The second John Doe probe involving possible campaign shenanigans during Wisconsin's recent recall elections is working its way up the media food chain.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got the ball rolling on Monday with this story by Dan Bice, who tapped a number of unnamed sources to report that Milwaukee County prosecutors have cast a five-county-wide net based on investigations stemming from an earlier John Doe probe. That investigation resulted in criminal convictions against six individuals, three of them former aides to Gov. Scott Walker during his days as Milwaukee County executive. The investigation closed with no charges against Walker.

Despite the clouds cast by that John Doe investigation, so named to keep the target or targets of the probe secret, Walker went on to handily win a recall election in the summer of 2012. Walker's was one of more than a dozen recall efforts stemming from the passage of Act 10, the legislation written by Walker and passed by a Republican legislature ending collective bargaining for nearly all public employees in the state.

"Sources familiar with the probe told the Journal Sentinel that it was scrutinizing a wide variety of state-related issues, including the recall races," Bice writes. "Sources suggested the probe is looking at a current legislative leader and the governor's contest."

As to be expected, the lefties picked right up on the story. Hours after the Journal Sentinel story was published, Daily Kos noted, "This is the type of news that normally dumps out late on Friday, but here it is first thing on Monday... I can't wait to find out more."

Walker, predictably, has been mum. Here's what he was qoted as saying in the Wisconsin State Journal on Wednesday:

“'I’m not going to get pulled into that, one way or another. Because if somebody was (contacted) and they said they were, they’d be in violation of that,' Walker said, in apparent reference to the secrecy order that commonly accompanies such investigations. 'If they weren’t, they’d be speculating on something that they’re not involved in. So either way, it doesn’t make any sense to get involved with that.'”

That's about where the news stops, and the momentum begins.

For a few days, the story circulated on the leftie blogosphere. Then, on Thusday, Talking Points Memo weighed in with a story detailing the John Doe process, a secret investigation overseen by a judge similar to a federal grand jury.

Later on Thursday, the Newsweek-affiliated Daily Beast (not to be confused with the Buffalo Beast) took the story to a national, if not mainstream, level.

And on Friday, Forbes' lefty contributer Rick Ungar took Walker's latest ordeal to the website of that staid publication.

Notably absent from the lineup is MSNBC, which is usually on top of the Scott Walker watch. But now that national interest has been piqued, we're likely to see news of the new John Doe probe show up in the coming days in the traditional national media.

Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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(24) comments


Wow is that a spinning whirlwind? or is that just Righties spinning again and again?

Dems are the target? LOL spin, spin, spin

Next they will be telling us that it's six "Democrats" that got jail time under the last investigation!

I say prosecute and incarcerate anyone found guilty of any wrong doing by this investigation!

Wouldn't you agree Righties?

Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction

Innocent until proven guilty! (If you are Scott Walker and his corrupt cronies)

Guilty and punished without a trial (If you are a public service union victimized by Scott Walker and his corrupt cronies) and made essentially illegal.


Fiction. Despite your mad rhetoric it is not illegal to belong to a union. To suggest otherwise is to be unfamiliar with the truth, a regular occurrence for you.


"Unfamiliar with the truth". I like that.


It should not matter which party is being investigated. We need to bring charges against those who did wrong.

Given how Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald are avoiding the media like the plague on this story leads me to think it is the Republicans who are the target of the latest John Doe investigation.


They are probably laughing their behinds off at the dems and trying not to spoil the surprise for the rest of us.


My guess is that it's an investigation of the Democrats and voter fraud or intimidation. Even with that they still lost because the voters still like what Scooter is doing.

James Richard Bailey

Historically, instances of election fraud vastly outnumber instances of voter fraud. People win by the former, so they think they can control the aftermath. Voter fraud rarely makes any difference, even when it is widespread. But, election fraud often takes the form of disenfranchising a large portion of the opposition. Think the Florida presidential race in 2000. The Wisconsin electorate is finally getting fed up with Walker. I'm confident that he won't be our governor past 2014. I hope his race for the presidency is scuttled by his misdeeds and he goes down in flames.


Another fine job of Cap Times journalism. Don't break the story. Don't try to match the story with new details. Just tell us what other media outlets are reporting and what other are saying about their stories.

After all, why put the "new" in "news"?

Maybe if the Cap Times did some original reporting instead of just following everybody else, people would be talking about the Cap Times instead of the Cap Times talking about everybody else. But then that would take some real work.

Oh, wait. Breaking news! Two Broke Girls just mentioned Wisconsin!


Gov Doe better hit the Wingnut Welfare Circuit some more. His lawyers are gonna want some more money.


Could this involve illegal voting machine issues? I heard some touch screens might have had problems? Hard drives and memory cards missing or erased too soon? Any truth in any of this?


