NEW INFORMATION: Wis. ruling could dramatically affect campaign law

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge's decision to halt a secret investigation into illegal coordination between conservative groups and Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recent recall campaign could have far-reaching implications for campaign finance law.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa on Tuesday ordered prosecutors to halt their investigation.

That order was put on hold Wednesday by an appeals court. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said Randa should not have issued the order without waiting for it to decide another appeal in the case.

Prosecutors leading the secret probe say if his decision stands, it would allow independent groups that don't have to disclose their donors to collaborate with candidates who do. Candidates would then have access to vast amounts of money without voters ever knowing the source.
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has put on hold a judge's ruling that delivered a major victory to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The ruling Tuesday halted a secret investigation into Walker's 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported him. Prosecutors appealed that ruling Wednesday morning, and less than eight hours later the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago granted a stay.

The appeals court says U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa in Milwaukee should not have entered the preliminary injunction because the prosecutors had filed an appeal of an earlier decision that they were not immune from being sued.

The case against prosecutors was brought by the conservative group Wisconsin Club for Growth. The case has shadowed Walker as he runs for re-election and eyes a run for president.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker may have scored a major win in an ongoing court battle over his 2012 recall campaign but he says he doesn't view the victory as vindication.

Walker said Wednesday he'll leave it to others to parse the significance of Tuesday's ruling. He says he's just looking forward to getting back to governing.

A so-called John Doe investigation was looking into whether Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups. A federal judge halted the investigation Tuesday.

Walker says he can't comment much because he hasn't read the ruling. He says he expects the case will continue, but he's glad it seems to be approaching an end.

He also says he's accustomed to dealing with court challenges so he doesn't get too worked up about individual rulings.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin prosecutors have appealed a federal judge's decision to halt the investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and conservative groups that supported him.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday blocking the probe into whether Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with those groups about the spending. Randa also ordered prosecutors to destroy all their evidence.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to stay the injunction on Wednesday.

Chisholm argued that the order to destroy evidence conflicts is premature and Randa ignored a request for a hearing.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal court ruling halting an investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and other conservative groups that supported him is a major victory for the Republican as he faces re-election and a possible 2016 presidential run.

A judge on Tuesday issued an injunction ordering a stop to the investigation that has shadowed Walker as he runs for a second term with an eye toward national office.

Walker avoided being charged in a previous criminal investigation that targeted his former aides and associates. The second John Doe investigation was focused on fundraising and spending by his campaign and his allies.

Milwaukee attorney Mike Maistelman said Wednesday that Walker will be able to use the decision to argue that he was unjustly targeted by political enemies.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal judge has blocked a secret investigation into possible illegal coordination between conservative groups and recent recall campaigns in Wisconsin.

U.S. District Judge Rudoph Randa issued the preliminary injunction Tuesday.

The conservative organization Club for Growth filed a federal lawsuit in February, arguing the probe amounts to harassment and violates conservatives' free speech rights.

Randa agreed and ordered the prosecutors to stop conducting the so-called John Doe investigation. The judge also ordered the prosecutors to return all property seized in the investigation and to destroy all copies of information obtained in the probe.

Club for Growth lead attorney David Rivkin says the decision will help begin restoring the group's constitutionally protected rights.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm did not immediately respond to an email for comment Tuesday night.

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