A conservative group has filed a federal lawsuit to try and shut down a John Doe probe into alleged Republican campaign abuses during the recall elections of 2011 and 2012.
The Wisconsin Club for Growth filed the complaint in federal court in Milwaukee. It alleges that the investigation violates the group’s right to free speech and equal legal protections. Critics of the investigation have said that Republicans are being singled out, and the court filing offers examples of number of situations where Democrat-aligned groups have had campaign activity ignored by prosecutors and state enforcement agencies.
Media reports have indicated that the probe involves alleged ties between conservative groups and GOP recall campaigns, including Governor Scott Walker’s campaign. It’s against the law for candidates and outside groups to coordinate their campaign efforts.
Today’s lawsuit is the second effort to shut down the John Doe. The first came last fall, when a state appellate court rejected a request by three unnamed plaintiffs to end the John Doe for procedural reasons.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm took over the probe, after state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to head it. Chisholm is one of the defendants in the new lawsuit, along with presiding Judge Gregory Peterson, special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, the DA’s assistants Bruce Landgraf and David Robles, and investigator Dean Nickel.