Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

The rotting corpse of Wisconsin’s John Doe investigation still stinks

The rotting corpse of Wisconsin’s John Doe investigation still stinks

New twist in the abusive prosecutorial crusade against Scott Walker and Wisconsin conservatives.

You may recall the two John Doe investigations of Scott Walker, his supporters and almost the entire Wisconsin conservative movement. It was a nasty, vicious investigation which saw military-style raids in the middle of the night.

There was John Doe No. 1, investigating Scott Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive. They never came up with any wrongdoing by him.

Then there was John Doe No. 2, regarding Walker’s alleged unlawful collusion with conservative groups during the recall election. It is John Doe No. 2 that has generated litigation over several years. In the end, every court that ruled on the issue found that the entire prosecution legal theory was legally unfounded — that even if these conservative groups did what they were alleged to have done, it was constitutionally protected speech and not illegal.

Lives were ruined over an attempt to punish constitutionally protected speech by conservatives.

(note: Michael Lutz in this interview from late April 2015 committed suicide in late July).

We have several dozen posts about the history of John Doe No. 2 . Scroll through our John Doe (WI) tag. Here are some key posts in our extensive coverage of the John Doe investigation reflecting the abusive tactics:

I discussed the case in this September 2015 radio interview:

Throughout it all, M.D. Kittle of the MacIver Institute led the way with his investigations and research. We relied heavily on his work for our own coverage.

Kittle did the work the mainstream media refused to do, because conservatives were the target. Had the targets been liberals, every major media group would have had teams of investigators on the case.

In this video, Kittle helps explains the history of John Doe and the trajectory of the case:

The John Doe investigation is dead. But the corpse still stinks.

Kevin Kennedy was the top Wisconsin election official during the John Doe investigations, until his retirement in June 2016. The Government Accountability Board that Kennedy led played a controversial role in the investigations, leading to allegations that it exceeded its authority, as this December 2014 report indicated:

The state Government Accountability Board’s top officials proceeded with a secret probe into coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative political groups for months without authorization from the six retired judges who run the board, court records unsealed Friday allege.

The documents filed by a target of the investigation also allege that the board voted to end its involvement in the probe in July but that staff continued to work on it.

The lawsuits were eventually settled with GAB agreeing to limit its role moving forward:

Conservatives who sued the state’s political speech cop for helping to drive a politically motivated investigation picked up a huge victory in court Thursday.

Conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth resolved their lawsuit against the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, with the GAB agreeing it will refrain from funding and assisting future criminal prosecutions in violation of its statutory authority.

The victory for conservatives targeted in the unconstitutional John Doe investigation was announced a day after Gov. Scott Walker, himself a target of the political probe, signed legislation eliminating the GAB and replacing it with two separate ethics and elections commissions.

While the regulator doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, it acknowledges “it had contact with prosecutors about the subject of John Doe II and later made expenditures in conducting GAB Investigation No. 2013-02 in cooperation with prosecutors conducting the John Doe II investigation,” according to a press release issue by Kansas City, Mo.-based Graves Garrett LLC, the law firm that represented the conservatives.

The controversy over GAB’s role led to legislation eliminating the agency, as Wisconsin State Journal reported in December 2015:

Gov. Scott Walker has cemented key changes in time for the 2016 political campaign, signing into law bills giving campaign finance law its biggest makeover in decades and dismantling and replacing Wisconsin’s oversight board for elections and elected officials….

Walker’s signing of the two bills, announced in a press release, was conducted in private Wednesday. It was widely expected after the bills passed the Legislature last month on votes that largely mirrored party lines.

The campaign finance measure dials back restrictions on money flowing into state political campaigns, some of which had been struck down by court rulings.

The signing of the measure dismantling the Government Accountability Board kicks off a six-month transition to new elections and ethics commissions that will succeed it on June 30.

The John Doe law also was reformed, to take out many of the provisions that permitted abuse, as we reported in October 2015, Scott Walker signs law emasculating “John Doe”.

But the GAB controversy lives on.

Kittle has a new report asserting that Kevin Kennedy Caught On Tape: Former Speech Cop Shares John Doe Secrets:

In late July, MacIver News Service broke the story that former Wisconsin speech cop Kevin Kennedy appears to have broken the law in publicly sharing court-sealed information from the infamous John Doe investigation.

