CHICAGO-A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court's ruling halting an investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and more than two dozen conservative groups for alleged illegal campaign activity.
The Chicago Tribune called Wednesday's ruling a defeat for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and conservatives who say they have done nothing wrong and likened the John Doe investigation to a witch hunt.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned a lower court's ruling that stopped the investigation into campaign activity.
Earlier this summer, Federal Judge Rudolph Randa ordered the probed stopped and the evidence destroyed.
Now the appellate court has overrule Randa, calling his decision \"an abuse of discretion.\"
Since 2012, prosecutors have been looking into whether the Governor's campaign illegally coordinated with state conservative groups in court to raise huge amounts of money and circumvent campaign laws.
Governor Walker was in Milwaukee when the ruling came out and downplayed the significance of the ruling, rightly pointing out that there's still an appeal pending in state court.
In January, reserve Judge Gregory Peterson said prosecutors had failed to show that crime was committed.
But prosecutors involved in the probe have appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and that appeal is pending.
The Wisconsin Club for Growth attorney David B. Rivkin and director Eric O'Keefe issued a joint statement:
“The Seventh Circuit’s decision today, while disappointing, does not revive the John Doe investigation, which John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson found violated state law. It does not lend any support to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s allegations against the Wisconsin Club for Growth, given that he has failed to identify a single advertisement by the Club that was coordinated with Scott Walker or even had anything to do with Walker’s campaign. And it does not alter our resolve. We will ask the Seventh Circuit to correct today’s mistaken decision, and we will continue to fight this abuse of government power.
“Today’s decision does not honor a federal court’s duty to vindicate and protect Americans’ rights under the U.S. Constitution. The Wisconsin Club for Growth and Eric O’Keefe did not only challenge a subpoena or a John Doe proceeding—as the Seventh Circuit assumed—but a years’ long campaign of harassment and intimidation by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to retaliate against the Club, Mr. O’Keefe, Wisconsin conservatives, and Governor Scott Walker. According to a whistle blower who worked under Chisholm, the District Attorney declared it his 'personal duty to stop Walker' and undermine Walker’s economic reforms—a vow that led to his targeting nearly the entirety of Wisconsin’s conservative movement. The Seventh Circuit’s view that a federal court is powerless to enjoin this blatant abuse of prosecutorial power in violation of citizens’ First Amendment rights is simply wrong.”