Wisconsin Republican: 'Witch Hunt' Into Scott Walker Campaign Collected Personal Info Illegally

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker / Getty Images
December 8, 2017

U.S. Senate candidate and Wisconsin state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R.) said Thursday that she is considering legal responses to alleged invasions of privacy that occurred in a sweeping investigation of Gov. Scott Walker's (R. Wis.) campaign.

Vukmir is taking issue with an investigation known as John Doe II that involved 218 subpoenas and dug into personal material, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"I am horrified to learn again just how invasive this witch hunt was into nearly every part of every major Wisconsin conservative’s life," Vukmir said in a statement this week. "Now it's confirmed that it reached my own, even so far as to collect private medical information included in my emails with my daughter ... The thought of my government intentionally and illegally targeting me is sickening."

Wisconsin Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a report that became public Wednesday in which he showed that the John Doe II investigation generated millions of pages of documents. Vukmir said she will pursue all her options for recourse in the matter.

"It is un-American," Vukmir said. "I am going to exhaust all options—both legal and legislative—for recourse here."

The probe involved seizing emails that appeared to have nothing to do with the investigation, including ones about Republicans' Bible study groups and a daughter's need for a gynecologist, according to the Journal Sentinel. Investigators had a file marked "opposition research" that held some of the emails.

In 2016, the Guardian published more than 1,300 pages of leaked documents from the probe, which were under a judge's secrecy order.

Schimel did not find who leaked the documents but he concluded they came from an accountability board that helped special prosecutor Francis Schmitz with the investigation. Schimel recommended that Schmitz face contempt of court proceedings, along with eight others involved with handling the material.

The judge now in charge of the John Doe II probe, William Hue, will consider contempt proceedings in the coming weeks. Before he was involved in the case, Hue tweeted about it, and he has said that he thinks his tweets are fair and do not show bias.

Hue had said the John Doe II investigation that looked into Walker associates was targeting Republicans.

In 2015, he also tweeted that Walker adviser Cindy Archer exaggerated details about the John Doe I investigation.

Some caught up in the probe have already brought lawsuits, including the conservative MacIver Institute.

"The AG's new report ... shows that the prosecution and GAB team deliberately avoided implementing the basic protections and processes that are hallmarks of a fair, effective criminal investigation," the MacIver Institute's attorney Eddie Greim said Thursday.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down the John Doe II investigation in 2015, finding nothing illegal from the Walker campaign. The prior John Doe I investigation had resulted in convictions of some Walker associates.

Published under: Scott Walker , Wisconsin