Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 16, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — For years left-leaning prosecutors weaponized their offices to harass and silence conservatives during Wisconsin’s unconstitutional John Doe investigations. The ultimate goal of the secret probes was take-down Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Now new documents obtained by Empower Wisconsin confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was along for the ride. Just how long the FBI remained on the politically-driven trip isn’t clear.
Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-Oshkosh) inquired in a July 2018 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sought answers about the nature and extent of the bureau’s work with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office in the investigation into “misconduct by employees of the Milwaukee County’s Executive Office.” Johnson asked for details on the bureau’s activities — the number of search warrants agents assisted in executing, the agents involved, and the nature of the FBI’s “technical assistance” in examining the records prosecutor’s harvested.
And the senator wanted to know whether any FBI employee “ever solicited or obtained information” from well-known conservatives such as conservative talk show hosts Vicki McKenna, Mark Belling, Charlie Sykes, or Sean Hannity, or politicos Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich. A 2017 investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice found John Doe prosecutors were interested in the activities of those individuals.
Johnson wanted answers. He got few.
Director Wray did not personally respond to the Senate committee chairman. Instead, an underling, Jill C. Tyson, acting assistant director in the Office of Congressional Affairs, provided a two-paragraph response.
The FBI, according to the letter, got involved in November 2010 at the request of the Milwaukee County DA “due to the voluminous amount of records in their investigation and possible violations of federal law.” Tyson insisted the FBI’s involvement was “limited to John Doe I; the FBI did not provide assistance with John Doe II.”
We don’t suppose it ever occurred to the federal agency to ask why it was necessary to conduct pre-dawn raids on people’s homes or to collect such a “voluminous amount of records?”
And what were the potential federal violations?
Tyson confirmed that the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office assisted in the execution of search warrants and technical analysis. She did not elaborate. Agents also reviewed financial and communication records, “among others,” and assisted in the “exploitation and analysis of electronic communication devices.” The FBI did not play a lead role, Tyson wrote.
“Accordingly, the FBI is not in a position to comment further on the investigation or provide documents related to this matter,” the agency official wrote.
Johnson was not happy with the response. In a follow-up letter, the senator wrote that the FBI response contained “only one substantive paragraph” that did not satisfactorily answer his questions.
“The FBI’s response abjectly failed to satisfy the Committee’s oversight interests. The FBI did not provide any details or specific information about the FBI’s investigative actions relating to political speech of conservative individuals and groups. The FBI likewise did not produce any of the requested documents or materials,” Johnson wrote.
He warned the agency to produce all the information and materials his committee requested or it “may be forced to consider the use of the compulsory process.”
Nearly a year later, the FBI has not responded to Johnson’s request.
“I’m losing my patience, both with the intelligence community and the inspector general who won’t even confirm whether or not he has an investigation on potential leaks out of the intelligence community,” Johnson told Empower Wisconsin last month on the Vicki McKenna Show. “I sat down with director Wray last summer, and he said he was going to respond to my request, and I have gotten zip out of that since then.”
It seems Mr. Wray and the bureau are too busy dodging congressional subpoenas and questions from the U.S. Attorney General about their own efforts to take down President Trump in the Russian scandal that never was.