[Milwaukee, Wisc...] The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office has denied an open records request for the "total number of hours employees spent working on the John Doe investigation," because, they assert, no such document exists.
Deputy District Attorney James Martin told the MacIver Institute that the DA's office could not provide the information requested because under state law, their office is not required "create a new record for your benefit."
"The public records law 'does not require an authority to create a new record by extracting information from existing records and compiling the information in a new format,'" Martin said.
Martin said that the Milwaukee County DA's office does not keep an official tally of the number of man-hours spent on specific cases. This includes the nearly three-year long John Doe Investigation, which was mired in controversy and press leaks and failed to produce charges against Scott Walker, the current governor and former Milwaukee County executive who many believed to be the ultimate target of the probe.
"State and county employees in the Milwaukee County district attorney's office do not keep time records for work done on a particular investigation or prosecution."
The office does not keep track of its employees' time and does not keep track of the expenses during an investigation.
"Likewise, the district attorney's office does not charge operating expenses in the county accounting and purchasing system to a particular investigation or prosecution," said the letter from the prosecutor's office.
Given the response from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office, the total cost of the John Doe probe may never be known.
The MacIver News Service will continue its efforts to determine the total cost of the investigation which, while failing to produce any compelling evidence of wrongdoing by the governor, did result in charges against six other individuals.
District Attorney Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the John Doe Investigation on May 7, 2010, while then County Executive Walker was campaigning for Governor. The investigation began at the request of Walker when his office discovered financial inconsistencies in a Milwaukee County event for veterans.
The DA's office then continued to investigate the County Executive's office, seemingly looking for a connection to Walker. Despite public criticism from the governor's supporters, Chisholm continued the investigation for almost three years.
The case was officially closed on February 21, 2013.