The state Supreme Court will not reconsider its decision to end a John Doe investigation into Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and conservative groups.
In a 4-1 decision, justices stood by their July ruling ordering an end to the probe. The court also found that special prosecutor Francis Schmitz was improperly appointed to oversee the investigation, and ordered him to stop working on the case and for evidence seized in the case to be returned.
Prosecutors were looking into possible illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and conservative groups during the 2012 recall elections, but the court ruled earlier this year that state campaign finance laws do not prohibit that activity.
The case could still be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the clerk of courts will be able to keep copies of evidence until that process is complete.
Schmitz indicated Wednesday that he does plan to appeal. In a statement, he 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.”
Governor Walker also responded to the decision, telling reporters in Madison that “years ago, I said at the end that the process would validate what we’d said all along…and this is one more instance where they validated what we said all along.”