Yet no one in this family was a “perp.” Instead, like Cindy, they were American citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”
In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker gets the credit for pushing back the greed and heavy political control previously exercised by the Democrats and the Unions. But there were many Wisconsin citizens that contributed to his fight. Donating their time and talents they saved Walker’s job during the recall and election that followed. As a reward, they got targeted by John Doe Investigations and subsequent early morning raids. The Gestapo, the Stasi and the NKVD can only look on with some envy, nodding in approval.
Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee. “I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.” They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer. She looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off.This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.
This is America? Maybe not, anymore. The warrants for this “investigation” are issued by a special Supervising Judge that replaces the Grand Jury containing local citizens, closed proceeding, gag orders on EVERY aspect of the investigation (look up Star Chamber) BUT the press is somehow tipped off and present to record each conservative families humiliation. A preponderance of midnight raids when there was no rationale for any raid at all. All this when by all accounts none of the targets had committed any felonies, just exercised their 1st Amendment rights.
In Wisconsin, Republicans are introducing bills to alter or (better) rescind the John Doe statutes. Democrats are rabidly fighting to retain their favorite tool for wounding the partisan enemy.