MADISON, Wis. — A year ago, the only mention of a secret John Doe investigation  in Wisconsin was mostly from disgruntled liberals grumbling that fellow Democrat, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, hadn’t been able to indict Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

In early March 2013, Chisholm had officially shut down a nearly three-year probe into former aides and associates of Walker that began when Walker was Milwaukee County executive. That investigation ended with relatively little to show for its exhaustive, meandering efforts. The court-administered dragnet picked up six convictions, only two that had anything to do with the original scope of the John Doe — the pilfering of cash from a county veterans’ fund. And those allegations were brought to the DA by Walker’s staff.

But little did anybody know, save the Milwaukee County prosecutors and perhaps some of the conservatives they were targeting, that Chisholm had never really stopped looking at Walker. He had, in fact, opened a second John Doe in August 2012.