The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a decision that shut down a controversial investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s campaign, effectively ending it for good.
The probe was looking into whether Walker’s campaign illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups while trying to defend against a 2012 recall effort. The state Supreme Court ordered an end to it over a year ago, saying that no laws had been broken.
Prosecutors appealed that ruling, arguing that Justice Michael Gableman and former Justice David Prosser should have stepped aside because their campaigns benefited from work done by groups being investigated. The nation’s high court declined to hear the case on Monday, without comment.
Governor Scott Walker’s campaign released a statement later in the day:
“The United States Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and multiple judges have all reached the same conclusion with every ruling – that this investigation by prosecutors was without merit and thus must be ended. I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them.”
Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson, the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and the Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm – who filed the petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, released a statement following Monday’s decision.
“We are disappointed by today’s Supreme Court order denying our Petition for Certiorari. The state supreme court decision, left intact by today’s order, prohibits Wisconsin citizens from enacting laws requiring the full disclosure of disguised contributions to a candidate, i.e., monies expended by third parties at the direction of a candidate for the benefit of that candidate’s election. We are proud to have taken this fight as far as the law would allow and we look forward to the day when Wisconsin adopts a more enlightened view of the need for transparency in campaign finance.”
The ruling now triggers a standing state Supreme Court order that all evidence in the case still being held by prosecutors must be handed over and placed under seal by the court within 30 days.