The story was based on the accounts of sources who attended Kennedy’s presentation at last year’s Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) annual meeting in New Orleans.

Today, MacIver News is releasing the audio of Kennedy’s curious defense of the disbanded agency at the center of one of Wisconsin’s darkest political chapters.

Kennedy at December’s national COGEL conference discussed a news story and accompanying court-sealed documents on the John Doe investigation, something that appears to be a violation of the probe’s strict secrecy order.

The long-serving state bureaucrat retired in June 2016, on the verge of being unceremoniously shown the door.

In the audio obtained by MacIver News Service, Kennedy waxes nostalgic for a simpler time, when law enforcement agents could storm into the private homes of citizens before sunrise and grab their possessions in pursuit of campaign finance law violations. He seems to long for the return of years-long spying operations pushed by partisan prosecutors and “ethics” attorneys, collecting mountains of personal information ultimately used as opposition research by their friends on the political left.

The Kittle article has numerous other audio excerpts from the appearance. In response to my inquiry, Kittle indicated that Kennedy has not responded to Kittle’s request for comment on the story.

Whether or not Kennedy violated a court order or other legal privacy provisions based on this appearance and remarks remains to be seen.

But one thing is clear.

Despite the years since the courts and legislature killed John Doe, the rotting corpse of the John Doe investigations still stinks.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Is he working for Mueller now?

    Ragspierre in reply to Petrushka. | October 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    No. He is NOT. No comparison. If you say different, put up.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Ragspierre. | October 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Petrushka’s post is something called “humor”, Rags. It’s a quip, and I personally found it funny. Good thing there is at least one commenter with a sense of humor in an otherwise sad and dreary topic.

      Now then: you’ve been on quite an acid run this last month (at least). What I’ve seen of your comments is a lot of insult, threats and bile. You claim to be a lawyer and I’d like to think you don’t conduct yourself like this in real life. It’s a shame you have to be this way on another person’s blog.

      I don’t know how many other people have decided to come to LI less often because of you, but it’s certainly the case for me. I don’t need the daily negativity you bring here.

      No doubt you’ll insult me in response. That will, of course, prove my point.

      All we have to do is switch out “collusion” for “coordination” and the parallels are obvious to everyone but the terminally dishonest.

      sdharms in reply to Ragspierre. | October 6, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Hey Rags, I say different. Just read John Doe #2. You are blinded by your hatred. YOU quote the statute that defines and criminalizes “collusion”.

          I did. Screen after screen of Leftism without a single fact or law in sight.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | October 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

          Of course, you lie.

          “Recent developments in the law speak clearly to the strength of the government’s interest in an expansive enforcement of the ban on foreign national involvement in U.S. elections. In 2012, in Bluman v. Federal Election Commission, a federal appellate court ruled, and the Supreme Court affirmed, that lawful resident aliens had no First Amendment right to contribute to American candidates and political committees. More importantly, the court emphasized that foreign national political intervention implicated a principle “fundamental to the definition of our national political community,” which is that “foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government.” At stake was “part of the sovereign’s obligation to preserve the basic conception of a political community.” It will be no minor feat for Trump campaign lawyers, relying on Donald Trump’s free speech rights, to overcome what the court called this “foundational” interest.”

          The same article has a hot-link to this…

      You’re right Rags, there’s no comparison between the illegal John Doe investigations and Mueller’s fauxvestigation. In Wisconsin you had a cabal of Wisconsin Democrats illegally use a law to investigate behavior that was never a crime and could never have been a crime. They used gestapo tactics to break into people’s homes in a years long attempt to silence their political opponents…all because they were butt-hurt about losing an election.

      Which is *totally* unlike a cabal of Washington Democrats using a series of baseless allegations to “investigate” behavior that isn’t a crime…using gestapo tactics to intimidate witnesses and violate peoples civil rights….all because you can’t get over your butt-ache of losing an election to a political phenomenon you can’t allow yourself to understand.

      Totally dissimilar. Totally.

      You don’t have logic, ethics, facts, argument, or class on your side. Which makes you the perfect Democrat. Regular commenters here wouldn’t expect anything less from you.

        Ragspierre in reply to LCP. | October 6, 2017 at 10:19 am

        Well, let’s start with the laws in each instance.

