In February 2014, the Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCfG) and its director, Eric O'Keefe, filed a frivolous lawsuit in federal court, asking the court to stop the John Doe investigation into illegal collaboration between dark money special interest groups, like WCfG, and Scott Walker's campaign. The goal of the group was not only to stop the investigation but to get the court to legalize the corruption they were participating in.
The case was heard before Judge Rudoph Randa, who not only ordered an injunction against the investigation but also that the evidence gathered thus far be destroyed. This ruling was appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, who immediately quashed the order to destroy the evidence and later overruled Randa's decision altogether.
Within days, another dark money group, the utterly misnamed Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) filed yet another lawsuit - the sixth one related to the investigation. This time, they were asking for the court to order prosecutors and the Government Accountability Board to be kept from interfering with their collaboration, because corruption is free speech, or something like that:
Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates has not been involved in the investigation connected to Walker. But the group has been a longtime Walker ally, and its lawsuit addresses what has been raised in the investigation into his campaign's activities. The lawsuit is being funded by a group affiliated with O'Keefe using lawyers who have represented O'Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
"My rights to speak out are being violated and they're being violated in a violent way," Chris Kliesmet, president of CRG Advocates, said in explaining why his group brought the suit.
It needs to be emphasized that the lawsuit is being funded by Citizens for Self-Governance, another dark money group affiliated with O'Keefe and using the same lawyers that represented O'Keefe in his frivolous lawsuit.
Apparently there is a shortage of federal judges, since this lawsuit was also heard by Randa, who quickly ruled in the dark money group's favor.
Outraged yet? Just wait. There's more. There's always more.
Randa should never have heard either of these cases due to the obvious conflicts of interest. Randa, who was appointed by George H. W. Bush and is a member of the Federalist Society, has many ties to the cases he presided over:
- Cary Biskupic, the wife of Walker's campaign's attorney, Steve Biskupic, is Randa's judicial assistant.
- Randa's own wife is a big time campaign donor to Walker
- Randa himself has attended Koch-funded junkets
Then there is CRG, which consists of a couple of local yokels, Chris Kliesmet and Orville Seymer. Their biggest claim to fame is being the face to a recall of former Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament, which opened the door for Scott Walker.
Since then, all they've managed to do is make unsuccessful attempts to recall other politicians, including former Governor Jim Doyle.
CRG was also responsible for trying to intimidate teachers by publishing their personal information and filing false criminal complaints against innocent, mild-mannered bloggers (namely me).
Interestingly, CRG also held an "educational seminar" on how to interfere with a John Doe investigation and start one of their own (which is something that O'Keefe has tried to do when he's not filing frivolous lawsuits).
The gentle reader should expect that this ruling, like Randa's other one, will be appealed and overturned.
In the original overruling, the appellate court said that Randa "had abused his discretion."
In this case, Randa again went beyond the pale:
But Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center said Randa’s order likely will be appealed because it contradicts U.S. Supreme Court decisions about the legality of such coordination.
“He refuses to accept what he was told — that the law is not as he wishes it were,” said Noble, former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission. “He keeps trying to limit the application of the law in a way that has never been required by the Supreme Court. The court has never said it is unconstitutional ... when you’re dealing with coordinated activity.”
Added Noble: “I assume this will go to the 7th Circuit, and the 7th Circuit will reverse it.”
On a final note, would someone please go to the Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and file an ethics complaint to get Randa off the bench?