Shhhh. The plaintiffs are secret. Like the secret redistricting in Wisconsin? Or the secret plans to eliminate public sector unions in Wisconsin until The Budget Repair Bill was introduced which Scott Walker cheerily described to the Fake Koch Caller as "dropping the Bomb"? Mums the word and lawyers representing the litigants are asking that the records also be sealed.
Shhhh. It's secret. No sunshine here.
Three unnamed people have filed five requests with the state Court of Appeals to stay a secret investigation of campaign fund raising and spending during Wisconsin's recent recall elections.The records and filings aren't available for any of the 5 requests because attorneys have asked that the filings and other records be sealed. Shhhh.
Madison attorney Dean Strang and Milwaukee attorney Matthew O'Neillfiled the motions on Thursday, according to online court records. The filings name special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and initially namedretired Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara Kluka, who was originally in charge of the investigation. The filings were amended Monday to reflect the investigation is now being overseen by retired Appeals Court Judge Gregory Peterson.
The filings, called petitions for supervisory writs, are requests that higher courts review how the John Doe investigation is being conducted.(bolding is mine)
They are seeking to stay the investigation and have filed another motion, as well as one suggesting the matter be sent to the state Supreme Court for a decision. For now, the cases are before the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals.
Of course! They want the State Supreme Court, a majority of which, thanks to the influx of huge amounts of money, have been purchased by RW ideologues. They don't want no stinking regular court with a regular judge to hear this one!
Sources have said this investigation is looking at whether such conservative groups as Wisconsin Club for Growth coordinated illegally with GOP candidates or others during the 2011 and 2012 recall races. In the most expensive contest, Walker beat back an attempt by Democrats to remove him from the governor's office last year.Walker himself has had no comment on the current John Doe Probe unlike his previous meme of being the "son of a preacher and former Eagle Scout" who was "fully cooperating and assisting" with the probe. Uh oh....
Initially led by Milwaukee County prosecutors, the investigation is now being headed up by Schmitz, who spent nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor and was once a finalist for U.S. attorney in Milwaukee during President George W. Bush's administration.
The online court records indicate the filings stem from John Doe investigations in Milwaukee, Dane, Dodge, Columbia and Iowa counties.According to recent reporting, 29 RW groups are being investigated with a focus on so-called "issue ads" (i.e. attack ads) and illegal coordination with campaigns. We can remember Ian Murphys recorded Fake Koch call where Scott Walker asked "David Koch" for such help to aid wavering State Legislators in their districts.
Each filing also names a circuit court judge, with the cases in Dodge and Columbia counties naming Wood County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Potter. The others named are Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeff Kremers, Buffalo County Circuit Judge James Duvall (for the Iowa County case) and Rock County Circuit Judge James Daley (for the Dane County case).
In case you don't know what a John Doe Probe is, Talking Points Memo has a fine article explaining the process.
This comes right on the heels of a new judge who has been appointed to oversee the latest John Doe Probe. The previous judge recused herself last month without a reason being given. Yesterday, retired Judge Gregory Peterson confirmed that he is now heading the probe while quickly acknowledging that he had NOT signed a recall petition. That declaration has now been made the litmus test for determining "nonpartisanship" in Wisconsin although it could just as easily point out Walker supporters rather than those who didn't sign for other reasons.
The secrecy demands are unusual. The 3 people making these 5 separate requests to block the investigation don't want to be known. I'm not a lawyer, but I've never seen anything like this before.
RW organizations, blogs, and the plethora of local and statewide RW radio hosts have been in attack mode ever since this John Doe was revealed in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece last month. The usual "witch hunt", "fishing expedition" and whining about partisanship have all been made although those investigating have been clearly demonstrated careers of nonpartisanship if not Republican-leaning. The previous overseeing judge had been a finalist for a judicial appointment by George W. Bush who made certain that serious partisans were the only appointees ever considered for positions during his administration.
So WHO are these people who want their names on their lawsuits kept secret? I don't know, but I can guess that they're Republican ideologues whose names might bring up associations with groups or individuals that don't want their names in the media.
Another article on the probe in Cap Times actually links to my first diary on the new John Doe to point out how "leftie blogs" started putting out the news. I'm flattered.
As to be expected, the lefties picked right up on the story. Hours after the Journal Sentinel story was published, Daily Kos noted, "This is the type of news that normally dumps out late on Friday, but here it is first thing on Monday... I can't wait to find out more."