The latest John Doe Probe here in Wisconsin is focused on the (illegal) coordination between RW astroturf groups and several recalled candidates in 2011 and 2012. One of those candidates is our union busting, poor bashing, high speed rail cancelling, Medicaid refusing, and minority hating Governor, Scott Walker who claims to believe in small government except when it comes to women making their own health care decisions.
As soon as the first subpoenas for documents were issued, the RW not only sprang into action, but literally carpet-bombed state and federal courts with lawsuits demanding the investigation be halted. Their latest includes a filing directly to the State Supreme Court where 4 of the 7 justices were themselves beneficiaries of RW spending in their own elections. Don't hold your breath waiting for the wingnuts to recuse themselves; only 1 justice has done so because her sons law firm is representing one of the parties in the case and she's a moderate.
Going directly to the Supremes, where the RW holds the majorities, they can avoid pesky decisions from lower courts which might uphold the investigation.
Oh, by the way, all of the lawsuits are being undertaken anonymously so we don't know who is trying so hard to kill the John Doe.
But that wasn't enough for them either.
They've sued the prosecutors for investigating them in federal court. That's right, suing the prosecutors for looking for evidence of a crime. And on Tuesday, they got what they wanted - an order to halt the investigation and either return subpoenaed documents or destroy them.
Prosecutors in the case, a mixed group of both Republicans and Democrats, immediately filed an appeal with the 7th Circuit and on Wednesday, a panel of the Appeals Court blocked that order saying that Federal Judge Randa didn't have the authority to issue the order, but (as a RW majority court will do) gave him the magic words (i.e. referring to the investigation as "frivolous) to use in a new ruling.
Today, Randa issued his new, shiny, magic word including order to halt the John Doe, but his new order DOES NOT include returning or destroying already obtained documents (yeah, he really didn't have the authority to do that and there was no magic word solution to get around that).
But the appeals court ruled Wednesday that Randa didn't have the authority to issue that order at this stage. He could stop the investigation only if he found the appeal attempting to dismiss the case was frivolous, the panel wrote.
In response, Randa issued a seven-page decision Thursday saying the prosectors' earlier appeal met that bar — he called one argument they made the "height of frivolousness" — and reissuing his injunction.
Randa's first injunction told prosecutors to return material they had seized from conservative groups and destroy their copies of it. The appeals court found he couldn't issue such a sweeping order in the early stages of the case, and Randa's latest order does not include that provision.
It gets even more interesting.
Judge Randa isn't a stranger to controversial cases. He was the judge who presided over then US Attorney Steven Biskupics political prosecution of a Democratic Governors state travel coordinator. Biskupic, so anxious to please his RW masters that he jumped jurisdictional boundaries to file that criminal case, demanded the woman be sent immediately to prison after she was found guilty despite the customary release pending appeal. His wish was granted.
Naturally, the case became front and center of attack ads against then Governor Doyle as "proof" of corruption, but Doyle won re-election. Georgia Thompson was later released from prison under a demand from the Appeals Court that said that the evidence against her so "thin" that the case should never have been brought.
While her prosecution and trial were big, big news, her eventual exoneration barely received coverage and Biskupics smarmy role in it avoided public shaming. Biskupic, by the way, was one of those George W. Bush US Attorney appointees who refused to resign or leave office after Barack Obama became President (he later left to join the Wisconsin Republicans favorite law firm Michael Best and Frederick and, when they started to smell after the redistricting court case, left to start his own firm that now represents Walker and his campaign).
Steven Biskupic is currently Scott Walkers lawyer in the John Doe Probe and, even curiouser, his wife is Judge Randas Judicial Assistant.
Hmmmm. Imagine the pearl clutching and outrage the RW would have if a Democratic Governor had a lawyer whose wife worked for a judge that was working really hard to benefit that Governor. Or if moderate or liberal Supreme Court Justices were deciding on a case that affects people that helped them win elections. Why, the newspapers and airwaves would be filled with shouts for recusal. But, I guess that just proves IOKIYAR.
The fact that RW forces are working so furiously to kill the John Doe tells me that there's a whole lot of meat on the bone and that even more skeletons might fall out of the closet during the investigation.
Stay tuned, folks. This isn't over despite Walker wanting it to be dead and buried while he campaigns for
President re-election as Governor.
pdf. of the Appeals Court ruling is here.
An interesting dissection of a Wisconsin TM article shows exactly how favorable they are to the GOP and Walker. It's a great read.