Nov 16, 2013

David Koch, John Doe, Scott Walker Have GOP Panicked

I don't care if you have cause to investigate that a crime has been committed; do not investigate ... period.

This is the position of the various Wisconsin GOP propaganda outlets and the Wall Street Journal, who harbor an aversion to the rule of law when applied to Republicans.

Elizabeth Hartfield at ABC News offers Scott Walker a gushing piece for Walker's possible run for the GOP nomination, asserting, "In the general election, Walker’s presence on the ballot would very likely make Wisconsin, which hasn’t gone red in a presidential election since 1984, a real possibility for Republicans. Not to mention the hope that his proximity to another Midwestern state, Ohio, would boost the GOP’s chance in that most important of places."


Not sure what Hartfield is thinking, though she does point out Walker has one prerequisite for modern GOP presidential nominees: Walker "appeals to big GOP donors like the Koch brothers," and the unmentioned corollary, Walker does what he told.

Harfield notes that Walker will be a guest this coming Sunday on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," on Sunday morning.

Hey, maybe that probing George Stephanopoulos will amaze viewers with his penetrating questions and fearless epistemological search for the truth in the American political system.

John Doe II

It's likely that Hartfield does not realize how nervous Wisconsin Republicans are about the new John Doe probe.

John Doe probes in Wisconsin are launched to determine if and by whom crimes are committed when obstruction, conflicts of interest and other practical difficulties make a regular criminal investigation impossible.

For example, in the 2010-2013 John Doe probe into Walker's gang, "Milwaukee County prosecutors opened the secret John Doe criminal investigation more than two years ago after being stonewalled by Gov. Scott Walker's office when he was county executive, according to a newly released record."(Bice. MJS)

Six criminal convictions resulted from that John Doe probe.

Afterwards, Walker never held one listening session, explaining to the Wisconsin people why his personally appointed aides, with no veterans' advocacy experience and no non-profit experience, were appointed to Operation Freedom, from which Walker's appointees proceeded to embezzle $10,000s intended for veterans and their families

Now, rightwingers are fuming that another John Doe probe has been launched: "Francis Schmitz — who spent nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor and was once a finalist for U.S. attorney in Milwaukee — is leading the widespread John Doe probe, according to sources. Overseeing the case is Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka," first reported by Dan Bice (with David Umhoefer and Jason Stein) of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in October 2013.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal's headline screamed: "Wisconsin Political Speech Raid - Subpoenas hit allies of Scott Walker as his re-election campaign looms." Reads the Wall Street Journal:

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. The groups include the League of American Voters, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin. 

Bice's report says the John Doe probe is looking into whether campaign violations occurred during the 2011 recall elections among other areas, so it seems to make sense to look into the campaign contributors, while preserving the campaign contributors' privacy, and guaranteeing immunity in the investigation for those subpoenaed if they agree to testify, by statute.

"A court, on the motion of a district attorney, may compel a person to testify or produce evidence under s. 972.08 (1). The person is immune from prosecution as provided in s. 972.08 (1), subject to the restrictions under s. 972.085, reads the Wisconsin John Doe statute.

So, Republicans should stow their fake persecution outrage.

Maybe David Koch's revelation in an interview with a Palm Beach Press reporter in 2012 that Koch "took credit for Republicans' keeping control of the legislature in the Wisconsin state senate recall elections held in August 2011" is representative of campaign finance violations in the Wisconsin recall elections that saw $10s of millions funneled into Wisconsin.

Koch sprayed money all over the nation the last several years.


Americans for Prosperity to which the Koch brothers have contributed is a 501(c)(4) organization. "Generally, political educational organizations [(501(c)(4)s] must conduct their activities in a non-partisan manner," reads an IRS guide. Americans for Prosperity, by the way, spent heavily for Republicans in Wisconsin the last three years.

As Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out in May 2013, 501(c)(4)s are by federal law, supposed to be operated "exclusively for the promotion of social welfare," as O'Donnell cites federal law on non-profit, tax exempt organizations. 


Readers here have pointed out that the MacIver Institute (which teamed up with Americans for Prosperity) to produce the politcal It's Working, Wisconsin - Did it Right spot) is a 501(c)(3). 

This is could be a problem for the GOP front group.

And the MacIver Institute has several close ties to the Koch brothers. 

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office," reads an IRS guide.

Wisconsin statute 968.26 on John Doe proceedings is the statutory authority for conducting John Doe probes in Wisconsin.

By statute 968.26 (2) (b):
The judge shall convene a proceeding as described under sub. (3) if he or she determines that a proceeding is necessary to determine if a crime has been committed. When determining if a proceeding is necessary, the judge may consider the law enforcement investigative reports, the records and case files of the district attorney, and any other written records that the judge finds relevant.
If Republicans really have a problem with this John Doe probe, and they do, why doesn't the Wisconsin GOP legislature and Scott Walker just change the John Doe statute?

As noted at this site:

The Wisconsin Benchbook reads in part RE John Doe Proceedings:

A: "Proceeding to determine whether crime committed and by whom."

D. "Must conduct self as neutral detached magistrate in determining probable cause [47.47.]

John Doe probes examine, investigate and determine if and by whom a crime has been committed, per Wisconsin statute.

John Doe probes are not mini-trials; full evidential trials in which a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are reached. [Consider the cases Wisconsin v. Hooper, 101 Wis.2d 517, 544, 305 N.W.2d 110 (1981)) and Wisconsin v. Dunn, 121 Wis.2d at 396-97, 359 N.W.2d 151 (1984).]

The probe's purpose is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence and facts establishing probable cause that charges against a defendant should go forward and a probability of guilt exists at trial, such that the prosecution is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of a defendant.

This is what has Republicans so spooked.

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