February 8, 2016

Court filing shows elections agency approved John Doe probe

New court filings show that the state Government Accountability Board unanimously approved the John Doe probe into Republican campaign activity in Wisconsin’s recall elections.

Board investigator Dean Nickel filed a brief Tuesday in support of an effort by prosecutors to keep the investigation going. One of the targets, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, is trying to snuff out the secret probe, saying it violates the group’s constitutional rights to free speech and equal protections.

Last week, Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa refused to drop the group’s lawsuit. Prosecutors have asked the federal appeals court in Chicago to review Randa’s decision. Nickel’s brief was among several filed in a bid to keep the secret John Doe probe going. He said the accountability board’s 5-0 approval, along with the substantial evidence gathered so far, refutes any theories from the Club for Growth that the investigation is a partisan “witch-hunt.”

The investigation is looking into alleged illegal coordination between candidates and outside groups in the state’s recall elections in 2011 and 2012.

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