John Doe Raids On Wisconsin Conservatives Spark Outrage

John Doe raids at the homes of conservative campaign donors have sparked both heated debate and possible constitutionality legal challenges. The so-called “John Doe investigations” were reportedly into the political activities of Governor Scott Walker and various Wisconsin conservative groups.

Some of the Wisconsin families subjected to the John Doe raids said armed law enforcement officers used a battering ram, at least once, to enter a home before dawn. Once inside, the officers searched and removed some of their belongings. All parents and children were allegedly ordered to remain silent throughout the startling incident. John Doe investigation targets who spoke recently with a reporter also claimed the families were told to speak of the raids to no one.

In court filings related to the John Doe raids, Wisconsin Club for Growth maintained that the group’s activities were “hindered” when members became “nervous” and stopped attending meeting or engaging in other forms of legal political activism and campaign donation.

Cindy Archer was one of the Wisconsin conservatives impacted by the John Doe raid. Archer is reportedly one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill. The legislation reportedly put limits on public-employee benefits and “altered” collective-bargaining rules for public employee unions. In the very early morning hours, Archer said she was awakened by “loud pounding” on her door, yelling, and the frantic barking of her dogs. The Wisconsin conservative also said that her entire house was shaking when she got up. She looked outside to find a dozen police officers holding a battering ram.

“I was so afraid. I did not know what to do. I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix,” Cindy Archer said when recalling the John Doe raid at her home.

Archer said she was able to get her dogs out of the house, as “multiple armed agents” ran inside her home. The Wisconsin conservative also said that some of the armed police officers “barged” into the bathroom where her partner was showering. Archer said the agent in charged ordered her to sit on the couch and she initially refused and said she wanted to get a cup of coffee.

“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted. 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,” Cindy Archer said after the John Doe raid.

She also said that when she was able to glance outside again, a man who appeared to be a journalist was present.

Cindy Archer said she felt someone had likely tipped him off about the John Doe raid. Neighbors began appearing on their laws due to all of the commotion and the armed agents reportedly exited abruptly after leaving a mess from their search. A laptop and cell phone were reportedly taken from Archer’s home.

The John Doe investigations have been going on so long there is now a John Doe I and a John Doe II raid program, according to a New York Post report. The first John Doe investigation was launched into the activities of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during his first campaign for the office in 2010. Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm reportedly opened the first John Doe investigation under a law that which permits public officials to keep their targets secret, the Post report also noted. Chisholm, a Democrat, reportedly investigated Governor Walker for several years without ever charging him with a campaign violation or other crime.

After Scott Walker won his re-election campaign, a judge reportedly allowed the second John Doe investigation phase to begin, and the observation of conservative group members and the armed police raids began. Wisconsin lawmakers are now reportedly considering “scaling back” the law which allows the John Doe raids in an effort to prevent “future abuses.”

What do you think about the John Doe raids on the homes of conservative group members in Wisconsin?

[Image via: Darren Hauck/Getty Images]