December 8th, 2017

An investigation run amok

This should send a chill down your spine. It’s the Wisconsin Attorney General’s report on the Wisconsin John Doe investigations, which I covered earlier here.

Everything we already knew about the abuse of power that went on during these fishing expeditions was bad, but the full story is even worse. Just a few excepts (and by the way, the acronym GAB stands for the Government Accountability Board, one of those Orwellian titles):

Attorney General Brad Schimel is asking for disciplinary action against nine people following his investigation into the leaking of documents collected during a now-closed probe of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

As this report describes in detail, the systemic and pervasive mishandling of John Doe evidence likely resulted in circumstances allowing the Guardian leak in the first place, and now prevents prosecutors from proving criminal liability beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information…

The investigation included subpoenas to state officials…and several search warrants executed on the private email accounts of state employees, state officials, and campaign workers and fundraisers associated with Wisconsin Republicans and Governor Walker. In the “Falk boxes,” three hard drives in particular contained nearly 500,000 unique emails (from Yahoo and Gmail accounts, for example) and other documents (email attachments, for example) totaling millions of pages. The hard drives included transcripts of Google Chat logs between several individuals, most of which were purely personal (and
sometimes very private) conversations. GAB placed a large portion of these emails into several folders entitled, “Opposition Research” or “Senate Opposition Research.”…

Because of the very broad nature of the search warrants, the John Doe III investigators obtained emails and chat logs from hundreds and perhaps thousands of other individuals who corresponded with the individuals listed above.

Before the widespread use of computers and email and chats it would have been impossible to collect that sort of information on that scale—difficult to collect it even on one person, much less hundreds and thousands. Now it is easy, if you have the power to do it and the will to do it. Paranoia becomes far more understandable, doesn’t it?

I doubt that the people who collected this information had the time or inclination to read all of it, but they stored it for future reference when needed. And with computers it’s relatively easy to do a search of the material at any point and find anything you want almost immediately. Then just leak it to your eagerly cooperating friends in the media and voila! Mission accomplished.

One good thing is that so-called John Doe investigations are only allowed in a few states. Wisconsin is one of them, but in 2015 Governor Walker signed a bill outlawing them for investigating political corruption. This was a direct result of the abuses that had occurred (and are detailed in the recent report). But if the John Doe investigation had succeeded in its goals, such a bill probably would never have been passed.

It’s easy to see the possible parallels with the Mueller investigation on the federal level (not to mention Lois Lerner and the IRS), and other special prosecutions that almost inevitably seem to turn into enormous fishing expeditions that cast a wide (and biased) political net.

13 Responses to “An investigation run amok”

  1. parker Says:

    I remember this shameful travesty well. I Tthe Mueller investigation is another politcal hatchet job.

  2. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    “The Swamp” is firmly established EVERYWHERE, it would seem.

    I can’t see any way to drain it (or any sub-part of it) without making such behaviors A CAPITAL OFFENSE.

    ONLY “pain of death” would motivate such power-seekers to stop; and even then, probably ONLY after a dozen or so executions had actually occurred and the miserable @#*$!!’s knew the rest of the country was serious about cleaning house.

    Sigh. Ain’t a-gonna happen.

  3. Cornflour Says:

    It’s well past time for everybody to get into the habit of using encrypted communications.

    If your rights or your privacy are violated, and you have a million dollars for lawyers, maybe you can sue. But the applicable cliché would be “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    Popular examples of encryption software:
    Proton Mail (https://protonmail.com/)
    Signal (https://signal.org/)

  4. TommyJay Says:

    I was reading Neo’s post on Mr. Strzok and Andy McCarthy’s piece too, and I thought of the recent news elsewhere on the horrific John Doe investigation.

    I sort of agree with the notion that most investigators, lawyers, judges will have political opinions and biases, and that one can’t expect some perfect political agnosticism. But, … Look at what these people, leftists, are capable of. Do you really think that if the parties were reversed in Wisconsin, that Republican prosecutors would have pulled this garbage on a Dem. Governor?

    And what was the penalty in the Wisconsin case? Contempt of court? What does that mean when the case is closed? Until penalties are levied that have real teeth, these people will see these gambits as low risk, high reward gambles.

    We don’t really know much about the Strzok incidents, but being quite fearful and demanding more information is very reasonable, in light of recent history.

  5. J.J. Says:

    “What do you call a system of government that cannot tolerate a transition of power without corrupt machinations by those unwilling to cede control? Banana Republic is a term that comes to mind.”

