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That hasn’t stopped the investigation, however, which has essentially silenced several advocacy groups, including the Wisconsin Club for Growth, and dried up contributions to others. In other words, the DA has managed to do just what Mr. Schumer wants to do nationally; namely, “shut them down.”

The state’s left-wing Center for Media and Democracy is the group that many believe convinced Milwaukee officials to go after more than a hundred people from almost 30 conservative and libertarian advocacy groups without finding anything. Still, partisan investigators rifled through files and forced their targets to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

CORRECTION: The Washington Times retracted the final two paragraphs of an earlier version of this op-ed, originally published on Feb. 17, 2014, because they contain erroneous information gleaned from prior news reports about the Center for Media and Democracy and its executive director, Lisa Graves.  Contrary to the article:

* Ms. Graves was not asked at a news conference why the Center was “urging an investigation of coordination among right-of-center groups when advocacy groups on the left also spent millions in the [Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker recall election.”  In fact, a reporter asked Ms. Graves why the public should be surprised that conservative funding groups are funding conservative causes in general, and did not refer to the Walker recall election.

 * Ms. Graves did not argue that government investigators had “no need to be even-handed because the left-leaning groups are doing good rather than evil” or that prosecutors should treat campaign funding groups of different ideologies differently.  She asserted instead that right-of-center contributors differ from at least some left-of-center funders by seeking to advance both ideological and their own corporate interests, and that the conservative groups generally do not identify their funding sources;

 * Ms. Graves was not questioned about and did not express support for “those seeking to regulate, harass and even prosecute right-of-center advocacy,” or to “jettison” the First Amendment or “shut down” those who disagree with any such persons;

* The Washington Times is not aware of any evidence that the Center for Media and Democracy directly persuaded or “convinced Milwaukee officials to go after more than a hundred people from almost 30 conservative and libertarian advocacy groups without finding anything.” 

David A. Keene is opinion editor of The Washington Times.