Francis Schmitz

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Francis Schmitz is an experienced federal prosecutor known for his role as the appointed Special Prosecutor spearheading the "John Doe II" investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign committee and "independent" dark money groups.[1][2] The John Doe II investigation began in February 2012, and is the second John Doe investigation involving Governor Scott Walker. The first netted six convictions of former Walker staff and associates.

Biography

Legal Background

Francis Schmitz is an attorney in the state of Wisconsin, admitted to practice in 1983.[3] He has a B.A. from St. Norbert College, an M.B.A. from Southern Illinois University, and a J.D. from Marquette University.[4]

Schmitz began his legal career as a clerk for federal Judge John Coffey, a Reagan appointee described as "an unyielding conservative" by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.[5][6] Schmitz has been an Assistant United States Attorney, a federal prosecutor, in Wisconsin for over thirty years, specializing in criminal and counterterrorism cases.[7] Schmitz was the National Crisis Management Coordinator for the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice's National Security Division.[8] Schmitz provided "leadership, direction, and guidance to the Department's crisis response initiatives, including the Department's and the nation's overall preparedness to respond to terrorist acts and other critical events."[9] In 2007, he represented the Department of Justice in more than 10 national and international terrorism exercises, participating in the planning for many of these exercises.[10]

Schmitz has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Justice, including the prestigious "U.S. Attorney General's Award from Distinguished Service" from Republican Michael Mukasey for his work in 2007.[11][12]

Schmitz is a retired military veteran who rose to the rank of Colonel in the United States Army.[13] Schmitz also served in the U.S. Army reserve.[14]

Republican Credentials

Although critics of the John Doe II investigation have tried to paint it as a "partisan witch hunt" with a "retaliatory motive," the probe is led by Schmitz, a Republican.

"I voted for Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin's 2012 gubernatorial recall election," he wrote in a declaration filed in federal court in April of 2014. "I generally supported the Governor's efforts to balance the State budget." [15][16][17]

Schmitz also was one of the final three candidates chosen by President George W. Bush to become the top federal prosecutor in the state as U.S. Attorney.[18]

Schmitz participated in the investigation of threats against Scott Walker during Walker's recall election while Schmitz was at the U.S. Department of Justice.[19]

John Doe II

The second John Doe investigation linked to Scott Walker, also known as John Doe II, was launched in 2012, with the participation of a bipartisan group of district attorneys in five counties.[20]

Because the investigation spans five counties -- thanks to a GOP law requiring campaign finance violations be prosecuted in the county where the offender resides -- the Republican and Democratic prosecutors leading the investigation petitioned Judge Kluka to appoint Schmitz as Special Prosecutor. "Democratic prosecutors will be painted as conducting a partisan witch hunt and Republican prosecutors will be accused of 'pulling punches,'" the five District Attorneys wrote in an August 2013 letter to the Court. "An independent Special prosecutor having no partisan affiliation addresses the legitimate concerns about the appearance of impropriety."

[21]

Calling Walker a Liar

Schmitz made headlines after responding to allegations made by Governor Scott Walker in a 2015 interview with an Iowa radio station when Walker called the John Doe investigation a "political witch hunt."[22][23] Schmitz stated that "these recent allegations are patently false" and that Walker's comments are "offensive when he knows that the investigation was authorized by a bipartisan group of judges and is directed by a Republican Special Prosecutor appointed at the request of a bipartisan group of district attorneys."[24] Schmitz then called upon Walker to join him in seeking judicial approval to unseal documents in the John Doe II investigation.[25]

Resources on the John Doe

Center for Media and Democracy, CMD Reporting on Walker Dark Money Criminal Probe, September 2014.

  • See the newest reports from the Center for Media and Democracy and PRwatch.org on the long-running investigation into possible criminal campaign finance violations by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's campaign and "dark money" electoral nonprofit groups.

Center for Media and Democracy, The Assualt on Clean Election Laws: The Well-Funded Campaign to Legalize Coordination in Wisconsin and Nationwide, January 2015.

  • This special report corrects the record on the John Doe investigation and explains the threat it poses to the future of a representative and transparent democracy, in Wisconsin and across the country.

Center for Media and Democracy, CMD Files IRS Complaint Against Wisconsin Club for Growth, October 2014.

  • Complaint alleges group at center of Walker probe lied to IRS about political activity and violated its tax-exempt status, based on extensive new evidence.

Related Pages


References

  1. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  2. Rick Ungar, Special Prosecutor Named in Investigation Of Possible Criminal Activity Surrounding Scott Walker Recall Election, Forbes, October 24, 2013.
  3. Francis Schmitz, Lawyers.com, accessed June 15, 2015.
  4. Francis Schmitz, Lawyers.com, accessed June 15, 2015.
  5. Jan Uebelherr, Courtroom Revealed the Passionate Side of Judge Coffey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 13, 2012.
  6. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  7. Dave Umhoefer, Special Prosecutor Rejects Scott Walker's 'partisan' take on John Doe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 21, 2014.
  8. Acting Attorney General Honors Employees And Others At The Department of Justice's Annual Awards Ceremony, The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, October 2, 2007.
  9. Acting Attorney General Honors Employees And Others At The Department of Justice's Annual Awards Ceremony, The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, October 2, 2007.
  10. Acting Attorney General Honors Employees And Others At The Department of Justice's Annual Awards Ceremony, The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, October 2, 2007.
  11. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2015.
  12. Mary Bottari, Walker's Dark Money Allies Orchestrate Coup of the Courts, PRWatch.org, April 19, 2015.
  13. Mary Bottari, AG Candidate Supports Reforming John Doe Law to Protect Politicians, PRWatch.org, October 22, 2014.
  14. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, PRWatch.org, May 2, 2015.
  15. Brendan Fischer, Partisan Witchhunt Claims from Club for Growth Upended by New Court Filings, PRwatch.org, April 22, 2014.
  16. Mary Bottari, Walker's Dark Money Allies Orchestrate Coup of the Courts, PRWatch.org, April 19, 2015.
  17. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  18. Rick Ungar, Special Prosecutor Named in Investigation Of Possible Criminal Activity Surrounding Scott Walker Recall Election, Forbes, October 24, 2013.
  19. Mary Bottari, AG Candidate Supports Reforming John Doe Law to Protect Politicians, PRWatch.org, October 22, 2014.
  20. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  21. Dan Bice, Unsealed John Doe filings reveal roots of recall probe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 3, 2014.
  22. Mary Bottari, Walker's Dark Money Allies Orchestrate Coup of the Courts, PRWatch.org, April 19, 2015.
  23. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  24. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.
  25. Brendan Fischer, GOP Prosecutor Defends Scott Walker Criminal Probe, Says "Let's Get the Truth Out, PRWatch.org, May 1, 2015.