Secretive John Doe special prosecutor who fancies a good leak screams secrecy breach

Published March 23, 2015

MADISON, Wis. — As the state Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in a case involving Wisconsin’s politically charged John Doe investigation, the probe’s special prosecutor appears more desperate than ever to protect his all-but-dead Doe.

After multiple legal losses over the past 14 months, Francis Schmitz has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into his steady stream of briefs before the court. If he thought the sink would help his convoluted case, Schmitz more than likely would have dropped it in a motion weeks ago.

Now the special prosecutor in a sealed letter to the court insists a violation of the investigation’s porous secrecy order has occurred, although Schmitz doesn’t describe what the violation might have been or identify who the violator might be.

LOOMING ARGUMENTS: The Wisconsin Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for next month in a most unusual case involving Wisconsin’s politically charged John Doe probe.

It’s interesting that Schmitz and his crack legal team have disclosed confidential information, including the identities of targets of the probe, in court documents in the past. And he repeatedly has refused to correct misstatements he has made in records.

Schmitz, who served as a federal prosecutor for several years before retiring and quickly picking up his investigator/special prosecutor gig in the John Doe (at $130 an hour) in 2013, now says he wants oral arguments to be completely open. His reasoning: There have been way too many leaks and the details of the probe into dozens of conservative groups have been widely reported.

As he so often does, Schmitz is arguing from two sides of his briefs.


The photo, “Pills and money,” is copyright © 2005 Sulfur, and was made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.