Yesterday we celebrated the end to “a disgraceful episode in Wisconsin history” — the dawn police raids of the so-called John Doe investigations against conservatives alleged to have violated campaign finance regulations.
State and federal courts ruled that no laws were broken and some laws were unconstitutional — certainly Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm’s prosecutorial methods violated the rights of citizens the court called innocent.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, announced Monday, not to hear Chisholm’s appeal thankfully ends this particular reign of error and terror.
So what have we learned?
First, courage is contagious. Had Eric O’Keefe with the Wisconsin Club for Growth not bravely spoken out, others would have remained quiet, and the prosecutors might have gotten away with what National Review’s David French called “a pure intimidation tactic to try to terrify conservatives into silence.”
Another unmistakable conclusion: yes indeed, it can happen here.
And if changes are not made, it will happen again.
Reforms have already been won. Not only is the John Doe investigation shut down, the law was changed, allowing for no more John Doe attacks. The Government Accountability Board, found to have acted from partisan motives, has been completely disbanded and new ethics bodies formed.
Another avenue of correction comes through the courts. The MacIver Institute filed a class-action lawsuit against Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm and others for illegally seizing documents, and Cindy Archer, whose home was raided by police, has filed a civil rights lawsuit.
Ms. Archer’s suit was dismissed after a federal judge ruled that the prosecutors had immunity. But that dismissal is now on appeal before the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The prosecutors will go to court . . . as defendants.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.