Supreme Court Declines to Re-Open Walker Recall Election Campaign Probe
MADISON, Wis. -- The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Oct. 3 to reopen a long-stalled investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 campaign against a recall effort, permanently ending a probe that had dogged the Republican even as he launched a brief presidential bid last year.
Last year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down the so-called John Doe probe into whether Walker illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups.
Walker, who won re-election in 2014 and is up for a third term in 2018, declined immediate comment Monday through his spokesman Joe Fadness, the AP reported:
The governor, who had been working to prepare Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for the vice presidential debate on Tuesday, had no public events planned.
Prosecutors investigated whether Walker's campaign coordinated with Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups on advertising during the 2012 recall without reporting the groups' contributions. The recall itself stemmed from Walker's signature law that stripped public unions of nearly all of their bargaining rights.
Those groups challenged the investigation, which was conducted under Wisconsin's John Doe law that allowed secret probes into misconduct by public officials. The judge overseeing the case determined the activity in question wasn't illegal and effectively halted the investigation in 2014.
Conservative-leaning justices who control the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed and ended it last year. They ruled that the groups and the campaign's coordination on ads that don't expressly call for the election or defeat of a candidate amounts to free speech and isn't subject to disclosure requirements.
The Wisconsin Club for Growth, which fought the investigation, praised the court's decision to end it.
"From its inception, this proceeding was a politically motivated attack and a criminal investigation in search of a theory," said the group's president Eric O'Keefe in a prepared statement. He called for documents seized during the investigation to be given back.