WSJ Exposes Wisconsin's Political Witch Hunt
Americans learned in the IRS political targeting scandal that government enforcement power can be used to stifle political speech. Something similar may be unfolding in Wisconsin, where a special prosecutor is targeting conservative groups that participated in the battle over Governor Scott Walker's union reforms.In recent weeks, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders.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 & Commerce, Americans for Prosperity—Wisconsin, American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, Friends of Scott Walker and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the secret investigation began in the office of the Democrat District Attorney in Milwaukee County, "though no one will publicly claim credit for appointing Mr. Schmitz, the special prosecutor." It notes that under the state's John Doe law, John Doe law, which allows "prosecutors to issue subpoenas and conduct searches, while the gag orders leave the targets facing the resources of the state with no way to publicly defend themselves."
Mr. O'Keefe says he received his subpoena in early October. He adds that at least three of the targets had their homes raided at dawn, with law-enforcement officers turning over belongings to seize computers and files.