Members of the Wisconsin Ethics Commission are taking issue with some of the findings of an investigation by the Department of Justice.
The DOJ report released last week argues documents from a secret John Doe investigation were likely leaked to The Guardian newspaper by someone at the former Government Accountability Board – although it concedes who leaked them can’t be determined. The now-closed probe was investigating coordination between Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups. No charges were ever filed and the state Supreme Court halted the investigation.
In a letter to Attorney General Brad Schimel, Ethics Commission Chair David Halbrooks and Vice-Chair Katie McCallum says the report contains inaccurate information and omits important details. The agency charges several facts of the investigation were misrepresented in the report, such as claims that staff failed to cooperate with investigator’s search for records.
It contends that the report fails to reflect how security has been improved since the GAB dissolved into separate ethics and elections agencies. “The report comingles a description of the security practices under the GAB with those under the Ethics Commission,” the letter reads. “Make no mistake, the security deficiencies that previously existed under the GAB have been resolved.”
The agency also defends staff members named in the report, who a state lawmakers has asked to be removed.
Commission leaders says their observations should be promptly addressed and called on DOJ to issue a statement saying that “the Ethics Commission and its staff fully cooperated with, proactively contacted, and assisted DOJ with its investigation into the leak.”
A spokesman for DOJ had no immediate comment.