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criminalizing-conservatismAmerican Spectator:

Wisconsin has created a new type of political supervillain by combining the most reprehensible attributes of this nation’s two most infamous ogres of the last century — Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon.


Start with McCarthy’s reckless and unsubstantiated allegations against random names on a list, his endless investigations that produced nothing but press coverage and ruined lives. Then take Nixon’s vindictiveness, his desire to use the mechanisms of state to crush his political enemies, and remove the legal impediments that kept him from doing much about it. Give him laws like Wisconsin’s.


There never would have been any Cubans breaking into the Watergate to take a look at the files of the Democratic National Committee or plant bugs. G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt could have just written subpoenas for whatever they wanted without restriction. When there’s nobody to stop them, it turns out that what they want to look at is everything.


Newly unsealed federal court documents show that a crew of local prosecutors — Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, his assistants, Bruce Landgraf and David Robles, a figurehead special prosecutor named Francis Schmitz, and a contract investigator named Dean Nickel — have exploited state law to seize “more or less all” the records of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and every other conservative group in the state dating back to 2009 as part of a boundless investigation of their own wild hunches.Scissors-32x32.png


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Wisconsin Is Treating Conservatives Like a Banana Republic Would


Oral arguments were heard Tuesday before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in O’Keefe vs. Chisholm, the so-called John Doe investigation in which local prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to criminalize political speech and activity on public issues. The 7th Circuit should uphold the lower court decision halting this Star Chamber investigation that violated basic First Amendment rights.


The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy.


The case before the court involves a civil rights lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the targets of the investigation. The group’s supposed “crime” was coordinating its efforts on public policy issues with elected officials such as Gov. Scott Walker and with other conservative advocacy organizations. This resulted in SWAT-like raids in the middle of the night by armed law enforcement officials to seize “evidence,” as if these organizations were dangerous drug cartels or mob operations.Scissors-32x32.png



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John Doe lawsuit could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court


MADISON, Wis. – Two pivotal political speech cases could land in the highest courts in Wisconsin and the nation.


The cases hope to settle critical First Amendment questions tied to issue advocacy and Wisconsin’s politically charged John Doe investigation.


Veteran political activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth say their First Amendment rights have been violated by partisan prosecutors of a secret investigation. And they say they’ll take their complaint to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Andrew Grossman, an attorney for Washington, D.C.-based BakerHostetler LLP, the Washington, D.C.-based firm representing O’Keefe and the club, said the conservative targets will file a petition asking the high court asking the high court to take the case.Scissors-32x32.png


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