February 11, 2014

"You have a prosecutor — whether intentionally or unintentionally — reveal information that is covered by the gag order. There's nothing you can say about this as a target to put things in context."

Says David Rivkin, a lawyer for Eric O'Keefe, of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, whom prosecutors seem to have revealed as one of the targets of the John Doe investigation (which circles around Governor Scott Walker).
... Rivkin said he couldn't be sure if prosecutors intentionally leaked the names with their filing. But Rivkin called the disclosure "unfortunate."

"This underscores what a chilling effect a comprehensive gag order causes," said Rivkin, a partner with the Baker Hostetler law firm in Washington, D.C....

Others involved in the case said they were inclined to believe the initials were inadvertently included in the filings. "It looks really sloppy to me," said one source familiar with the investigation. "But maybe there's some rhyme or reason that isn't readily apparent."
Maybe there's some rhyme or reason... That's the attitude — an incredibly lame attitude — you take when you want to presume that government is behaving properly. Ironically, this sector of government — the John Doe investigation — is all about supervising the propriety of another part of government — some things relating to Scott Walker.

We're talking about the burdens on free speech, so the presumptions should favor the citizen. The apparent motive to chill conservative political speech in Wisconsin is itself chilling — whether that's the real motive or not.

63 comments:

cubanbob said...

The court could make an example of the failure to obey the court's order by jailing the prosecutors for criminal contempt.

RecChief said...

I don't understand the concept of John Doe investigations. From what I have read, the media knew who was being investigated (conservative groups supporting Walker) but those being investigated were bound to silence on the matter?

So the accused, tried in the court of public opinion, do not have the ability to rebut anything a paper or other media outlet could say about them? How about their neighbors' gossip? --> "Say Bruce, why was the sherrif's department carrying bags marked evidence, file cabinets, and computers out of your house? Are you a child molester?" Bruce is forced to reply, "I can't comment."

Do I have the substance of this "John Doe" thing correctly or will one of the esteemed legal minds out there correct me?

eric said...

It seems that sometime before the election of President Obama, the Democrat Party decided that it could no longer legitimately win elections. Either because their ideology sucks (doubtful that they realized that), because America is too stupid to get the truth (more likely) or because they convinced themselves that Republicans cheat in elections and the only way to beat a cheater is to cheat better (This is what I find most likely).

This ended up with groups like ACORN doing what they could do for the cause and went all the way to the IRS targeting conservatives during the 2012 (And before) election.

This is going to get much worse before it gets better. Much, much worse. Why? Because it's currently being excused and dismissed, rather than vigorously prosecuted. Which has the effect of emboldening those who have yet to be caught.

garage mahal said...

The apparent motive to chill conservative political speech in Wisconsin is itself chilling — whether that's the real motive or not.

Interesting. Republican DA's and a Republican special prosecutor are trying to chill conservative free speech? The reason a special prosecutor was appointed and five DA's from five counties was because a Republican Attorney General refused to handle the case.

The complaint is the most bizarre document I've ever read Here. It reads like it was written by Fox & Friends.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

garage mahal said...

The complaint is the most bizarre document I've ever read Here. It reads like it was written by Fox & Friends.

It is quite bizarre to see a legal complaint written in a way that is fair and balanced.

SteveR said...

Garage loves all this and its easier than finding votes in car trunks. I suspect next we'll find out Walker had sex in college. I'm wondering if all these Republican DAs and special prosecutors have any Democrats working under them.

jacksonjay said...

Well obviously we have a prosecutor who can't read. Presumably he could read when he was accepted at a law school.

n.n said...

Democrats are desperate to manufacture a diversion.

alan markus said...

I suspect next we'll find out Walker had sex in college

I've been waiting for Garage to come along and say Walker claims to have voted for Reagan (when he was 13 years old).

Mark said...

While they are at it, they should look into who keeps leaking these secret documents to the Wall Street Journal.

That is, if we are really worried about who the target is leaking. Otherwise, this is all phony baloney as my father would say.

Beta Rube said...

“Obviously, a lot of what happened here was politically motivated and not — the conduct described is nothing that we as Wisconsinites should be proud of, bottom line,” the judge said in a court filing. “Mr. Landgraf was behaving badly, probably for political reasons.”

