15

Witch Hunt in Wisconsin

“When it comes to
this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no
pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism
can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
Abraham Lincoln
Democrats were so fearful of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin that John Chisholm, the Democrat District Attorney of Milwaukee Country, launched a secret “John Doe” investigation seeking to uncover links between conservative groups and the Walker administration.  This bitterly partisan Democrat unleashed a wave of terror of “no knock” raids on the homes of conservatives in Wisconsin, using police tactics that might have  been appropriate if they were storming fortifications held by terrorists.  The victims were instructed to tell no one about the raids, especially their attorneys.  These Gestapo tactics are detailed in a magnificent story by David French at National Review:
But with another election looming — this time Walker’s campaign for reelection — Chisholm wasn’t finished. He launched yet another John Doe investigation, “supervised” by Judge Barbara Kluka. Kluka proved to be capable of superhuman efficiency — approving “every petition, subpoena, and search warrant in the case” in a total of one day’s work.
If the first series of John Doe investigations was “everything Walker,” the second series was “everything conservative,” as Chisholm had launched an investigation of not only Walker (again) but the Wisconsin Club for Growth and dozens of other conservative organizations, this time fishing for evidence of allegedly illegal “coordination” between conservative groups and the Walker campaign.
In the second John Doe, Chisholm had no real evidence of wrongdoing. Yes, conservative groups were active in issue advocacy, but issue advocacy was protected by the First Amendment and did not violate relevant campaign laws. Nonetheless, Chisholm persuaded prosecutors in four other counties to launch their own John Does, with Judge Kluka overseeing all of them.
Empowered by a rubber-stamp judge, partisan investigators ran amok. They subpoenaed and obtained (without the conservative targets’ knowledge) massive amounts of electronic data, including virtually all the targets’ personal e-mails and other electronic messages from outside e-mail vendors and communications companies.
The investigations exploded into the open with a coordinated series of raids on October 3, 2013. These were home invasions, including those described above. Chisholm’s office refused to comment on the raid tactics (or any other aspect of the John Doe investigations), but witness accounts regarding the two John Doe investigations are remarkably similar: early-morning intrusions, police rushing through the house, and stern commands to remain silent and tell no one about what had occurred.
At the same time, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative organizations received broad subpoenas requiring them to turn over virtually all business records, including “donor information, correspondence with their associates, and all financial information.” The subpoenas also contained dire warnings about disclosure of their existence, threatening contempt of court if the targets spoke publicly.
For select conservative families across five counties, this was the terrifying moment — the moment they felt at the mercy of a truly malevolent state.
Speaking both on and off the record, targets reflected on how many layers of Wisconsin government failed their fundamental constitutional duties — the prosecutors who launched the rogue investigations, the judge who gave the abuse judicial sanction, investigators who chose to taunt and intimidate during the raids, and those police who ultimately approved and executed aggressive search tactics on law-abiding, peaceful citizens.
For some of the families, the trauma of the raids, combined with the stress and anxiety of lengthy criminal investigations, has led to serious emotional repercussions. “Devastating” is how Anne describes the impact on her family. “Life-changing,” she says. “All in terrible ways.”
O’Keefe, who has been in contact with multiple targeted families, says, “Every family I know of that endured a home raid has been shaken to its core, and the fate of marriages and families still hangs in the balance in some cases.”
Anne also describes a new fear of the police: “I used to support the police, to believe they were here to protect us. Now, when I see an officer, I’ll cross the street. I’m afraid of them. I know what they’re capable of.”
Cindy says, “I lock my doors and I close my shades. I don’t answer the door unless I am expecting someone. My heart races when I see a police car sitting in front of my house or following me in the car. The raid was so public. I’ve been harassed. My house has been vandalized. [She did not identify suspects.] I no longer feel safe, and I don’t think I ever will.”
Rachel talks about the effect on her children. “I tried to create a home where the kids always feel safe. Now they know they’re not. They know men with guns can come in their house, and there’s nothing we can do.” Every knock on the door brings anxiety. Every call to the house is screened. In the back of her mind is a single, unsettling thought: These people will never stop.
Victims of trauma — and every person I spoke with described the armed raids as traumatic — often need to talk, to share their experiences and seek solace in the company of a loving family and supportive friends.
The investigators denied them that privilege, and it compounded their pain and fear. The investigation not only damaged families, it also shut down their free speech. In many cases, the investigations halted conservative groups in their tracks. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth described the effect in court filings:
O’Keefe’s associates began cancelling meetings with him and declining to take his calls, reasonably fearful that merely associating with him could make them targets of the investigation. O’Keefe was forced to abandon fundraising for the Club because he could no longer guarantee to donors that their identities would remain confidential, could not (due to the Secrecy Order) explain to potential donors the nature of the investigation, could not assuage donors’ fears that they might become targets themselves, and could not assure donors that their money would go to fund advocacy rather than legal expenses. The Club was also paralyzed. Its officials could not associate with its key supporters, and its funds were depleted. It could not engage in issue advocacy for fear of criminal sanction.
These raids and subpoenas were often based not on traditional notions of probable cause but on mere suspicion, untethered to the law or evidence, and potentially violating the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The very existence of First Amendment–protected expression was deemed to be evidence of illegality. The prosecution simply assumed that the conservatives were incapable of operating within the bounds of the law.
Even worse, many of the investigators’ legal theories, even if proven by the evidence, would not have supported criminal prosecutions. In other words, they were investigating “crimes” that weren’t crimes at all. If the prosecutors had applied the same legal standards to the Democrats in their own offices, they would have been forced to turn the raids on themselves. If the prosecutors and investigators had been raided, how many of their computers and smartphones would have contained incriminating information indicating use of government resources for partisan purposes?

