PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Experts Comment on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision Ending WI ‘John Doe’ Investigation

Published October 3, 2016

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case relating to a “John Doe” investigation in Wisconsin that targeted individuals and organizations engaged in issue advocacy related to the reform agenda of Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2013.

Wisconsin Reserve Judge Barbara Kluka started the investigation in 2013 on allegations the Walker campaign was illegally coordinating with issue-advocacy nonprofit groups. The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended the investigation in July 2015 on a 4–2 vote. The Democratic district attorneys of Dane and Milwaukee counties have exhausted all of their appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case permanently ends the investigation. The following statements from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Jim Lakely, director of communications at The Heartland Institute, at [email protected]or 312/377-4000.

“The Supreme Court of the United States made the correct decision today to refuse to grant certiorari relating to the Wisconsin ‘John Doe’ investigations. Some 40 organizations were subjected to illegal pre-dawn raids conducted by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Four justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court were correct with their decision last year to end the investigation.

“Wisconsin’s highest court found the pre-dawn raids were meant to silence the free-speech rights of patriots. Chisholm and Ozanne will no longer be able to continue their egregious abuse of prosecutorial conduct for their own partisan ends. They both should apologize to the targets of their investigations for their unlawful conduct and return all the property that was illegally seized.”

Kyle Maichle
Project Manager, Constitutional Reform
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“By refusing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court has brought about the ultimate end of Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ political witch hunts, reaffirming that free speech is still a sacred American value. No charges were ever filed, despite the best efforts of partisan special prosecutors and district attorneys to root out shadowy conspiracies and wrongdoing.

“Political speech is one of the most American of activities, and the final chapter of this secret war on speech is a victory for engaged citizens in every state, and of every ideology and political persuasion.

“Everyone should take note: The cure for what ails America is not shutting up opponents and criminalizing political engagement, but encouraging and enabling more people to become active, educated, and engaged in their communities!”

Jesse Hathaway
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.