Judge Timothy Doyle, regarding Assistant DA Bruce Landgraf jailing a Rice lake Harley dealer for complying with Wisconsin law as regards retaining and releasing customer credit card info.

Landgraf's respone? "What differnece does it make? We ultimately got the information and details we need."

If it's OK for Barack to punish and silence his political opponents,I guess it's OK here too.

garage mahal said...

While they are at it, they should look into who keeps leaking these secret documents to the Wall Street Journal.

The people under investigation are leaking to the WSJ.

Michael K said...

Maximilien Robespierre is stirring in his grave. His acolytes are active.

Cliff said...

I fail to see how this is an attempt to chill conservative speech. Walker is hopefully innocent, but using taxpayer resources to fund political speech is not conservative. Or at least it wasn't until conservatives started making this strange assertion.

gerry said...

I've been waiting for Garage to come along and say Walker claims to have voted for Reagan (when he was 13 years old).

Four times. On the same day. Twice.

PB Reader said...

Of course this is an attempt to chill conservative speech. One cannot credibly claim otherwise, given modern times and the behavior of the "liberal/progressive" partisans. That's the whole point of the Alinsky playbook.

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

garage mahal said...

It's a vast left/right wing conspiracy. Lord knows conservatives aren't even capable of doing anything wrong. Evar.

Beta Rube said...

Apparently the left can't do anything wrong in Wisconsin politics. I know this is true because they aren't targeted by an utterly above board John Doe investigation. Just those ugly Walker folk.

kimsch said...

GM said: The reason a special prosecutor was appointed and five DA's from five counties was because a Republican Attorney General refused to handle the case.

Maybe because there's no there there? Nothing to prosecute?

Cliff said...

There was wrongdoing. Spending taxpayer dollars and resources to campaign politically. Hopefully Walker was not connected and so far no evidence which is good. But - the right should not defend the spending of taxpayer dollars and staff time to run political campaigns.

Beta Rube said...

Staff time to run political was the first witch hunt. We're now onto act II, shutting down conservative groups for spending their own money.

BTW, how many assistants in the offices of State Senators, local Alderman, you name it, spent work time organizing for the pols campaign? This strikes me as going 60 in a 55. The cops can write as many tickets as they are inclined to.

Michael K said...

"the right should not defend the spending of taxpayer dollars and staff time to run political campaigns."

How about staff time to stop people from participating or spending their own money ?

The "True the Vote" witch hunt has gotten almost embarrassing for the left. As if they could be embarrassed.

garage mahal said...

Maybe because there's no there there? Nothing to prosecute?

I doubt they give a shit about coordinating illegally with a campaign. I think they want back whatever was seized in the raids.

The Godfather said...

The article says: "The current John Doe probe is looking into whether a particular campaign committee believed to be Friends of Scott Walker -- the governor's political operation -- improperly coordinated with conservative nonprofits during the recall elections." What is "improper" about coordination is not explained. This seems to be another example of where campaign finance regulations cause more harm than the "abuses" that they are supposed to prevent. I'd repeal them all.

khesanh0802 said...

There goes Garage making stuff up again.

If it looks like an effort to quash free speech and it quacks like an effort to quash free speech then it probably IS an effort to quash free speech.

SGT Ted said...

Cliff the Concern Troll is Concerned.

SGT Ted said...

Secret investigations of political groups is Totalitarian behavior.

SGT Ted said...

Gag orders on political groups based on secret investigations are also totalitarian.

Please keep defending them as it tells us what you really are.


Cliff said...

Some of walkers aides were convicted of criminal actions related to this. Public employees conducting political campaigns on taxpayer time is a crime and is not consistent with small government. Prosecuting public officials for spending taxpayer dollars on political campaigns is not chilling conservative speech.

Beta Rube said...

Going after one side with everything you've got and letting the other side skate is not consistent with anything other than political targeting by government agencies.

In DC they use Justice, the EPA, and the IRS. In Wisconsin they use the John Doe.

SGT Ted said...

It is pretty clear that campaign finance law is just a vehicle to allow a leftist government to suppress oppositional speech, when it is convenient to them.

The IRS scandal is another demonstration of this corruption and power grab to violate the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution in order to squelch dissenting speech and the freedom to assemble for redress of grievance from Government, if that speech and assembly threaten the lefts grip on power.