Go here to read the rest.  Using the power of the State to intimidate and silence political opponents is something one would expect in Russia, but not in America.  Many Democrats believe that conservatives are simply evil and will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to defeat them. 
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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

15 Comments

  1. This fits. Quote from the movie, The Untouchables” spoken by Sean Connery’s (old Irish cop) character, “What are you prepeared to do about it?”
    .

    Alas, Conservative taxpayers do not riot or torch their neighborhoods . . .

  2. “What are you prepared to do?” Quoted from the movie, “The Untouchables.”
    .
    Conserrvative whites don’t riot or burn down their neighborhoods.
    .
    And, the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) will omit this. They believe that the “extremists” (anyone that does not advance the wevowution is an extwemist) should be liquidated, anyhow.

  3. I hope with every fiber of my being these abusers of the community trust are sued to the bone, fired, and blacklisted from ever holding a government job, even if it’s just attending a toll booth. This is barely shy of a civil war declaration and now I hope Scott Walker runs because I want this incident hung around the neck of every democrat challenger until the entire party understands and the message is spread that this behavior is NOT tolerable in a free society.

    Too long has the message been spreading that abuse is “ok” if it’s by the right people. It’s time to counter that message and spread the societal news that this ^$#@ is what we fought England over and we won’t tolerate it again.

  4. Art Deco wrote, “The common thread in many of the pathologies of our age is the ruin of the legal profession.”

    What I find odd is this: every petition for a warrant must commence with a charge or charges against one or more named individuals and then crave that “In order, therefore, that the said Accused may be dealt with according to Law, MAY it please your Lordship to grant Warrant to Officers of Law to search for and apprehend &c”
    Then follow the craves “to grant Warrant to search the person, repositories, and domicile of the said Accused, and the house or premises in which he may be found, and to secure, for the purpose of precognition and evidence, ail writs, évidents, and articles found therein tending to establish guilt or participation in the crimes foresaid, and for that purpose to make patent all shut and lockfast places; and also to grant Warrant to cite Witnesses for precognition and to make production for the purposes foresaid of such writs, évidents, and articles pertinent to the case as are in their possession…”

    Without a definite charge against a named person, how can the warrant define the scope of the search or precognition, either as to the places to be searched or the articles to be secured or produced? If witnesses are cited to produce “pertinent” evidents, how, in the absence of such a charge are they to know what is pertinent?

  5. We have a right to defend ourselves against tyranny like this. We fought a Revolutionary War because of acts like this. Of course I do NOT advocate the initiation of violence, but sadly we may see 1st Maccabees Chapter 2 repeat itself before our very eyes.
    .
    If a man – police or otherwise – comes into my home, threatening my beautiful wife, I have a duty and an obligation to defend her.

  6. So, why do ‘John Doe’ laws that allow investigations with subpoenas without probable cause even exist? How many states allow them? I can understand a ‘John Doe’ investigation without subpoenas for situations where probable cause of a crime has not been determined yet, such as conspiracy cases, but not this.

    Symptoms of a sick judicial culture:
    1) ‘John Doe’ investigations of non-felonies
    2) ‘John Doe’ investigations with subpoenas
    3) Too many misdemeanors have been reclassified as felonies
    4) ‘Accelerated rehabilitation’ has been created to effectively turn felonies back into misdemeanors at the whim of any judge
    5) The piling of dozens of charges on a defendant
    6) The excessive use of plea bargaining
    7) No-knock warrants (gee, how did we survive before the 60’s?)
    8) The craven refusal of legislatures to repeal bad laws and impeach low level functionaries who violate the law
    9) The court that improperly ruled that impeached and convicted Federal judge Alcee Hasting was eligible to hold Federal office again – the judge who made that ruling should also have been impeached and removed
    10) Most campaign finance laws
    One could go on and on…

  7. What I find odd is this

    You’ll have to pose that question to Mr. McClarey.

