Wisconsin Conservatives File Suit Claiming County Prosecutors Violated Their First Amendment Rights
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Seal of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Seal of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wisconsin conservatives are fighting back against county prosecutors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin claiming that they have been harassed in response to their political activism. The Wisconsin Club for Growth, and its director, Eric O’Keefe, filed a federal civil rights action earlier this month against the prosecutors responsible for a secret “John Doe” investigation in Wisconsin targeting conservative activists.
The lawsuit, filed by a team of BakerHostetler attorneys led by Washington partner David B. Rivkin, Jr., contends that Milwaukee County prosecutors are abusing their authority in retaliation for the Club’s successful political activism in support of WisconsinGovernor Scott Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill.” Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and his staff have spent the past four years prying into the affairs of Scott Walker, his associates, and his supporters in a series of John Doe proceedings.
The lawsuit claims that the prosecutors’ actions—including harassment and threats of criminal prosecution—are intended to chill the Club’s and other conservatives’ First Amendment right to speak out on political issues. It asks the United States Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to enter an injunction blocking the John Doe investigation immediately. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages against the prosecutors for their violations of O’Keefe’s and the Club’s First Amendment rights.
“This secret investigation and gag order on conservative activists is intended to stop their political successes in Wisconsin,” stated O’Keefe. “The state cannot be allowed to silence political speech it does not like.”
The lawsuit also challenges prosecutors’ use of secrecy orders to limit public scrutiny of their actions, even as routine leaks have made the investigation a favorite topic of Walker’s opponents. Due to those orders, today’s filing is heavily redacted.
Rivkin, O’Keefe and the Club’s lawyer, stated: “The First Amendment means that government officials cannot single out citizens for threats and abuse based on their political speech. Our goal is to ensure that Wisconsinites of every political stripe can once again speak freely without fear of retribution by prosecutors wielding a political agenda.”
O’Keefe is a veteran political activist who has promoted limited government for more than 30 years. The Wisconsin Club for Growth is a statewide network of thousands of pro-growth Wisconsinites who are dedicated to promoting economic freedom through public education and issue advocacy.
The complaint is available here
Preliminary Injunction is available here
Read more at http://kevinmooney.net/2014/02/wisconsin-conservatives-file-suit-claiming-county-prosecutors-violated-first-amendment-rights/#6pLIW6c4yzqHT0QB.99