Robin Smith / Dec. 11, 2017

Wisconsin Is Also Swampland

As you read about the corruption in Wisconsin, note the parallels to the squalid activity we’re witnessing in DC.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently made this declaration about the pathetic state of the integrity of the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI and the “deep state” amid ongoing investigations attempting to overturn the November 2016 election: “What we now know is the swamp is sicker, more corrupt, more dishonest than we thought it was.”

It is absolutely critical to understand that when Democrats lose elections, they don’t have any desire to work in a bipartisan fashion. They have no wish to collaborate. Instead, their goal is to agitate and undermine the governing majority until they are returned to power. This is a lesson too many Republicans have failed to embrace as fact. When operating as a caucus, Democrats in elected positions, in civil service jobs, in appointments and operating throughout government in agencies work collectively to remove their opponents from power at every level of government.

While the national refrain from the Democrats and some of the anti-Trump Republicans has been, “Russia, Russia, Russia!,” the narrative has been unsupported by any evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow’s work to undermine American elections. Yet, it’s obvious that there are many who are devoted to raw power and the use of government as a tool in their tyranny and corruption.

This illegal and despotic activity hasn’t just recently surfaced in Washington, DC. This despicable approach to negate the jurisdiction and power of an elected official has been more palatable aimed at Donald Trump, a political novice who is literally exposing the impotence of hundreds of elected officials who make big promises on the campaign trail while accomplishing little to nothing to honor those promises.

But what about Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin? What about the 29 conservative groups targeted by a Soviet-style district attorney of Milwaukee County, John Chisholm (D)? He employed a special prosecutor, early morning raids complete with paramilitary-garbed law enforcement using battering rams, and dire warnings to deny calls to personal attorneys, declaring a gag order between 2010 and 2015. What about the revelations made public recently in an 88-page Wisconsin Department of Justice (WIDoJ) report unsealed last week? We learned that right-of-center talk radio hosts, lawmakers, average citizens and even churches were secretly monitored by infamous “John Does” who operated from the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB).

As you read about the corruption in Wisconsin, note the parallels to the squalid activity we’re witnessing in DC’s swamp aimed at Donald Trump. Also, understand the lengths to which Democrats in Wisconsin went to stop the changes that elections brought to their state. Simpler, we have to understand that if Democrats lose at the ballot box, they begin to work through illegal, corrupt and devious means to undermine and negate the voice of voters, whether in DC, Wisconsin or any other area of power.

Scott Walker was elected governor in 2010, faced a political hit-job recall election in 2012 and was re-elected again in 2014.

In November 2010, the Republican Walker won the Wisconsin gubernatorial race defeating the Democrat whose party had left the state with a $3.6 billion in debt. Walker’s pledge was a swift reversal of spending with a budget proposal, Wisconsin Act 10, which also included the dramatic limitation of public sector collective bargaining. Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill” not only impacted the funding of previously protected state government programs, it directly threatened the power structure of state unions, which meant war on the Republicans.

During this initial election, the John Doe I investigation was secretly launched by Milwaukee County DA Chisholm in April 2016, operating under the goal to prove that the candidate and his co-workers campaigned while Walker was on the job as Milwaukee County Mayor and accepted illegal contributions. This investigation was finally halted with the records closed after months of hearings and trials by order of Judge Neal Nettesheim in February 2013. There were six convictions related to those making illegal contributions.

However, Chisholm initiated a second John Doe secret investigation in August 2012 with the focus of activities of alleged coordination during the June 2012 recall election that Walker won. The Milwaukee County Democrat was now simultaneously investigating whether Walker’s campaign supposedly coordinated with other conservative groups, which impacted the outcome of the election in the Republican’s favor. In 2017 lingo, Walker allegedly colluded to steal the election from his Democrat opponent.

It was in the John Doe II investigation that homes of conservative targets were raided, with the investigation spreading to four additional counties. The second investigation was only slowed in February 2014 when one of its targets, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, filed suit in U.S. District Court on the grounds that conservative free speech was being stifled by the John Does — a judge, the special prosecutor investigating the claims, DA Chisholm with two of his assistants, and a Wisconsin government official who worked for the former state Democrat attorney general.

After months of a legal tug-of-war, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that there was “no wrongdoing” by Walker and that the investigation should be closed in July 2015 with property returned that had been previously seized. That didn’t happen. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was made with a massive illegal leak of data given to The Guardian, which included draft filings, court proceedings and selected evidence. The Wisconsin Department of Justice, after analyzing the data sent to the British paper, stated, “The leaked court filings show a specific intent to try to influence the United States Supreme Court.” The appeal was denied by SCOTUS.

Wisconsin’s Department of Justice (WIDoJ) rightly carried on its investigation following the leaked data in the fall of 2016. Its findings led to the GAB, which had been closed in July 2016 and split back to separate agencies overseeing elections and ethics. WIDoJ found a large file cabinet in the basement of the WI Ethics Commission Building that contained not only documents related to John Doe I and II investigations but research into a previously unknown John Doe III secret search.

WIDoJ’s report reveals 35 GOP aides and political operatives whose email accounts, personal chats and contacts were obtained by the scandalous acts of GAB with some emails between elected officials and family members archived in “opposition research” folders. Included in this data were emails of conservative State Senator Leah Vukmir, a leading candidate to challenge Democrat U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2018.

All of this activity by Democrats who had lost power to Republicans and had no electoral pathway to stop the reforms, the cuts in spending and the swamp drained in Wisconsin is familiar only because we see the same thing unfolding in Washington, DC.

And, yes, the monumental level of distrust in our elected officials and institutions is earned. As Gingrich put it, “What we now know is the swamp is sicker, more corrupt, more dishonest than we thought it was.”

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