    The politics of this is simple enough to grasp. There is a particular political economy at work. You have occupational subcultures, generally given formal professional status even when that’s nonsensical, public employees (and these occupations are commonly public employees), the unions which organize public employees, and the Democratic Party. The vigor of the Democratic Party has in great measure due to the investment of its partisans in the activities of the state, which is crucially important in low-turnout low-information-content elections. The public employee unions mobilize their constituency for political activity, mostly by diverting dues money but also by organizing volunteers. Particularly in school board elections, this has been tremendously important. Walker’s administration with the co-operation of the state legislature did two things: truncated collective bargaining rights for public employees and ended mandatory dues. This threatened to cut off the blood supply to the Democratic Party and they’ve used every tool they could to stop it: recall elections, occupation of public buildings, inducing their partisans on appellate courts to issue rulings favorable, &c. The prosecutor is an elected Democrat and his wife is a teacher’s union steward. He somehow connived to get his investigations assigned to a retired judge who signed off on everything while hardly reading it. Again and again. When aspects of the mechanics of the investigation were made public, she abruptly recused herself. The succeeding judge to which the case was assigned said “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot” and quashed a mass of subpoenas and warrants, crippling the current iteration of the investigation.
    ==
    It’s all an exercise in misfeasance. However, that’s been the favored approach of the Democratic Party in legal matters for some time now.

  8. Is anybody surprised by this?

    Even the Federal Government doesn’t permit its workers to unionize and then strike.

    The Democrat Party is organized crime with the velvet fist of government power behind it. To hell with the Democrat Party. And, no this isn’t an endorsement of all things Republican.

  9. MPS. I’m fairly certain that these ‘John Doe’ investigations carry charges. These charges appear to revolve around the campaign finance laws and laws restricting the activities of tax-exempt organizations. These laws are patently unconstitutional under the founding ideals of the American Constitution. This is the ultimate cause of the problem.

    My personal feeling is that there is also a proximate cause, which is judges’ unwillingness to hold prosecutors to a high standard of probable cause in the issuance of the subpoenas. One would think that any case involving laws which are so vague and which so threaten basic liberties would be suspect by judges. Again, perhaps this could have been avoided if the grand jury system were not bypassed.

  10. My personal feeling is that there is also a proximate cause, which is judges’ unwillingness to hold prosecutors to a high standard of probable cause in the issuance of the subpoenas.

    1. Can we infer that the assignment system has been corrupted?
    2. Can we infer that Judge Kluka and the prosecutor have history and it was a conniving enterprise and not just gross negligence on Judge Kluka’s part.
    3. That aside, is there really any excuse for the prosecutor?

  11. Art:
    1) Yes, unless the overall pool of judges is so riven with corruption that the assignment process is of no consequence.
    2) Yes. A truly vigilant legislature would have perceived this and removed them (judge and prosecutor) via impeachment
    3) No excuse. My only point is that a grand jury is a further check on such lawlessness. Yes, when bad laws exist, when they are badly written, a grand jury might not be able to stand up to the ‘experts’, but it still is better than nothing.

  12. TomD wrote, “MPS. I’m fairly certain that these ‘John Doe’ investigations carry charges…”

    But a charge against, say, “a person or persons unknown” does not define or limit the scope of searches or precognitions. A warrant to search the repositories or domicile of a person unknown is a warrant to search anyone’s. For that reason, a warrant to seize the papers of “the printers and publishers” of a certain periodical (without naming them) has been described by the High Court of Justiciary here as “not merely irregular, but lawless; it not only fails to confom to, but is opposed to the principles and practice of our law.”

  13. Welcome to the life we’ll all experience when Democrats control all powers of government. Thanks Catholics for your devotion to…the party instead of what you say you believe and pray for in church. Catholics are the ONLY REASON the Democratic thug Party has any electoral power at all to keep on murdering all unborn babies. And you bishops, this is what your redefining of pro-life in your “consistent ethic of life” 22 years ago has produced in our country – thugs like the Democratic Party using their powers to terrorize innocent people in the middle of the night just because they support Republicans like Scott Walker. You all will have to answer to Jesus when he returns why it was more important to you to be a Democrat than it was to be a Catholic. How are you obeying the Greatest Commandment of loving God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul when you endorse and support the Democratic Party that is diabolically opposed to what you say you believe and pray for? Goats…that is what you will all become when Jesus returns to judge the nations.

  14. Unconstitutional use of office, for political purposes especially, is I think, a high crime. It should be investigated and prosecuted. Letting it pass paves the way for even greater offenses.

Comments are closed.