Supreme Court rejects appeal to halt Walker investigation

WiG and AP reports

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning rejected a petition from conservative groups seeking to halt a probe into whether Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated activities with the Koch brothers’ Club for Growth and other “dark money” Republican organizations.

The right-wing groups seeking to end the investigation did not argue they were innocent of the charges, but rather that it infringed on their constitutional rights to free speech and free association.

Last week, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and four other journalism groups won a lengthy battle for access to documents concerning Walker’s second so-called John Doe probe. The first, which concerned his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, resulted in the conviction of several Walker staffers on charges of corruption, embezzlement and working on campaign activities while being paid by the government to do work for Milwaukee County.

The documents released last week show that Walker was planning to argue that his coordination with Club for Growth was not illegal because it happened before he was an officially declared candidate in his 2012 recall race.

The case now goes to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by the end of June whether the investigation can proceed. The court is almost certain to rule in Walker’s favor. Its conservative majority received millions of dollars in campaign donations from Club for Growth and some of the other same right-wing groups involved in Walker’s case.

The Republican lead investigator has called on the justices to recuse themselves from the case, but Chief Justice Patience Roggensack has ruled that justices don’t need to recuse themselves from cases in which there’s  a real or perceived conflict of interest, including campaign donations from one of the parties in a case.