Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

New Wrinkle in Wisconsin Campaign Finance Probe

MADISON, Wis. (CN) - Two targets of a secret campaign-finance probe hamstrung by the Wisconsin Supreme Court say the recently ousted investigator made misrepresentations about his searches and subpoenas.

Named pseudonymously in the filing, Unnamed Movants 6 and 7 say former special prosecutor Francis Schmitz failed to comply with a court order to return property and disclose all search activity.

When a conservative majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court terminated the so-called John Doe II probe into Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his associates in July 2015, they blasted the investigation as having inspired several civil rights lawsuits but no convictions for alleged cooperation between the Walker gubernatorial campaigns and special interest groups.

Schmitz has since been stripped of all his authority, ordered to return or destroy all seized items and documents and provide details of past searches. Since then, three democratic district attorneys, including Milwaukee's John Chisholm, have intervened . They are expected to seek U.S. Supreme Court relief.

It was the Wisconsin Supreme Court that divulged the new notice of noncompliance against Schmitz, along with a letter from Schmitz advising of his plans to respond officially to the notice.

Subsequent to the court's Tuesday morning email, there have been no new releases in the case.

A local news outlet identified the unnamed movants as attorneys R.J. Johnson and Deb Jordahl.

The attorneys say they were targets of the John Doe probe, and that Schmitz still has four items of their personal property: two iPods, one Nook eReader and one voice recorder.

"In addition, neither the former special prosecutor nor any individual from the prosecution team has ever notified [the attorneys] that search warrants were executed at their place of business, 10 East Doty Street in Madison, on October 3, 2013," their notice of noncompliance filed on Jan. 13 states.

Accounts of searches Schmitz did provide were bereft of details, including what was seized and sought, which included bank and tax records, the attorneys claim.

"There may be still other searches and seizures about which the former special prosecutor failed to notify these movants or other individuals and organizations," they continue.

The movants are represented by Washington, D.C.-based Michael Bresnick of Venable LLP, Milwaukee-based Dennis Coffey of Mawicke & Goisman SC and Madison-based Dean Strang of StrangBradley LLC.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.