        The Wishconsin law was unconstitutional.

        The Federal law against colluding with a foreign power is constitutional.

        The rest of your screed is simple broke-dick opinion, and reflects your own bias. Mueller has be very harsh in SOME of what’s been done, but it was done according to due process.

        I doubt anyone would make the case that was true in Wishconsin.

          Oh, right, and, query “why” was the law in Wisconsin ruled unconstitutional? Because the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. And, query, when did THAT take place? Why, that happened AFTER Gov Walker had survived the illegal coup the Liberal Fascists in Wisconsin mounted against the Governor who was properly and legally elected by a majority of citizens of my home state. Gov. Walker survived the recall and made 100% certain that the Supreme Court of his state wasn’t packed by Liberal Fascists jurists who would have rubber-stamped the John Doe investigations in a nanosecond. THAT is the only reason the Wisconsin Supreme Court was free to do reach the objectively and legally correct conclusion that the law was unconstitutional.

          So, you see, when confronted with facts, your argument is crap.

          The actions of the Liberal Fascists in Wisconsin are no different in quality than the actions of the cabal of Washingtonian insiders who are seeking to undermine the results of an election they can’t bring themselves to understand.

          If I’ve learned anything about Liberal Fascists in the last 40 years it is that they recognize no barriers to their quest for power. They respect no precedent if it interferes with their totalitarian urges. They have no respect for history, no respect for principle, not a single honest intellectual bone in their bodies. None.

          Your constant posting here perfectly fits with that premise. Everything you say, everything you support, everything you stand for can be distilled to one thing: POWER. You’ll support any position, buttress any lie, torture any logic, flip, flop, and shamelessly prevaricate so long as you think it will help your fellow Liberal Fascists accumulate more power.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | October 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          What I see is that you will defend your tribe, and resort to absolutely insane name-calling in the attempt.

          Paul Monofart is a sleazy lobbyist of the basest sort. That’s not even debatable. It’s a very well-established FACT.

          Yet any investigation of him is verboten…because tribe.

          The Wishconsin law was unconstitutional BECAUSE it was unconstitutional. Unless, of course, it’s your thesis that issue is only decided by a court. Which is very much what you’re saying. It depended on politics. No.

          I’m one of a very few consistent conservatives here. I constantly argue for a less powerful central government. If you say otherwise, you’re just lying. And you’re nuts.

          Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

          How does a consistent conservative deny the inalienable right of all human beings, including Vladimir Putin, endowed in them by their Creator, to communicate with US voters and do their best to persuade them to vote as they would like?

          Do you deny that most people in the world have a vital stake in who leads the world’s greatest power? Do you seriously believe all those billions have no right to do anything to advance their interests in that regard, but must simply sit around and wait for the US voters to make their choice without any input from them? Would you put up with such a dictate, in their shoes? Do you have no interest in who leads the UK or Japan or Israel, and do you not think you have the right to try to persuade those countries’ voters of your views and interests? Do you think the US government has no right to try to influence foreigners to vote in a way that will further US interests, or that those countries have the right to ban such speech? If so, on what conservative principle, that the 1A’s ratifiers would recognize, pray tell?

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | October 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm

          Take a deep breath, Milhouse. You’re hyperventilating.

          First, no, no foreign power has ANY right to dick around with U.S. elections on the QT.

          IF they want to address the American people, they certainly CAN, and no barrier exists.

          IF they want to play games with the American body politic, such as occurred with the Soviet attempt to inflame race conflicts by planting stories to discredit Martin Luther King, that is simply an act of subversion. That is NOT “free speech”.

          Do you not get the difference? Sometimes, you really are a dope.

      MarkSmith in reply to Ragspierre. | October 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Rags: No. He is NOT. No comparison. If you say different, put up.

      Sounds like someone got locked in mom’s basement again. LOL

      guyjones in reply to Ragspierre. | October 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      No doubt you must be a blast at parties — “Hey, $#^&@!!!, how dare you praise Trump!!!. You dare hold an opinion at variance with my infallible own? $^&&!** you!!!”

      What an ornery piece of work — every statement soaked with hostility, infantile retorts and insults, and general. I can’t imagine going through life this perpetually miserable. I’m amazed the LI team hasn’t banned you from the site. The discourse would only improve with you absent from it.

