Schimel Pushes Back on Media “John Doe III” Claim

Attorney General Brad Schimel pushed back Monday on media claims that a Government Accountability Board investigation he revealed in a report on leaks to a British publication was not a John Doe probe. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Monday that Schimel “erroneously” referred to the investigation as John Doe III, even though the investigation, the paper contends, wasn’t a John Doe proceeding. Schimel responded in a late day statement Monday:

Current media reports indicate that “John Doe III” was “not a John Doe at all,” but was solely a GAB ethics investigation. As explained below, this is entirely false. The evidence discussed in the report related to evidence obtained by search warrants and subpoenas under Milwaukee County Case No. 10JD0007, which is John Doe I. As explained fully in the report, “John Doe III” was simply a shorthand description by the report. And all of these materials were co-mingled and mishandled, creating the circumstances leading to the leak.


The judge who authorized the release of Schimel’s report on the leaked records told the Wisconsin State Journal Monday he shouldn’t have allowed the disclosure of a separate but related, previously unknown ethics investigation.

The paper reported that  Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge William Hue, in an interview, accepted responsibility though he said Schimel never raised a question about whether disclosing details from a closed ethics investigation was permitted. Schimel says disclosing the existence of “John Doe III” was critical:


Since the unsealing of the Attorney General’s report concerning violations of the John Doe secrecy orders, several victims and reporters have posed questions to DOJ regarding the previously unknown investigation labeled as “John Doe III” by the report. DOJ was specifically authorized to release and disclose this information in two separate court orders. Disclosing the existence of “John Doe III” was critical to document the circumstances that allowed the leak to occur in the first place, which was DOJ’s charge from the legislature.


The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office initiated “John Doe III” as part of John Doe I. The evidence gathered was done under the John Doe I case number, 10JD00007. The DA’s Office obtained evidence from approximately 2009 to 2012 by way of search warrants, subpoenas, and perhaps other legal processes.

Schimel was investigating leaks from an investigation in Governor Scott Walker’s recall election campaign.