Rep. Dave Craig: Time has come to investigate John Doe investigators

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Watchdog


CLOSER LOOK: State Rep. Dave Craig, R-Town Vernon, wants the Legislature to look into the conduct of John Doe investigators.

MADISON, Wis. – While Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation may be legally dead, state Rep. Dave Craig says many unanswered questions remain.

The Town of Vernon Republican again is calling for a special legislative investigation into the politically driven probe and into the leak of court-sealed document to a left-wing publication.

“I am glad to see that the Attorney General has requested a ‘special master’ in the John Doe II case. Given the serious accusations of private citizens’ lives being upended by government agents, I think it is imperative that the Supreme Court act on this request,” Craig said in a statement.

“Further, I am again calling on legislative leadership to ensure that the legislature conduct its own investigation into the leak and other potential improper actions by government agents over the course of the investigation,” Craig added.

The southeast Wisconsin lawmaker has long sought the formation of a special legislative committee with subpoena power to take sworn testimony from the instigators and assistants of the investigation.

Attorney General Brad Schimel on Oct. 27 asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to appoint a “special master” to investigate the leaks to The Guardian.

In a letter to Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, Schimel requested an investigator look into the leak of some 1,350 documents to the leftist British newspaper in mid-September.

Schimel said he agrees with conservative targets of the infamous John Doe investigation who have advocated for a special master to oversee the court-ordered return of the property taken from them in the unconstitutional probe.

“First, the special master should investigate and confirm the final disposition of the unlawfully seized evidence in this case. This Court has ordered the prosecution team to be ‘completely divested’ of all evidence seized during the John Doe investigation,” Schimel wrote.

The Sept. 14, 2016, article in The Guardian – used cherry-picked documents out of millions seized to paint a picture of criminal campaign finance activity by dozens of conservative groups and the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker.

Multiple courts, including the state Supreme Court, have ruled that the prosecutors of the probe did not show probable cause that a campaign finance crime had been committed.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a petition for review by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, the Democrat who launched the secret investigation in August 2012.

Craig has said the proposed legislative committee would be critical in examining the conduct of the prosecutors and the agents of the now-defunct Government Accountability Board.

“We’re going to hear from the regular crew that perpetrated these acts. I want to know in my role as a legislator what happened and who did it,” Craig, who is running unopposed for a state Senate seat, said in September.

The lawmaker said he is hopeful his fellow Republicans finally get behind the bicameral investigative committee after the new session begins in January.

“We cannot as a Republican Party stand by and let people’s civil rights be abused,” Craig said in the September interview. “We cannot allow that to occur while these individuals’ rights have been trampled, because what we are saying by our inaction is that we are willing to stand by as the people who hold the power of the purse, the power of impeachment, we are going to allow bad actions to occur in the future from our government.”