The Wisconsin Club for Growth is targeting the state Government Accountability Board, in the latest lawsuit filed in efforts to stop a John Doe probe into the state’s recall elections. The conservative group filed a lawsuit Friday morning in Waukesha County Circuit Court, which claims the GAB exceeded its authority by endorsing a two-year-old probe launched by state prosecutors and seeks to have the agency removed from the investigation.
A federal judge temporarily halted the John Doe probe twice this month, agreeing that prosecutors were interfering with the group’s right to free speech. The Club for Growth said it was told to stay quiet, as prosecutors investigated whether that group and others illegally coordinated with the campaigns of GOP recall targets, including Governor Scott Walker’s campaign. Prosecutors are appealing the rulings from Federal Judge Rudolph Randa.
In Friday’s filing, the Club for Growth claims the GAB’s use of a John Doe has created a “Frankenstein monster,” by grafting its existing powers from civil enforcement of campaign finance laws to powers borrow from the John Doe statute. The group argues that has destroyed vital procedural protections and created a creature that’s “terrible to behold: a creature that covertly collects sensitive information on political activities that do not – and cannot – constitute a crime, all the while maintaining a nearly impenetrable shield of secrecy. Most troubling of all, the monster is fed by taxpayer dollars that were never intended for this purpose.”
A spokesman for the GAB declined to comment on the lawsuit.