Wisconsin’s shame, cont’d

We used to laugh along with Tom Wolfe when he mocked the left’s routine invocation of fascism in America. Quoting Jean-Francois Revel, Wolfe observed that the “dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe” (more here).

We’re not laughing now. Now it’s not so funny. Now we’re a little worried.

In part, we have Jonah Goldberg to thank for that. In part, we have political developments in the Age of Obama.

We have, for example, the John Doe investigation of conservative groups to punish and suppress their support of Governor Walker in Wisconsin. The Wall Street Journal has been reporting on the state’s John Doe probe, which hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas in October 2013 while silencing them with a secrecy order. The subpoenas and accompanying raids were the continuation of a single-cloth investigation stretching back to May 2010.

David French reported on the raids in the NR article “Wisconsin’s shame.” Cindy Archer is one of the victims of the raids. She writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that she has filed suit against Milwaukee County Prosecutor John Chisolm to protest the investigation. “I fear his retaliation, given what I know of his methods,” she writes, “but the Chisholm campaign against me that began at dawn on Sept. 14, 2011, requires a legal response to discourage the prosecutor’s continued abuse of his office.” (Ms. Archer’s wall Street Journal column is accessible here via Google.)

The latest disclosures out of the Wisconsin investigations evoke Orwell. M.D. Kittle reports:

Democrat Milwaukee County prosecutors tapped the email and text communications of conservative activists as part of a five-year probe aimed at bringing down Republican Gov. Scott Walker, affidavits reviewed by Wisconsin Watchdog reveal.

One target of the spying operation told Wisconsin Watchdog the methods used to keep tabs on Wisconsin residents were like those of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program.

“It was actually worse because (Milwaukee County prosecutors) were taking the body of emails and looking at actual data,” said the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution from the prosecutors.

“The (documents) reveal just how far they went,” the source said. “These warrants reached well beyond what could be seen as real targets.”

Whole thing here.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds comments: “This was a serious abuse of power for the most craven of political reasons. John Chisholm and his minions should end up broke, unemployable, and possibly in jail. As an example to the others.” Elizabeth Price Foley has more on Archer’s lawsuit.