Why I Believe Wisconsin Reporter’s John Doe 2 Reporting

Nov. 1, 2013
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No, I’m not buying Wisconsin Reporter’s spin. 

But precious few details have been made public about John Doe 2, the alleged investigation into… What? Who?

Nobody really knows. Not officially, of course.

That’s why Wisconsin Reporter’s John Doe 2 coverage has been so delicious. 

In the past few days, its blog has revealed that the JD2 prosecutor is looking at three right-wing political groups—Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Republican Governors Association.

That’s more information than anyone else had. And Wisconsin Reporter also dutifully printed conservatives’ grumbling about JD2 being a partisan witch-hunt aimed at taking down Gov. Scott Walker because he’s too powerful.

That’s the stuff that I don’t buy. Of course, they’re free to rationalize the investigation as much as they want. But I highly doubt this is a partisan witch-hunt. I mean, why bother?

That said, it’s important to note that conservatives are leaking to Wisconsin Reporter. Hm… didn’t right-wingers complain about all of the leaking during John Doe 1? Didn’t they blame that on Democrats?

So let’s consider who’s leaking.

Wisconsin Reporter is run by the Franklin Center.

The Franklin Center is funded by the Sam Adams Alliance.

The Sam Adams Alliance had been chaired by Eric O’Keefe.

Eric O’Keefe is the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is one of the front groups that is allegedly being investigated this time around.

Hold that thought.

Wisconsin Reporter also noted that the John Doe 2 investigation has branched out to a few counties, including Dane, Iowa and Columbia counties:

The source, who asked not to be identified because of his closeness to people involved in the so-called John Doe investigation, said he knew of three subpoenas, and said law enforcement officials have seized electronic devices and papers in Columbia and Dane counties.

Wisconsin Club for Growth is based in Sun Prairie, which is in Dane County.

Its president/director, Charles Talbot, lives in either Belleville or Portage; Portage is in Columbia County.

The political consulting firm run by its longtime political operative, R.J. Johnson, is in Randolph, which is in both Columbia and Dodge counties.

You may remember R.J.

He was one of Walker’s top campaign advisors in 2009 and 2010. He was copied on a number of county emails that were released as part of the O’Donnell Park case. After Walker’s election he promptly became the face of Wisconsin Club for Growth again. 

John Doe 1 yielded no charges against Walker or his campaign operatives or county staffers for combining efforts—other than Kelly Rindfleish’s bust for fundraising for Brett Davis whilst working for the county. Rindfleish, of course, still lived in Columbia County while working for Milwaukee County.

So hold all of those thoughts as you read more leaks about John Doe 2.

If Wisconsin Reporter is leaking correct information, this may be what prosecutors are looking at.

I’ll have much more to say about this in next week’s Shepherd.

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