It is meant to subvert the 1st Amendment and it is working out as planned.

Cliff here is perfectly OK with government prosecutors harassing other private citizens and keeping them from speaking out about the harassment via a "gag order" for supporting their candidate, as long as there's a "law" on the books that justifies it.

garage mahal said...

It is meant to subvert the 1st Amendment and it is working out as planned.

LOL. Wisconsin is drowning in right wing cash. Unless they find some real juicy stuff they will get a little slap on the wrist and be back spending millions buying legislators like they have been.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Can someone explain the reason for the gag order?

I would assume it is so that you can gather evidence without the target of the investigation knowing, in order to prevent them from destroying evidence, tampering with witnesses, or coordinating stories amongst co-conspirators.

That justification is gone once the existence of the investigation has leaked. And you really can't expect an investigation like this to remain secret for long.

If a gag order is needed, it should expire after a short amount of time, say within two weeks of when the investigators question their first witness or receives the results of a subpoena for documents, etc. It expires immediately if the investigators leak the name of the target.

Cliff said...

sgc ted, that is not what I said nor is it what is happening. They are investigating the use of taxpayer time and money for political campaigning. How can anyone defend the use of state taxpayer time and money for political campaigning? It's already landed multiple Walker aides with criminal convinctions. I hope Walker is clean but if not he deserves to be punished for abuse of government money. All conservatives should agree with this. All republicans maybe not- but conservatism has left the republican party unfortunately and as evidenced by comments here any abuses are okay as long as it was a republican that did it. How sad.

Drago said...

Garage: "..drowning in right wing cash..."

Numbers and links please.

Make sure you account for all the dollars flowing to your side as well.

Lol

This should be good.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

Cliff said...

They are investigating the use of taxpayer time and money for political campaigning. How can anyone defend the use of state taxpayer time and money for political campaigning?

None of the conservatives here are defending it, or even talking about it, because it is not related to the subject of this post.

You need to keep your John Doe investigations straight.



Beta Rube said...

I think during the recall the Walker side spent 18 million and the Barrett forces 15 million.

One side was "awash" while the other was just mostly, but not quite "awash".

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Some of walkers aides were convicted of criminal actions related to this.

It makes one wonder what could have been discovered if Doyle's political opponents had 4 years and a blank check to investigate at will. The mind reels.

BTW, a public employee has already been caught using her government email account to promote a Burke fund raising event. I'm guessing this is pretty much the tip of the iceberg and I'm sure we can count on Cliff to be out there pushing for a Burke related John Doe. Right Cliff?

LarsPorsena said...

You bring me the man, I'll find you the crime.
Lavrentiy Beria

garage mahal said...

"Walker and Republican groups and committees outspent all of the Democratic candidates, groups and committees $58.7 million to $21.9 million in the governor’s race where Walker defeated his Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and independent candidate for governor Hariprasad Trivedi who spent $305,204 (Table 1)."

link

DKWalser said...

Cliff - The investigations into use of Walker's staff for campaign purposes were completed long ago. This new investigation is not into anyone employed with the state or local governments. Instead, its an investigation into the activities of political action committees and not-for-profits that allegedly supported Walker during the recall election. At issue is whether there was any illegal coordination between Walker's campaign and these groups.

You may believe that investigating the potential that such coordination may have existed is a legitimate use of police power. That's fine. The position is a reasonable one. However, many conservatives object for one of several reasonable concerns:

* The first amendment protects free speech and these types of investigations chill free speech. Campaigning for or against someone running for political office should be the kind of speech that receives the MOST protection from the first amendment. Campaign finance laws -- in this case, laws that purport to make illegal strategizing about how to make political speech more effective -- are attempts to regulate political speech. Most conservatives oppose campaign finance laws in general for this reason.

* These laws have a history of being used (primarily) by Democrats against Republicans. So, many conservatives distrust investigations into activities that seem to be ignored when the individual has a (D) after his or her name. Recall that it was over the weekend that NBC reported that Hillary, while Secretary of State, used State Department dinners to court campaign donors. When she (and groups who support her) becomes the target of a John Doe investigation, maybe conservatives will start to believe police power is being used impartially in these investigations. Otherwise, we'll continue to have our doubts.

