending on the evidence.

          Very likely you are wrong. Dunno for sure, but prosecutors and judges…and both are implicated here…have a very high level of immunity. And for generally good reasons.

          That extends to both civil and criminal liability. Generally, the best way to get to these thugs is via the ballot. Given some of the Collectivist hives in Wish-consin, I would bet they will be there forever. The state may very well find that changing the law is the best bet.

          One of the significant points of the ruling is that the prosecutors do not enjoy proprietorial immunity in the investigation. Under the 7th circuit decisions, that immunity only applies following the charging of a crime with probable cause. Here, the express purpose of the investigation is to determine if there is probable cause.

          The defendants in the lawsuit have been named in both their official position and individually. I expect claims for damages will follow.

      Doug Wright Old Grouchy in reply to Valerie. | May 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Fascinating, to say the least! Yes, the FISA Court has a real purpose and an admirable one at that. However, its proceeding are done in secrecy and its process also is secret and there is in fact a lack of transparency about its operations. And is the rub regarding FISA that could well lead to a total misuse of that court.

      Recall history that the Star Courts also served a once legitimate purpose and were also vastly misused as the English Monarch realized that the monarch’s power became absolute.

      I have no solution as to how the FISA Court should be operated except to say that in its current mode, there shall be severe misuse of it if that has not already occurred. It is potentially one of the more likely dampers on our vaunted freedoms, other equally dangerous ones include the use of Executive Orders and signing statements. Of these, the FISA Court is the least transparent and the one most likely to become more encompassing and binding upon our freedoms; surprise!

Humphrey's Executor | May 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Aren’t grand juries supposed to serve as a check against this kind of prosecutorial abuse. What keeps some upstanding grand-jurors from telling the prosecutor: “Maybe we need to subpoena your ass to answer some questions.”

James_teh_2nd | May 12, 2014 at 10:13 am

Wasn’t Sarah Palin facing similar, multiple, “John Doe” charges in Alaska when she chose to resign as governor?