By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — John Chisholm’s reputation for injecting politics into prosecution precedes him, and that might be reason enough why no Milwaukee taxpayer has yet to file a complaint (as of Wednesday night) against the Democratic Milwaukee County district attorney on charges of prosecutorial misconduct, legislative sources say.
Republican lawmakers, among others, are urging Gov. Tony Evers to fire Chisholm after his office recommended a mere $1,000 bail for the man suspected to have killed six people and injured some 60 more in the Waukesha Christmas parade massacre.
As Empower Wisconsin reported Wednesday, Evers will not even consider opening an investigation until he receives a verified complaint from a taxpaying Milwaukee County resident. The Democrat could then charge a $1,000 bond to open a review of the charges and make the complainant pay for the probe if he determines the charges were “willful and malicious and without probable cause.”
Chisholm, sources say, could make it tough on a complainant, too.
Anyone who watched what the prosecutor did during Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigations would have reason to be concerned about what Chisholm is capable of, said Mike Mikalsen, legislative aide to Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater).
Chisholm launched the politically driven “John Doe II” investigation in August 2012. His office teamed up with the former Government Accountability Board on a years-long witch hunt into dozens of conservative organizations, particularly those that had been successful in moving government reforms, in the pursuit of taking out the left’s archenemy, then-Gov. Scott Walker.
Chisholm and his corrupt agents led pre-dawn raids on the homes of Wisconsin conservatives who supported reforms that liberals and their union allies loathed, like Act 10’s changes to public sector collective bargaining laws. The prosecutors conducted spying operations, grabbing millions of records though secret subpoenas. And when they were caught, they used taxpayer-funded attorneys to protect their unlawful investigation and their abusive conduct.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately ruled the investigation was unconstitutional and a “perfect storm of wrongs.” The court shut down the star chamber in July 2015, but it has taken more than eight years for the victims of the Joe Doe probe to get their unlawfully seized possessions back. And they’ll never get back the millions of dollars they spent defending themselves from vindictive, partisan prosecutors, or their sense of safety from the abusive hand of the government.
While Chisholm can’t legally use his office to harass and intimidate a county resident who files a complaint against him, he’s shown that he is not above weaponizing his office for personal and political reasons.