* These laws generally do not apply to Democrats' natural allies, unions. So, even if conservatives thought regulating political speech was appropriate, and even if they were convinced that the laws were being enforced impartially, most conservatives would still find these laws to be unfairly written. They are designed to restrict the primary way one party raises support for its candidates without impeding the primary way the other party does its work.

Mark said...

This is more than a stray email from a government account, you can quit shouting squirrel now.

This is quite a vigorous defense, though I suppose Mr O'Keefe liked living off his cut of the $9.1 million his organization spent during 2011/2012.

I find it very interesting that Kelly Rindfleish is the other named target. Beyond being wrapped up tight in the caucus scandal a decade ago she was found guilty in John Doe 1.

All her emails come out next week from the first John Doe. I doubt there is a smoking gun if they stopped fighting the disclosure, but this sort of dirt can't be good for Walker's presidential aspirations.

Beta Rube said...

From the article linked by Garage:

Outside special interest groups spent $75.8 million in the 15 recall races, including $39.8 million by groups that backed Republicans and $35.9 million by organizations that supported Democrats (Table 2).

DKWalser said...

"Walker and Republican groups and committees outspent all of the Democratic candidates, groups and committees $58.7 million to $21.9 million in the governor’s race where Walker defeated his Democratic challenger Tom Barrett and independent candidate for governor Hariprasad Trivedi who spent $305,204 (Table 1)."

Garage - Those numbers are only for the campaign. They don't include the millions raised and spent by the anti-Walker forces to force a recall election in the first place. When the effort to recall Walker first got underway, a lot of his opponents were filled with enthusiasm that he would lose a recall. It wasn't until the effort to call the election was almost complete that the conventional wisdom switched from Walker losing to Walker winning. With the prospects of Walker winning growing, the out-of-state financing for his opposition dried up.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

This is more than a stray email from a government account, you can quit shouting squirrel now.

Cliff was all worked up about the original "crimes" uncovered by the John Doe (classic). In my opinion, there is little difference between a "stray email" and a pro-Walker comment posted on a website. If one is a prosecutable offense, the other should be as well.

The Godfather said...

I don't defend the use of government funds to support a partisan cause; back in the bad old days of the spoils system that's how things worked, but we've grown beyond that. If someone on a government payroll spent government-paid time, or used government-provided facilities, to further a partisan effort, I condemn that.

Just as, for example, I condemn the use of IRS powers and resources to hinder organizations that oppose the current administration. Just as I oppose IRS audits of people who publicly support Republicans or conservatives. Just as I oppose giving Obamacare waivers to entities that support the Democrats. Just as I oppose using State Department functions to foster support for an anticipated political campaign.

Come on, let's get real. Compared to what the Democrats are KNOWN to have done to use their governmental resources to foster their political power, the accusation that some Republican staffer used a government email account is pretty trivial. Sure, give him/her an appropriate fine, but this John Doe thing goes WAY too far. Repeal these laws.

DKWalser said...

Just as, for example, I condemn the use of IRS powers and resources to hinder organizations that oppose the current administration. Just as I oppose IRS audits of people who publicly support Republicans or conservatives. Just as I oppose giving Obamacare waivers to entities that support the Democrats. Just as I oppose using State Department functions to foster support for an anticipated political campaign.

You forgot to mention Al Gore raising campaign funds out of his government office. You remember the howls of Democrats over this violation of federal law, don't you? Neither do I. When Cliff, Garage, et al, start taking such proven violations of law seriously, I'll consider listening to their calls for probes into the alleged abuses of Republicans.

Tim said...

did they find the secret routers yet?

Cliff said...

People misusing government offices and violating election law should be investigated and prosecuted, regardless of party affiliation.

garage mahal said...

did they find the secret routers yet?

Yes, people are in jail as a result.

Michael K said...

"How can anyone defend the use of state taxpayer time and money for political campaigning?"

So, you agree that the IRS behavior is criminal ? And that Lois Lerner knew what she was doing when she took the 5th ?

Mark said...

In these emails, Rindfleish tells someone about her job as Deputy Chief of Staff to the County Executive 'half of what I do is policy for the campaign'.

Half her work, paid by taxpayers, is on the campaign. We are talking about over 1,000 campaign related emails.

