Supreme Court rules 4-2 to end John Doe probe into Walker recall campaign in 2012
The Wisconsin Supreme Court puts an end to the secret probe into possible election law violations during the Scott Walker recall campaign of 2012.
The vote was 4-2. The majority calling the investigation \"overly broad\" and said it infringed first amendment free speech rights.
Justice Michael Gableman, writing for the majority wrote, \"It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.\"
\"Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation,\" Gableman wrote.
The court also said property seized must be returned to its owners and any copies must be destroyed.
Justices David Prosser, Patience Roggensack, Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman supported the decision. Ann Walsh Bradley didn't participate in the case.
The investigation was looking into allegation that campaign donation limits were skirted by urging supporters to give money to outside groups.
Justice Shirley Abrahamson disagreed writing in part that \"The majority opinion will deny the people of this state the opportunity to determine once and for all whether the targets of the John Doe investigation are guilty of systematically violating Wisconsin's campaign finance law through undisclosed campaign coordination.\"
Governor Walker has been dogged for months by allegations that his recall campaign and several conservative groups were working in tandem, which is illegal.
It is welcome news for Walker who just launched his presidential campaign.
\"The bottom line is we said all along that the courts would ultimately rule on the side of the original circuit court judge,\" Walker said Thursday. \"We are confident, as folks in Wisconsin will tell you, I've gone through these battles so many times, I don't get too up or too down. I'm pretty even keeled on all this. So we are pleased.\"
Jay Heck with the non-partisan group Common Cause Wisconsin also issued a statement. \"The decision could conceivably now lead to unlimited coordination between outside spending groups with candidate committees and effectively render contribution limits meaningless in Wisconsin.\"