John Doe Two

1) It’s really not about Scott Walker no matter how badly a few Lefties in the state want it to be. As this US News article from today says, the John Doe is just a little extra for the Governor to maneuver in his quest to be President.

2) Writing about it is going to make me sound completely nuts. I’m not nuts, not yet anyway, but there is no way to unwind this without sounding nuts. I’ll be brave and try do it anyway.

Go to the sources.

Your two best sources for stories on this matter are the right-sided Watchdog.org and the lefty site PRWatch.org. These two sites are at the core of this clash of the titans. Left is Soros. Right is Grebe/Koch. Both claim to be non-partisan.

(I warned you that I will sound crazy.)

Both sides split from these billionaires into freakish multi-headed animals with dozens of arms. But at the core, those two sites are the news generators for each side. The Wall Street Journal op-ed came from Watchdog. (See the series Wisconsin’s Secret War.) Some of the prosecution leaks are coming from PRWatch. Both groups are feeding Dan Bice at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I’m beginning to think Bice realizes what he’s up against when trying to discern the truth about John Doe Two, mainly that he’s being played.

Also, I can’t for the life of me figure out if Grebe guides Koch, or if they are partners in their approach. My gut says, primarily because of the long history with the RNC, that Grebe calls the shots. I can not understand why Grebe isn’t called out in equal to Soros. I suppose he’s better at the game when it comes to diversions and he is happy to let the Koch brothers catch that attention. Grebe is connected to almost all of the organizations that have been mentioned as targets. Here’s a surprising find on his contributions to the Republican Governors Association. And darn if the RGA doesn’t have a smiling Scott Walker on its “About” page.

The primary reason for John Doe Two is to allow the left a glimpse of the right’s funding network. To my surprise, it looks like Wisconsin is the central location for this battle. One, both news outlets, Watchdog and PRwatch, are headquartered here. Two, Wisconsin has the legal structure through the John Doe law to let a District Attorney fish in very dark water without any oversight. Finally, we have a Governor testing the waters for a presidential run. Lucky Wisconsin, huh?

Perhaps there’s something to the idea that overall the demographics in Wisconsin mimic the nation as a whole: almost perfectly divided. Also, the opinions in this state are in flux over the last twenty years. In many ways, it feels like it’s all about Wisconsin when one talks politics.

What is a John Doe investigation?

I spent a good part of the morning simply trying to figure out what a John Doe investigation is, who can start one, and what other states allow them. Talking Points Memo at least tried to explain. I emailed both a reporter friend and Rick Esenberg from The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty – yes, funded by Grebe – for a little help.

The reporter explained he had never heard of John Doe investigations before working in Wisconsin, and several states later, he’s not run across it again. Esenberg told me the law was statutory, not constitutional, and that he wasn’t familiar with the law in other states. I still have not concluded whether this type of law – where no one looks over a judge’s shoulder like that of a Grand Jury – does not exist in other states or if I have simply not been able to find it.

Indeed the law is Wisconsin 968.26. The majority of the current law is the case law below the statute.

I keep wrestling with the idea that a subpoena served outside the jurisdiction of the district attorney could be ignored without consequence, but I’m not a lawyer.

And here’s my first bold statement: If the law is only used for political means now, why wouldn’t Walker, in his perfect world of leading a state with both the Assembly and Senate holding Republican majorities, get rid of the darn thing? Granted that might mean he’d need to stay in the state for a week or two, but if the law serves no purpose other than political fishing expeditions, why not move to a Grand Jury format where at least a group of citizens would have to oversee the ambition of one District Attorney.

You may have read in the last day or so where powerful attorneys went to the appeals court to have the investigation shut down. Of course, the request was refused. But yes, the end goal is no doubt to have the 5-4 Wisconsin State Supreme Court finally shut the investigation down.

What could be prosecuted?

Not much can come from this probe in the way of prosecutions. There’s the chance, that like before, someone can show up with kiddy porn on their computer, but that was an odd outcome of the first investigation.

