The so-called John Doe investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has come to a conclusion with no charges filed against the Governor.
The probe has dragged on for three years, netting a few of Walker’s associates from his days as Milwaukee County Executive and other tangential figures, but the Governor himself was left untouched by the investigation. Retired Appeals Court Judge Neal Nettesheim signed the order to close the investigation on March 1.
“I realize the frustration on the part of some people with the length of the investigation. But I’m satisfied with how it went,” Judge Nettesheim said on Friday.
Reviewing the case, the judge pointed out that prosecutors interviewed and took testimony from hundreds of witnesses and raided the homes of several Walker associates, seizing documents.
“The whole purpose of the John Doe is to inquire whether possible criminal activity occurred,” said the retired judge. “The John Doe served its purpose. It’s to resolve uncertainty and to go where the evidence takes you.”
Opponents of the investigation say that the whole thing was just an effort to harass a Governor who successfully took on the entrenched, extremist union establishment, just as opponents of Sarah Palin unleashed a torrent of investigations to harass the Alaska Governor in her last year in office.
“I am glad the process has been completed,” Walker said in a statement released Friday. “As many may remember, this entire matter began when we asked the District Attorney to look into concerns we had with respect to Operation Freedom. We appreciate the effort that was undertaken and to bring appropriate matters to justice.”
Six people were snared in the investigation: three of Walker’s former employees and three others.
- William Gardner, for excessive political contributions
- Kevin Kavanaugh, for stealing money from a veterans non-profit group
- Brian Pierick, on a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor
- Kelly Rindfleisch, for felony misconduct in a plea deal
- Timothy Russell, for stealing money from a veterans non-profit group
- Darlene Wink, for working on a Walker political campaign during County work time