A special prosecutor hopes to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision that halted a secret investigation targeting Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups.
The state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to reconsider a decision from July halting the John Doe investigation, which was looking into suspected illegal coordination between conservative groups and Walker’s campaign during the 2012 recall election. Justices ruled earlier this year that state campaign finance laws do not prohibit that activity. In Tuesday’s ruling, they also ordered Schmitz removed from further proceedings related to the case, beyond returning evidence.
In a statement, Schmitz said he was disappointed with the decision, and vowed that he intends to pursue an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court, “if I have the resources.”
Schmitz said he continues to believe the investigation was justified and that voters have a right to know the identity of those making large donations or coordinating with campaigns. “The miscalculation I made in this investigation was underestimating the power and influence special interest groups have in Wisconsin politics,” Schmitz said. “My career in the military and as a federal prosecutor fighting violent criminals and terrorists did not fully prepare me for the tactics employed by these special interest groups.”
Several targets of the investigation, some of which have not been named, challenged the probe in federal and state courts. While the federal court system eventually overturned a ruling that halted the John Doe, the state case went on to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justices halted the investigation in July of this year. Schmitz said that “when sued in federal court…I, along other members of the investigative team, were vindicated by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. I intend to continue to pursue what I believe is the right course for those citizens of Wisconsin who do not have the financial resources to influence elections.”