Wouldn't this be a huge turn of the table if Democrats were the investigation's target?

Yah, I know, SW's compadres got spanked the 1st time around, and a bunch of folks would love to see the gov and whole Tea Party go down in a ball of flames. But I'm not reading anything here saying exactly whom is now under investigation.

Rather than "arm-chair quarterbacking" this thing, let's sit back and enjoy the show. I'll bring the popcorn.

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Could be a Democrat problem, Reply, BUT, and that's a big but, when the Republican receives, what, 20 times the amount as the Democrat I would guess there is 20 times more chance there was Republican she-nanny-gans!

Say their sorry and pay a fine.


Reply. I wondered the same thing. Both parties traffic in cash.


It's a little early to get all giddy about Walker going to jail. There will be plenty of time for giddy when he actually is in jail. The Daily Kos hardly qualifies as high on the media food chain. Talking Points Memo isn't on the tip of everyone's tongues. These two websites would seize on any negative news about Walker.

The Daily Beast is a little bigger, but a grand jury probe about a sitting governor's political activities is worthy of mention anywhere. It doesn't mean he is guilty of anything.

Still, I believe Walker is a criminal sociopath, and whether this grand jury finds anything prosecutable or not, he is still a criminal. The entire pattern of his career in politics has been one of deceit, abuse of power, cronyism and election chicanery. Proving all this in court is a huge challenge for any investigative body, but that is the system we have - a nation of laws, not of men.

I wonder why the Cap Times is even bothering with this story. National attention will not make Walker a criminal if he isn't one, and if he is one the Wisconsin court system should have the wherewithal to convict him. I trust they will.


I erred. It's a special prosecutor investigation, not a grand jury probe. A technical difference, but it matters. If the special prosecutor finds anything, a grand jury would be the next step.


John Doe probes are not used in most states from what I've read. After the John Doe usually comes indictments rather than grand juries if there is enough evidence to move forward.


We get taxed enough in Wisconsin to grease a lot of palms, which can paste the lips pretty tight, so they'd have to find a loaded computer or something that didn't disappear yet. Scott Walker is book stupid, but street smart when it comes to things like this. After all, Walker got caught red-handed, trying to "fix" his election for some school office at Marquette University, already when he was just a college kid, who never could make the grade. He wasn't smart enough to ever graduate, but each time a slime-ball screws up, he gets a little more careful! 25+ years of trial and error definitely SHOULD show some improvement or progressive skills, wouldn't you think?? Some people just like the excitement of those kinds of "games"! It's still the excitement of the kids' games of trying to fool Dad or Mom, and Walker is so adolescent in far too much of his behavior. Eventually, misjudgment and miscalculation catch up to that low class of people, or we wouldn't have so many people in prison. Actually, many people in prison are geniuses, gone wrong. Like all of life though, when you play, you eventually pay!!


Come to think of it, isn't Walker the one who said he "fixed" Wisconsin??


As much as I would love to see Walker go down in flames, all the publications/authors making noise are pretty left leaning so they will of course bark about it. I will get excited when some real news comes out.


Why is there so little coverage on this story inside Wisconsin?

The story linked below goes into detail as to the investigation and what the John Doe is looking into and why it's so wide spread.

One gets a much more detailed look at what is going on from outside sources:

"New investigations of Scott Walker and friends
New probe investigating illegal actions, including campaign violations during the Senate and Governor’s recall elections."

Now, I know that all the Righties are going to attack the messenger and try to deflect your attention away from this story….. but they won't be able to produce any evidence to the contrary of the facts in this article.

Wisconsin voters are not interested in talking points or personal attacks or deflection, they want the facts and the truth…. Voters want transparency from our elected officials!

Retired PE

Wis-taxpayer, that's because most of our major state papers are right/conservative leaning and have defended Walker from the beginning. The MJS, WSJ, and Green Bay/Appleton papers have defended Walker and his policies for years. The LaCrosse paper is about the only major state paper not in Walker's back pocket. I am amazed that the Milwaukee paper had the guts to break this John Doe story. I seriously doubt if voters in the Green Bay/Appleton area have even heard about it. When Walker runs for prez' in 2016, the national media will pour into this state in droves to uncover the truth of what has been hidden from us WI residents for years. However, by that time it will be too late because he will have been re-elected as Gov. Investigative journalism is a thing of the past in this state. Remember, when the Tea Partiers wanted to shut down the investigative journalism department at the UW? Gosh! I wonder why?


Forbes is a national publication, right? Oh, this looks bad for walker. And just before his "unintiminated" book comes out. Oh, the irony! Think the nation will fall for the "it's another liberal Madison witch hunt" conspiracy theory and put him in the White House?I think the expressions on darling and vos's face says it all. The only question left is how much time will he serve!


We can only hope and pray!

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