The Corner

Wisconsin Investigators’ Partisan Charade Exposed

Last month, the Wisconsin supreme court forcefully slammed the door shut on the “John Doe” investigation into groups supporting Governor Scott Walker during his recall election. But details from the investigation, and the allegedly “nonpartisan” state election agency that administered it, continue to pop up.

For years, the line from the Left has been that the Government Accountability Board (GAB) was “just trying to do its job,” even as it sat by and watched innocent citizens’ homes being raided for the ostensible crime of engaging in political speech.

Yet the GAB’s partisan bent has been well-documented over the years. And yesterday, the Wall Street Journal obliterated any pretense of nonpartisanship by printing excerpts from private e-mails sent by GAB staff.

For instance, at one point, GAB legal counsel Shane Falk referred to voters as “sheeple” for buying Walker’s “propaganda:”

In an email to Mr. Schmitz on Nov. 27, 2013, GAB staff counsel Shane Falk encouraged the special prosecutor to keep up the good work and “stay strong” in his pursuit of conservative nonprofit groups and allies of Mr. Walker. “Remember, in brief, this was a bastardization of politics and our state is being run by corporations and billionaires,” Mr. Falk wrote. “That isn’t democracy to say the least, but due to how they do this dark money, the populace never gets to know.”

“The cynic in me says the sheeple would still follow the propaganda even if they knew,” Mr. Falk continued, “but at least it would all be out there so that the influences on our politicians is clearly known.” By “the sheeple” Mr. Falk means Wisconsin voters.

Falk was also critical of an investigator who told the press that Walker was never the target of any investigation, and was keenly aware of what effect that declaration would have on the November 2014 election:

The Doe team was also apparently concerned that exonerating Mr. Walker as a target might have an effect on the election or damage the chances of 2014 Democratic nominee for Governor Mary Burke. “If you didn’t want this to have an effect on the election, better check Burke’s new ad,” Mr. Falk continued, “Now you will be calling her a liar. This is a no win.”

Falk was a Democratic designee to the GAB’s predecessor, the State Elections Board, and his hiring at the GAB caused a stir in 2008. But Falk wasn’t the only GAB employee with an eye towards politics:

We also know that GAB staff counsel Nathan Judnic marched against Mr. Walker’s Act 10 reforms and wrote on Twitter that the state should “Stand in solidarity. Kill the bill. Support public employees and their right to bargain.”

The Wisconsin legislature is currently crafting a bill to restructure the GAB, a move that will hopefully thwart such future witch hunts. And when they finally drop the guillotine, GAB will certainly wish they could have wiped their server clean, with a cloth or otherwise.

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