    See more at:
    http://observer.com/2017/12/indictment-of-michael-flynn-proves-fbi-criminalized-trumps-transition/

    The Wisconsin outrages are very similar to what’s going on in D.C. Same party. Same underhanded criminalizing of political policies and activities. The Democrats should never be elected to office until they can learn to play by the rules.

  6. AesopFan Says:

    J.J. Says:
    December 8th, 2017 at 10:58 pm
    The Democrats should never be elected to office until they can learn to play by the rules.
    * *
    They do play by the rules: THEIR rules.
    Heads they win, tails we lose.

  7. AesopFan Says:

    TommyJay Says:
    December 8th, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    And what was the penalty in the Wisconsin case? Contempt of court? What does that mean when the case is closed? Until penalties are levied that have real teeth, these people will see these gambits as low risk, high reward gambles.
    * * *
    Now that we know so much more about prior administrations that the press willingly suppressed, is it any wonder that Nixon really didn’t see the Watergate break-in as anything more than “business as usual”?
    He forgot that R’s don’t get the kid-glove treatment from the press that D’s do, and he was especially a target.

    The failure to stamp on the IRS (or Fast & Furious, etc – the list is long and started even earlier than Obama’s tenure) with both feet encouraged the other malfeasors that no punishment would be levied on them, and so far they have been correct.

    I can’t even imagine a Republican skating the way Clinton Inc has done — and we know it can’t be done, because of Libby, Flynn, et al.

  8. AesopFan Says:

    I actually think this review of The Godfather goes a long way to explaining why our Deep State functions as it does.
    They all think they work for The Family.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454341/the-godfather-45th-anniversary-enduring-appeal-mafia-organized-crime-righteous-vigilante-justice

    “Forty-five years on, viewers are still beguiled by its alluring fantasy of righteous vigilante justice. If The Godfather (1972) had come out a decade earlier than it actually did, audiences would have resisted it. You can imagine viewers asking: How are we supposed to get wrapped up in the internal disputes of this band of amoral brigands and murderers? Who is the good guy here? Doesn’t the film celebrate evil, or at least condone it? Why is Michael Corleone’s depravity rewarded instead of punished at the end?…

    Even today, as American life grows ever safer and more bureaucratic, there’s an atavistic pleasure in imagining a world in which problems are solvable by violence that can be controlled. The fantasy endures because there is some urge deep within to destroy our enemies, and I don’t mean with satiric putdowns on Twitter. Though crime in reality tends to be petty, sordid, individualistic, emotional, and poorly planned, in the Godfather films it’s the opposite of all these things.

    What if you could lord over a thriving business empire while having the people you don’t like strangled with piano wire?”

  9. SCOTTtheBADGER Says:

    One has to understand that Milwaukee, where this took place is a wholey owned subidiary of the Chicage Democratic Machine. It is Wisconsin’s Barad Dur, where the Evil comes from. The rest of the state, which is inhabited by Badgers, rather than Weasels, is a much nicer place to be.

  10. miklos000rosza Says:

    I came to like Scott Walker a great deal, long before is brief run for president, because of his fight vs the teachers unions in Wisconsin and then for his steadfastly brave response to the unremitting campaign launched against him as a result, which I followed at the Althouse blog and elsewhere. This led me to think he might be a fine president, as I foresaw that there would be attacks on anyone who ran against and/or defeated Hillary on the ugly level we’ve seen the Democrat party base attack Trump — close to if not exceeding the antiwar/anti-GWBush hysteria we saw for years on end.

    Scott Walker would’ve withstood such in a different manner, with a different style, but this is how the Dem-MSM do business these days. It “works” insofar as it excites their base, but they don’t realize (or care?) how many others such tactics alienate and how many otherwise indifferent citizens it turns into foes

    If there is some military action vs North Korea or Iran, no matter how justified, I foresee a huge effort to reenergize and drive crazy the antiwar movement of 2003-2008, from Code Pink to the new “action faction” Antifa. They desire a true civil war.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    miklos:

    Walker was my early favorite in 2015-2016 for the presidency, too, but in the primaries he just didn’t cut it for whatever reason. He didn’t seem to be a quick study on foreign policy. I think he came across as a bit provincial or something. He realized it almost immediately and dropped out.

  12. J.J. Says:

    Aesop Fan: “They do play by the rules: THEIR rules.
    Heads they win, tails we lose.”

    True dat. Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals” to be exact.

  13. William Graves Says:

    By attempting to control the electoral process by fraud and misinformation, the GAB was violating the constitutional guarantee of a republican form of government to each of the states. (Article 4, Section 4).

    To wit:

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

    It may be time for a federal lawsuit?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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