A special prosecutor running a John Doe investigation surrounding Wisconsin’s recall elections argued Governor Scott Walker was taking part in a “criminal scheme” designed to get around Wisconsin election laws.
The documents were released Thursday as part of an ongoing federal lawsuit against the probe, which is investigating whether third party groups and Republican candidates illegally coordinated their efforts during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Several of the conservative groups targeted by the investigation filed a lawsuit that contends prosecutors were violating their First Amendment rights. A federal judge halted the probe earlier this year and prosecutors are currently appealing that decision.
Documents tied to the case were unsealed by a federal appeals court. They include a filing written by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, which details an email sent by Walker to Republican strategist Karl Rove. In it, Walker writes about the importance of R.J. Johnson in running efforts to coordinate groups. “Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like running 9 Congressional markets in every market in the state.”
Prosecutors claimed that the Wisconsin Club for Growth acted as a hub between the campaign and third party groups. They allege that, as early as March of 2011, there were “open and express discussions of the need to coordinate the activities of entities,” such as Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Friends of Scott Walker, and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
No charges have been filed as a result of the John Doe investigation, which remains on hold because of an ongoing federal challenge. A federal judge earlier this year ruled that the coordination identified by prosecutors did not break the law, in an opinion similar to one issued by a state judge previously. Prosecutors have appealed those decisions.
Walker’s campaign released a statement late Thursday afternoon, which says “The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Democrat District Attorney by me or by my campaign is categorically false. In fact two judges, in both state and federal courts, have ruled that no laws were broken. This is nothing more than a partisan investigation with no basis in state law. It’s time for the prosecutors to acknowledge both judge’s orders to end this investigation.”