Federal court lifts injunction in second Governor Walker “John Doe” investigation
MADISON (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court’s ruling halting an investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and more than two dozen conservative groups for alleged illegal campaign activity.
The ruling Wednesday, September 24th by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is a defeat for Walker and conservatives who argued they have done nothing wrong and the investigation is a partisan witch hunt.
Wisconsin Club for Growth and its director, Eric O’Keefe, sued in February to halt the investigation, arguing that it was a violation of their free speech rights.
A federal judge in May sided with the group, but the appeals court reversed that ruling saying the fight belongs in state courts.
The investigation remains effectively blocked, however, because of a state judge’s ruling in January.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm issued this statement on the ruling:
“The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed today that the federal lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Club for Growth should never have been filed. The Court recognized, as did our clients, that campaign disclosure requirements and limits on contributions to politicians are “useless” when campaigns – whether Democrat or Republican – tell wealthy contributors to divert money to “nominally independent groups that have agreed to do the campaigns’ bidding.” (Decision, p. 9) The decision confirms that the rich and powerful are not above the law and that the district court should not have entertained Mr. O’Keefe’s and the Club’s attempt to undermine the work of state prosecutors investigating whether a crime has occurred.”