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Sen. Tiffany Says John Doe Bill Will Increase Transparency


One of the author's of a change in Wisconsin's John Doe investigation law says from his perspective, the bill will increase transparency. Both the Assembly and Senate committees have passed the changes proposed. The John Doe statutes grant extraordinary powers to investigators to compel testimony and maintain secrecy. Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst says the changes are designed to increase transparency in government while not taking away the John Doe authority...

"....one of the federal circuit court judges in Chicago said your John Doe law is 'screamingly unconstitutional" because of the gag order it puts on witnesses. In other words, they can't talk about it...."

Tiffany says the District Attorneys would like to keep the John Doe law but Tiffany says it is being "pulled back" where it can be used. He says the primary benefit is in drug cases and will be used in only certain felony cases.

Critics say changing the law is merely an attempt to keep politicians from having to face questions on unethical or illegal behavior. Tiffany disputes that, saying there are a number of ways to charge politicians without using John Doe. He says under the current law, legislators would be forced to be quiet, while the new bill wouldn't require that. The bill will be considered in a few days.

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