Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Rudy CAN fail. And did spectacularly- John Doe back on

Well this has been an interesting 24 hours in Fitzewalkerstan, eh?

It started with Wisconsin federal Judge Rudolph Randa issuing an injunction saying investigators in John Doe Deux couldn't continue to get information from Wisconsin Club for Growth and other "dark money" oligarchs. That in itself was scuzzy, but open for debate (if you feel "money = speech" and therefore no one can be forced to reply to requests for information in this case). But what followed in Randa's ruling was absurd, where he tried to order prosecutors to destroy all evidence obtained (through any means) and stop the investigation itself. And his reasoning was equally ridiculous, clinging to the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions to claim that the only corruption happens through explicit bribery, and not through the money-laundering and paybacks that have become the rule in Wisconsin's right-wing spheres of influence.
Again, the simply that the government does not have a right to pursue the possibility of corruption, only that which evinces a quid pro quo corruption. Defendants‘ view that the subject coordination could result in quid pro quo corruption is ―speculation that ―cannot justify . . . substantial intrusion on First Amendment rights. For it is not the extent of the coordination that matters, it is whether the issue advocacy money is used for express advocacy, and the clearest evidence of whether or not it is used for express advocacy is the type of speech produced by the money used to produce it. ―The First Amendment protects the resulting speech. As it relates to the facts of this case, no investigation, much less a secret one, is required to discover any abuse of Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes. As to the second concern of anonymity, the law simply states that 501(c)(4) donors have a right to remain anonymous. The supporting rationale is that these donors serve the First Amendment by promoting issue advocacy, and that does not trigger the need for the disclosure required when one is engaged in express advocacy.

"Political speech is so ingrained in our culture that speakers find ways to circumvent campaign finance laws. Our Nation‘s speech dynamic is changing, and informative voices should not have to circumvent onerous restrictions to exercise their First Amendment rights." Citizens United at 364 (internal citations omitted). The plaintiffs have found a way to circumvent campaign finance laws, and that circumvention should not and cannot be condemned or restricted. Instead, it should be recognized as promoting political speech, an activity that is ―ingrained in our culture.
In other words, Judge Randa says if you're trying to cheat campaign finance law, and hide yoiur donors, you should be COMMENDED for taking those steps, and not thrown in jail for trying to mess with our democracy. This is screwed up they are in right-wing world.

They're also quite incestuous in right-wing world, as Cognitive Dissidence noted that one of the main defense attorneys for Walker is former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, and Biskupic's wife works for Randa as a judicial assistant. That's the type of thing that would make a legitimate judge step down, but not ol' Right-Wing Rudy. He sees what kind of wingnut welfare Rick Sleaze-nberg has made out of being a right-wing "legal expert", and decided he wanted a piece of that. It's also a reprise of the back-scratching Biskupic and Randa pulled during the politically-motivated Georgia Thompson case in 2006, a conviction that was immediately thrown out at the Appeals Court level for evidence that was "beyond thin". (FORESHADOWING ALERT!)

But what's interesting is that Randa did not rule the "illegal coordination" law unconsitutional (which theoretically he could have done), but he said John Doe prosecutors couldn't try to bust people for breaking that law (something that's out of his purview, since deciding whether to file charges is up to the prosecutors). It makes you wonder if it was some kind of subconscious thing with Rudy, because he knew this decision wasn't going to last.

It didn't even last 1 day. Late this afternoon the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed Randa's decision, and not just because the guy was pulling right-wing bullshit out of his backside.
...once a litigant files a notice of appeal, a district court (like Randa's) may not take further action in the suit unless it certifies that the appeal is frivolous. The district court failed to follow that rule when, despite the notice of appeal by several defendants, it entered a preliminary injunction. This court accordingly stays the injunction, and all further proceedings in the court, until [Judge Randa] has ruled definitively on the question posed by Apostol.
Randa was so caught up in trying to score political points that the dipshit couldn't even do the procedure right! But it's not only on this technicality that his ruling is thrown out. The Appeals Court goes on to say that Randa's ridiculous order to destroy evidence is also out the window, but also that prosecutors can't "disclose or use" the information obtained while the case is being debated.

That last part is too bad, because I was hoping that the prosecutors would turn around and "drop a bomb" of their own today on members of Club for Growth, the WisGOP machine, and the other scumbags caught up in John Doe Deux. But I guess I'll have to wait for later on that. For now, it looks like things go back to a now-mocked Rudolph Randa, and we'll see if he tries any more shenanigans after this huge smackdown from the Court of Appeals. If I was Rep. Mark Pocan or Gwen Moore, I'd be seriously considering an impeachment filing due to Randa's incompetence, failure to recuse, and absurd reasonings.

So after this goofy roller-coaster ride, we're back to where we were. With Scott Walker and his associates still under investigation into illegal coordination and money-laundering. And now would be a good time for media to stop trying to make this case into a game, but instead do some real work into looking into depths and direction of the money-train, as that's the real story that's lurking, and one the right-wing oligarchs don't want anyone to find out about.

1 comment:

  1. An earlier version of the MJS coverage noted that Randa also issued his preliminary injunction without having held any hearing at all (having cancelled two of them already).

    Here's a version in Google's cache, while it's there:

    "In their latest filing, they contended Randa did not have the ability to issue Tuesday's decision because of their earlier appeals and noted Randa issued his ruling without holding a hearing."

    Apparently even giving the defendants a chance to make their case before he orders the destruction of evidence in a criminal case is bad form in Judge Randa's court.