You can shout squirrel, but that fails to remove the elephant in the room. An honest assessment and read of her original John Doe charges shows a different picture than the apologists paint. Very different.

Chuck said...

Can a Wisconsin lawyer explain to this Michigan lawyer what this John Doe investigatory law is all about? We have absolutely nothing like it. I can think of an exceedingly few "One man grand jury" investigations from long ago. They were so rare, I can't think of the specifics a single one of those cases. Normal grand jury secrecy under the Federal Rules is standard, but the Wisconsin law -- as far as I understand it -- is unlike anything I have ever known of.

Is the law some sort of LaFollette -progressive era relic?

SGT Ted said...

BTW, a public employee has already been caught using her government email account to promote a Burke fund raising event. I'm guessing this is pretty much the tip of the iceberg and I'm sure we can count on Cliff to be out there pushing for a Burke related John Doe. Right Cliff?

Like I said, Cliff the Conservative Concern Troll is Concerned. And parroting Democrat Party talking points about a non-related issue shows the level of his Conservatism and Concern.

Mark said...

SGT Ted, compare your claims to Kelly Rindfleish's April 2010 work days, starting page 20 on her criminal complaint:

http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/_120126_Rindfleisch_Complaint.pdf

Some of those days you wonder what she did that was government work.

This ain't a couple accidental emails. At very least, Walker is a pretty piss poor manager if his deputy is spending this amount of time on non-work in the workplace.

SGT Ted said...

When Cliff, Garage, et al, start taking such proven violations of law seriously, I'll consider listening to their calls for probes into the alleged abuses of Republicans.

They won't because they are full of shit and are merely partisan Democrat Party suck-asses, parading around in Government Accountability drag, complete with lipstick.

It's phony baloney bullshit. Althouse needs a "Government Accountability Bullshit" tag for people like garage and Cliff the Concern Troll.

And Cliff the Concern Troll needs to go back to DU, or whatever lefty troll academy that sent him over here. He is a fail troll.

We have higher standards for our trolls here at Althouse and they need to up their game.

SGT Ted said...

Mark, the entire Federal apparatus is being used to further the Democrat Parties campaign platform by violating the Constitutional Rights of non-Democrats under the cover of "campaign finance" laws. These are defacto violations of the 1st Amendment.

The White House has been in an endless political campaign for the past 5 years, using the entire Federal Government so support it and execute it, to include using Federal agencies to harass and stifle dissent.

Go sell your "accountability" bullshit to someone whose buying. I'm all stocked up on Democrat Party bullshit.

SGT Ted said...

Mark needs to be included under the "Government Accountability Bullshit" tag.

Drago said...

Mark: "At very least, Walker is a pretty piss poor manager if his deputy is spending this amount of time on non-work in the workplace."

Wow.

Says the lefty on the heels of the biggest government technical failure of all time caused by unprecedented mismanagement/non-management.

obama, by Mark's definition, is the worst "manager" in the history of oval office occupants.

Cliff said...

Sgt ted- I am actually a fan of much of Walker's policies, as opposed to many republicans masquerading as fiscal conservatives, he has a sound record. I'm a fiscal conservative foremost, not a republican, and I think illegal activity should be punished whether it be Al Gore, the burke campaign, or Walker. I also believe that fiscal conservatism should be supported whether it is a democrat or a republican undertaking the cause of small government and responsible fiscal policy. What I take exception to is the republicans (conservatives in name only) who defend wrongdoing and big government when it is a republican. Simply put, breaking the law is bad in my book, period.

Oh, and by the way, the name calling defeats any legitimacy of both your intellect and your argument.

Michael K said...

"Oh, and by the way, the name calling defeats any legitimacy of both your intellect and your argument."

Yes, and so does lying.

"I fail to see how this is an attempt to chill conservative speech. Walker is hopefully innocent, but using taxpayer resources to fund political speech is not conservative. Or at least it wasn't until conservatives started making this strange assertion."

No surprise. So you are in favor of prosecuting the IRS folks who used government positions to chill political speech ?

Come on, you can answer. The DNC is asleep.

Cliff said...

Michael, how am I lying?

And to answer your question, yes I am in favor of investigating the IRS and prosecuting any illegal behavior that is uncovered. I don't know where you inferred I would be against that.