Anatomy of a Smear Campaign

Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, has been a thorn in the side of Democrats both in his state and nationally since he defanged the public sector unions and brought fiscal sanity to Wisconsin.

And the left simply can’t let that stand.

You may recall the flight of state lawmakers to Illinois to prevent the state legislature reaching a quorum. You may recall the frenzied protests by lawless employees of the state.

Further, never ones to forego the power of the state for political purposes, a cabal of staunchly Democratic prosecutors abused Wisconsin’s “John Doe” investigation process to harass Wisconsin Club for Growth and affiliated groups, with pre-dawn raids of their homes and offices, seizures of their papers and computers, and gag orders to prevent them from even publicly defending themselves, while strategically leaking information about the “investigation” to press contacts sure to be friendly to their leftist agenda.

Eric O’Keefe, of Wisconsin  CFG was fed up with the abusive investigation, and sued in federal court, complaining that the “John Doe” investigation violated his First Amendment rights. And Judge Randa of the local federal District Court agreed, and ordered the investigation halted. An appeal to the 7th District by the prosecutors was denied. The investigation was ordered halted.

But a simple thing like a court order isn’t going to stop the determined leftist from their goal of the destruction of an effective Republican politician.

As a part of the ongoing O’Keefe litigation, the unredacted reports of the investigation were ordered released today. And virtually every media outlet leapt to shout from the rooftops

Prosecutors: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Part Of ‘Criminal Scheme’

Here’s the problem with that.

The mere allegation of a “criminal scheme” was just that, words tumbling from the mouth of a politically motivated prosecutor.

In fact, back in January,  when the prosecutors took their requests for subpoenas before a judge, including the filing mentioning a criminal scheme:

On Jan. 10, 2014, Peterson threw out Schmitz’s motion, saying that it “failed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed.”

In other words, the Judge Peterson laughed them out of court, recognizing that the prosecutors had nothing-zip-nadda.

It was after this that O’Keefe sued to halt the witch hunt.

And none of this is news. Political junkies have known about Judge Randa’s order halting the persecution (yes, persecution) since the day it happened.

But that doesn’t help the left.

It is simply impossible to believe that the writers and editors didn’t know already that there was no crime committed.

Heck, they already know that no crime could have been committed.

The sham investigation says it was looking for evidence of illegal coordination. But since Wisconsin CFG and the others are advocating for issues, and not candidates, they’re wholly exempt from the law the prosecutors were theoretically basing their investigation on. And they know this.

But as Peterson points out, Chapter 11 is reserved for groups that engage in “express advocacy,” or directly urging voters to support or oppose a candidate.  It is those who make these types of “independent expenditures” that must file reports with the state disclosing how much they are spending and who is paying for them, and swearing that they are not coordinating with candidates.

“Issue ads,” on the other hand, never come within a mile of Chapter 11.  These groups exercise their First Amendment right to political speech completely outside the purview of government regulation.  They operate as if they were selling McDonald’s or Coke; they don’t have to report anything to anyone, and they can coordinate freely between one another.  The idea that somehow these groups are now subject to state law is unprecedented, and runs directly counter to a slate of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings upholding the right of these groups to operate.

These groups did not coordinate with Governor Walker. But even if they had, they would not have broken any laws at all, nor would it be illegal or unethical for Governor Walker.

And HuffPo and the others know this.

But the goal here was to plant in the minds of those who aren’t political junkies that Walker has a whiff of corruption about him. After all, a headline that says, “Democratic prosecutors on witch hunt shot down by one judge, shut down by another” wouldn’t further their goals.

The “progressive” and “tolerant” Left will always use the power of the state to persecute, harass, and punish any political foe that doesn’t kowtow to them, and most particularly, a Republican who is an honest, effective leader.