      It’s reasonable to fear that you may be the next Stephen Paddock. For your own sake, seek out a therapist before it’s too late.

        Ragspierre in reply to guyjones. | October 6, 2017 at 9:02 pm

        No doubt you must be a blast at parties — “Hey, $#^&@!!!, how dare you praise Trump!!!. You dare hold an opinion at variance with my infallible own? $^&&!** you!!!”

        You said, without a hint of self-awareness or self parody.

        And, like the good Stalinist THOUGHTpoliceman you are, you resort to slimming me as crazy.

      Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      No comparison?! Did the dawn raid on Manafort not ring any bells? Or the fact that here too the investigation seems to focus on allegations that even if true would be perfectly legal? How about the seemingly inexplicably large legal staff, which Prof Jacobson (as well as Andrew McCarthy) has remarked on? The similarities, even if they’re superficial, seem obvious to me. Whether the same deep corruption is present is, of course, yet to be discovered.

4th armored div | October 5, 2017 at 6:38 pm

if these guys kept working on trying to hurt walker after they were ordered to stop, can there be a demand for restitution for monies, including salaries, paid ?

The corpse will continue to stink until the people who concocted this travesty are punished.

So, when does Mr. Kevin Kennedy get a complementary extended vacation in a penal correctional institution?

Or perhaps a significant loss of a financial nature, like leaving him with a barrel to wear and nothing else?

When I was listening to Kenedy talk about his actions, it made a chill go up my spine. He was absolutely determined (or said so, at least) that he was on the side of angels, could do no wrong in the pursuit of Evil Republicans, and was willing to break any law in the process. Listen to the whole hour.

These are the people who hate us and want to see us put in jail for the crime of speaking out in opposition to them. The law is what they say it is. They are angels, we are devils, opposition to them is the worst sin, and deserves the strongest punishment. They can do no wrong, they have no regrets for their actions, and everything they do is justified in their heads.

These people need to be disbarred.

    redc1c4 in reply to puhiawa. | October 6, 2017 at 12:35 am

    then tarred, feathered, left in the stocks for a day, with lots of rotting produce handy, then run out of town on a rail.

They will do this again and again because there are no consequences when they get caught. We keep making the mistake of assuming these people or like us and share our faith in the rule of law.

They do not. They are so corrupt that they no longer recognize corruption.

Thank you for keeping this story alive. Wisconsin media outlets all but ignore it these days. M.D. Kittle has done, and continues to do Pulitzer-quality work on this long story.

Kevin Kennedy should be disbarred. Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm should likewise be disbarred, at the very least.

Althouse too. We are on the outs, but credit where it’s due – she’s done excellent reporting on this and it’s her backyard.

The Marxists never, ever, no way, no how, give up their pursuit until the target has been utterly decimated, especially a prominent one such as Walker, who took on the entrenched Democrat-dominated teachers’ and other public unions and beat them to a pulp.

He not only took away the government’s role as collector of union dues, but made employees pay a part of their generous benefits like people in the real world, and allowed the previously forced membership to voluntarily withdraw from the union. Membership plunged as a result.

The most egregious union tactic he stopped was the forced purchase of only union sponsored health insurance. Once the districts and municipalities were able to take bids, they managed to reduce their costs by upwards of $100 million a year that the unions had been extorting from government for decades.

The left will be after Walker for the rest of his life to erase this monumental defeat he laid on them. With all the states that Republicans control now, I’m disappointed more of them haven’t followed his lead.

So right that the corpse still stinks. But the criminals did their work well. There are a lot of people here in my home state who are now afraid to speak up or out. The chilling effect is always present in the back of the mind of anyone that doesn’t agree with those on the left.

The left in Wisconsin, as it may be elsewhere, is a criminal organization.

sorry, using Bing is not quoting the statute.

    Ragspierre in reply to sdharms. | October 6, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    sorry, I don’t spoon-feed the ignorant.

    Never have. Never will. See above for explication on the law and statute, you lazy dope.

regulus arcturus | October 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

The WI Democrat Party is one of the most corrupt entities in the country.

They control Milwaukee County government, and the Peoples’ Republic of Madison, and believe they can get away with anything, which they usually can, as illustrated by their “collusion” with arrogant, rabid teachers union operatives to shut down the Capitol, and countless other actions.