Scott Walker allies ask Wisconsin Supreme Court to investigate John Doe leak

MATTHEW DeFOUR, The Journal Times


Two Republican political operatives at the center of a defunct John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign have asked the state Supreme Court to investigate a related document leak.

Top Walker advisers R.J. Johnson and Deborah Jordahl, who are identified in the filing as “unnamed movants Nos. 6 and 7,” also asked the court to order the immediate return of documents and equipment seized by police from their homes on Oct. 3, 2013, as part of the investigation.

The warrants used to obtain the records were quashed in January 2014 and the state Supreme Court ended the investigation last year. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal of that decision.

A British newspaper recently published leaked documents from the secretive investigation that painted the clearest picture yet of the case a special prosecutor was building before the case was halted.

The investigation was looking into Johnson’s role coordinating political activities on behalf of both the Wisconsin Club for Growth and the Walker and Senate recall campaigns of 2011 and 2012. No charges were filed and the court ruled that the activity was protected under the First Amendment.

The identities of the unnamed movants who challenged the John Doe in court were identified in the leaked documents. Johnson is represented by Washington lawyer Edward Meyers, and Jordahl is represented by Madison lawyer Dean Strang.

In Friday’s court filing, Johnson and Jordahl noted that Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, who initiated the John Doe investigation in 2012 before it expanded statewide, and Attorney General Brad Schimel have both said the leak constituted a crime.

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They also said John Doe Judge David Wambach, who replaced Judge Gregory Peterson earlier this year, has declined to pursue a contempt of court inquiry and that the district attorneys who were party to the investigation should not be responsible for prosecuting the leak because it may have originated in their office.

The district attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Johnson and Jordahl wrote the Attorney General should lead the investigation.

They also said Schimel said privately that the leak could have been perpetrated by a hacker, but Schimel spokesman Johnny Koremenos said Schimel has never said that publicly or privately.

“If in fact a hacker was involved,” the court filing says, “legitimate ongoing law enforcement investigations, court records, personal information, and even personal safety all may be in peril. For that matter, public confidence in the operation of the courts themselves, and of the ability of the government to assure data safety, may be in peril.”

Koremenos said DOJ “does not comment on or discuss specific details that could jeopardize a potential or ongoing investigation.”