State & Local Politics

Political targeting of Walker supporters proves it can happen here

It can’t happen here. 

Government targeting and intimidation against political opponents is something found in North Korea or Iran, not in the United States of America.

{mosads}Tell that to conservative groups in the state of Wisconsin whose leaders have had their private homes raided by local police due to their attempts to support Gov. Scott Walker (R) during the labor unions’ failed attempt at recalling him from office.

After losing at the ballot box, Big Labor allies in the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office have conducted a secret witch hunt of their opponents’ activities that is specifically designed to intimidate and discourage their future political participation.

Using leaks to the media to question credibility, coupled with kicking in a few doors to make a dramatic statement, the Milwaukee district attorney has proven that it can, in fact, happen here.

Now, one of those groups has had enough and has filed a federal lawsuit against the high-profile Walker opponent. 

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and its director, Eric O’Keefe, names four Milwaukee prosecutors including special prosecutor Francis Schmitz and District Attorney John Chisholm.

The lawsuit’s description is eerily reminiscent of the actions of the IRS in targeting conservative groups. It charges that the defendants have spent four years using their official offices attempting to harass and silence political opponents.

Wisconsin has been at the center of a heated legislative battle that has seen many public employee unions lose their capacity to compel employees to pay dues. Attempts to change the majority in the Senate as well as to recall the governor have fallen flat. Now, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, NEA and their state affiliates are engaged in a last-ditch challenge to Walker’s reelection.

Chisholm, who appeared in an ad supporting the public-employee-union-led effort to recall Walker, is charged with using his office to affect the outcomes of the upcoming 2014 election by knocking potential Walker supporters to the sidelines through legal intimidation.

O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth serve as exhibit A for the impact of this local prosecutor’s jihad against Walker supporters, as they have been forced to hire a bevy of lawyers while avoiding normal political activity.

As the federal lawsuit moves forward, the bullying tactics of prosecutors will be laid bare as they are forced to defend their actions. 

And Americans will learn that, yes indeed, it can happen here. The only question is do they still care?

Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. Contact him at


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