John Doe Ends. But Questions Remain.
It’s understandable if all of us who have been outraged by the abuse of power by Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm and his Walker Witch Hunt are breathing a big sigh of relief over today’s news that John Doe investigation is officially closed. It’s great to have official confirmation of what we suspected all along – Governor Walker and his administration did nothing illegal. But relieved, vindicated, or however we are feeling, we can’t just leave today’s news and move on with our lives. There are serious questions that must be addressed:
(1) How do we reform a John Doe process that has become an invitation for abuse of power by politically ambitious District Attorneys? The John Doe process itself is broken. It has turned into a selectively secret tool of political harassment. Individuals testifying before a John Doe are bound to silence by court order. They have their lives and reputations trashed by leaks out of the DA’s office and have no way to defend themselves or explain their role in the investigation without breaking the court order. It is a process that is hopelessly one-sided, and needs to be reformed. Interestingly, even as he ends it John Chisholm has locked in this uneven playing field by making a gag order on all John Doe documents and participants a condition of his decision to end the probe. Why? What is he hiding? What is he afraid we’ll find out if the individuals his office has harassed for over 2 years had a chance to speak out and tell their side of the story?