May 10, 2014
THE WISCONSIN GESTAPO: George Will’s latest column is a terrific condemnation of the Gestapo tactics used by the prosecutors pursuing a “John Doe” investigation of conservative issue advocacy groups in Wisconsin:
Wisconsin’s sordid episode began, appropriately, with a sound of tyranny — fists pounding on the doors of private citizens in pre-dawn raids. While sheriff’s deputies used floodlights to illuminate the citizens’ homes, armed raiders seized documents, computers, cellphones and other devices. . . .
Liberals inveighing against “dark money” in politics mean money contributed anonymously to finance political advocacy. Donors’ anonymity thwarts liberals’ efforts to injure the livelihoods of identifiable conservatives by punishing them for their political participation and thereby deterring others from participating.
O’Keefe’s persecution illustrates the problem his lawyer David Rivkin calls “dark power” — government power wielded secretively for vengeance and intimidation.
There is literally no reason to treat conservative groups who engage in “issue advocacy”– i.e., talking about issues they believe are important–as common criminals, busting down their doors in the middle of the night with battering rams and scaring their families. There was no reason any searches of computers or papers could not have been conducted in daylight, when the kids were at school. The only reason to use these tactics was to intimidate. This fact alone reveals the true purpose of this investigation: to use a special Wisconsin law, allowing secretive and broad investigatory power to intimidate vocal conservative groups in the state and chill/stop them from exercising their First Amendment rights. This is a disgusting abuse of power and I hope, once this civil rights action is adjudicated on the merits, that the prosecutors are forced to pay for their abuse of power, not only financially, but with a loss of their licenses to practice law.