Wow. Just wow.
By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. – Agents for the embattled state Government Accountability Board continued a zealous campaign finance investigation into dozens of conservative groups even after judges who preside over the board voted to shut it down, according to a previously sealed brief made publicFriday.
The documents, from an updated complaint filed by conservative plaintiffs in a case against the GAB, appear to support claims that the campaign finance, ethics and election law regulator is a rogue agency. They also show that the GAB considered using the state’s John Doe law to investigate key state conservatives and even national figures, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and WTMJ Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes.
Wisconsin Reporter also obtained some of its information from previous court documents that were supposed to have been redacted.
“What we have uncovered so far shows the Government Accountability Board, or at least its staff, being anything but ‘accountable,’” said Eddie Greim, attorney for plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the GAB. “For example, the public has learned for the first time, over GAB’s objections, that GAB set up a secret system of Gmail accounts for its staffers and the prosecutors who ran the John Doe. We also know that GAB hoped its ‘illegal coordination’ theory could even extend to allow it to subpoena media figures like Charlie Sykes and Sean Hannity.”
The unsealed documents show GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy andJonathan Becker, administrator of the agency’s ethics division, involved the accountability board in the secret probe without the approval or even knowledge of the judges. Board members were not informed of the involvement until Dec. 18, 2012, some three months after Kennedy and crew jumped on board.
And it seems Kennedy and Becker misled the board about precisely when they had “learned” of the John Doe investigation, according to a Dec. 18, 2012 memorandum.
“Since the time of the October 23, 2012 Board meeting, staff has learned that the Milwaukee District Attorney has opened another John Doe investigation,” the memo states.
Documents show GAB staff members and DAs using private Gmail accounts to talk about the investigation. Still, leadership warned of the potential that any communications could be made public.
“(T)eam members should communicate with the understanding that their communications could become public or subject to discovery at some point,” according to documents from an August 2013 meeting.
It seems that a criminal investigation may be warranted for the wanton abuse of the taxpayers’ resources in pursuit of political vendettas.