One highly-secretive "John Doe" investigation of a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker may finally be brought to the public eye. Cindy Archer filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm for violating her civil liberties during investigations.
Archer is known as a key architect of Act 10, the "Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill" that restricts public unions' bargaining rights in the state and brought Walker to national attention. Starting in May 2010, Chisholm, a Democrat, investigated people like Archer for supporting the governor, Act 10 or other conservative reforms. But under Wisconsin law, targets of "John Doe" investigations remained secret.
Archer is seeking damages for violation of First Amendment free speech and association rights, Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure and Fifth Amendment rights, according to a press release.
The defendants' alleged actions include an armed raid on Archer's house in September 2011, seizure of personal emails and months of secret, aggressive interrogations. In addition to Chisholm, the complaint names as defendants David Budde, Bruce Landgraf, David Robles and Robert Stelter.
"This is America, and in America we don't let the authorities raid people's homes and treat them like criminals because of their political beliefs and associations," said Archer's lawyer David B. Rivkin, Jr. "That's why we have a Bill of Rights: to stop things like this John Doe investigation from happening."
Despite investigations, the former aide was never charged with a crime. But the Walker administration demoted Archer after learning that Chisholm was targeting her, she wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
"My reputation and career have been damaged beyond repair," she wrote. "But knowing what I now know, there is a clear legal path forward. There should be no place in America where powerful law-enforcement officials are allowed to misuse their offices for political purposes."
Archer isn't the only one making accusations against Chisholm lately. On June 15, former Milwaukee County employee Kelly Rindfleisch requested that the Supreme Court review Chisholm's infringement on her Fourth Amendment rights. Justice Michael Gableman of the Wisconsin Supreme Court described the seizure of Rindfleisch's communications as a "fishing expedition."
Three cases that would end the years-long "John Doe" investigations are awaiting rulings in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Emily Leayman is an intern at the Washington Examiner