Read time: 4 minutes

Wisconsin Supreme Court Vs John Doe

As the John Doe Case heads to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, many conflicts of interest rise up, especially for Justice David Prosser.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Vs John Doe

As the gentle reader is aware, there is an ongoing John Doe investigation into the illegal collaboration between Scott Walker, his campaign and the dark money groups that support him. These dark money groups include Wisconsin Club for Growth, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Citizens for a Strong America (an offshoot of the Club for Growth).

In an effort to stall said investigation and with an ultimate goal of trying to legalize this sort of corruption, the dark money groups have filed no less than six different lawsuits in state and federal courts.

Recently, the federal courts have ruled that whether the investigation should continue should be a state issue. Due to some legal maneuvering, the case appears to be headed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which has a 4-3 majority of Teapublican activist justices.

However, having the John Doe investigation brought before the Wisconsin Supreme Court brings rise to a whole slew of conflict of interest issues.

As Brendan Fischer of The Center for Media and Democracy accurately points out, these dark money groups which are pushing the lawsuits have spent millions of dollars in the elections of Justices Ann Ziegler, Patience Roggensack, Michael Gableman and David Prosser.

Of the four justices, the one with the most serious and egregious conflicts of interest, by far, is Prosser.

Per the Wisconsin State Journal, these dark money groups spent $3 out of every $4 spent in his most recent election.

On top of that, during his campaign, Prosser promised that he would be "a complement" to Walker's administration because his views "closely mirror" those held by Walker. This was so undeniably true that even PolitiFarce couldn't spin it away.

But that's not all. With all things John Doe-related, there is more. There is always more.

About a year ago, I was tipped off to a copy of some of the emails from Walker's office that had been released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

In said emails, there was one from a Paul Behling to one of Walker's top aides. In his email, Behling was schmoozing up to Walker in hopes of getting a job. In an effort to bolster his standing, he bragged about the work he had done for Prosser's campaign.


↓ Story continues below ↓

In his boasts was this very telling blurb:

As I wrote at the time:

In this one paragraph, along with the poor grammar, Behling is saying that he worked with the third party groups to help the Prosser campaign using "very creative" ways to get around campaign laws. He also laments that it wasn't as easy as helping Walker's campaign because WISGOP wasn't there to help the campaign.

Again, just to drive the point home, that's an admission of collaboration between Prosser's campaign and the third party, dark money groups. It is also an admission of collaboration between Walker's campaign, the third party groups and WISGOP.

It is unfathomable that Prosser, or any of the other corporate justices, would be allowed to hear a case involving the same groups that dumped millions into his election, but it is beyond the pale, given that his campaign was apparently involved in the same sordid behavior that is being investigated.

But that's where the scary part begins. As Fischer succinctly puts it:

In 2010, the Wisconsin Supreme Court's four-justice conservative majority voted to adopt new rules stating that the fact of a campaign contribution alone would not require recusal -- but the rules were literally written by none other than WMC, as well as the Wisconsin Realtors Association, which gave over $1 million to Wisconsin Club for Growth in its 2010-2011 fiscal year.

In other words, WMC wrote the rules requiring that the justices WMC has elected not recuse in a case involving WMC's election activities.

The fact that WMC wrote the recusal rules "increase[s] the likelihood that a reasonable person would reasonably doubt the impartiality of several of the justices in considering charges against their supporters," Menendez says.

There is a federal court ruling that could apply to these four justices and force them to recuse themselves from hearing this case, which means it would head back to appellate court.

Sadly, given their past behaviors, especially those of Prosser's, it will undoubtedly end up back in federal court to get these unjust justices to follow the law they swore to uphold.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.