Another look over the cliff from me: There’s also a chance that one of the good soldiers – say someone like R.J. Johnson – will have his hand slapped for sloppy work. Johnson has had inconvenient lapses of memory as to who he is representing when, and if the right needs to throw the left an easy way to save face, I can see Mr. Johnson being the untimely recipient of a conviction. Johnson worked (that’s past tense) for Walker. He’s a name that comes up in many different Grebe funded organizations. The last mess for the man was United Sportsmen.

(Sorry about that link, but when an argument is laid out that cleanly, it’s kind of hard to ignore. It also helps to make an important point: politics, and the money attached, are miserable on both sides of the ideological spectrum. There’s no way around that truth.)

Some have speculated that coordination of the organizations with Scott Walker’s recall campaign may be the target of the probe. I think that would be very hard to prove. All of the organizations will have had the same goal. None of them will have been stupid enough to coordinate “if you run argument A, then I’ll run argument B” on paper. Plus, we are now in a post-Citizen’s United America. Any organization can pretty much say anything they want without any kind of oversight. I can’t imagine prosecutors would attempt a path for conviction that includes challenging a recent SCOTUS decision.

Money laundering again?

In addition to snaring at least one poster-politician, I think the accusation of money laundering in association with the various organizations will be the greatest focus. For one, the name Dean Nickel keeps popping up. Nickel snagged William Gardner a couple of years ago and served as the chief complaining witness in that case.

Nickel’s name was also reported on one of the search warrants in John Doe Two.

A chilling effect.

The idea that private homes are being searched and property confiscated in this investigation is starting to worry folks. It’s supposed to. The investigation in general has as a second convenient goal to shut down the flow of money into Wisconsin Republican coffers. I have one acquaintance who fears retribution for contribution. (Personally, I work around that by hardly giving anyone money.) It’s a rare human being who doesn’t encounter a bit of paranoia now and then when working in an area outside one’s comfort zone. Politics is rather mysterious to many. Though they want to participate, perhaps by volunteering or giving money, when privacy is at risk, they won’t. And who can blame the average voter for such an easy decision?

I have not heard names of anyone searched. I have heard the number three. I only heard the accusation of warrant searches from the right-sided sources. I can’t say for certain they have happened. It could be a clever push-back to sway public opinion. Nothing gets a conservative going faster than the idea of losing one’s right to privacy. If donations are waning during the probe, one good way to rally the base is to assert a loss of rights.

Of course, wanting to sway public opinion is why this probe is starting to be pushed back at a national level. After the IRS debacle of a few months ago, at least half of this country is more than willing to tell a nosy investigator to shove it and deal with whatever consequences may result. Those who prefer to intimidate for a living are finding a less compliant set of victims.

This round is likely to fizzle.

Remember this scene from War Games where the computer finally learns there is no way to win a nuclear war? I think that’s where we are in the fight between the Left and the Right. One thing I learned years ago in a mid-level economics class is that tit for tat, equivalent retaliation, is a rather effective way to win a game.

Like it or not, this is a game. Both sides will use every tool in the toolbox (thus the need to eliminate one or two if possible!) and both sides will play full out until the stakes change.

Right now the highest stake is your vote. The best thing you can do to help win for your side is convert a low information voter into a well-informed voter or to convert a non-voter into an informed voter.

Funny, but there’s really no money at all needed to accomplish that.

Comments

  1. I’m not seeing any leaks — any news — in the PRWatch link. What/who am I missing? So far, we still know of a subpoena only to the guy who leaked it himself, right?

  2. Jose Jimenez says:

    The fundamental issue is this: Should one side or the other be permitted to literally buy an election? That is what is taking place with the unlimited corporate money dumps now occurring in Wisconsin.

    Yes, I know that Esenberg will remind us that corporations are people and that they have rights. I will believe that their rights are unlimited when one of them is put in prison or executed.