MacIver News Service | August 20, 2015[Madison, Wisc…] The Assembly Committee on the Judiciary debated a bill that would make significant changes to Wisconsin’s John Doe law during an executive session on Thursday.
In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down the John Doe Investigation that for years had been used as the basis for an illegal investigation targeting conservatives throughout the state. Assembly Bill 68 seeks to prevent such abuses from ever happening again. The bill would prohibit the use of John Doe investigations for campaign finance law violations, it would limit the duration of investigations to six months, and individuals being investigated would no longer be subject to gag orders.
The supposed secret nature of the John Doe investigation was a key issue in Thursday’s debate. Republicans talked at length about evidence of investigators leaking information to the media and Democrats. Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) talked about a meeting she attended with Senator Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha), where he shared information about the John Doe no one should have had access to outside the investigation.
Democrats introduced five amendments, aimed at keeping the law just the way it is now. All five amendments were defeated. The committee voted along party lines to approve the bill as is.
The bill will now head to the full Assembly for a floor debate and final vote.
MNS’ Bill Osmulski has more in this video report.