Just when it looked like the dust was settling comes news that there is a continuing probe into political chicanery.
A former top-level assistant U.S. attorney has been appointed a special prosecutor in a burgeoning, secret investigation into a wide variety of state issues, including possible campaign violations during the recent recall elections, multiple sources said.
Francis Schmitz — who spent nearly 30 years as a federal prosecutor and was once a finalist for U.S. attorney in Milwaukee — is leading the widespread John Doe probe, according to sources.
Overseeing the case is Kenosha County Circuit Judge Barbara A. Kluka, who has been used by Milwaukee County judicial officials in past John Doe cases.
Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, whose office initiated the probe, declined to answer questions about the John Doe on Friday. Insiders said the investigation covers several jurisdictions, including Dane County. Police and prosecutors in these other counties have been lending a helping hand.
“It’s now spread to at least five counties,” said a source familiar with the probe, adding that Landgraf has been investigating “all over the place.”
It appears the state-related case opened in February 2012, meaning it was active at the same time as the one focusing on Walker’s county aides.
However, several sources said they became aware of the newer probe only in the past month and that much of the recent activity has taken place in Madison.
Sources familiar with the probe told the Journal Sentinel that it was scrutinizing a wide variety of state-related issues, including the recall races. Sources suggested the probe is looking at a current legislative leader and the governor’s contest.
“This is activity that occurred since the 2010 election,” said a source.
The legislative leader did not return calls on Sunday.