May 7, 2014

FEDERAL JUDGE SMACKS DOWN JOHN DOE INVESTIGATION IN WISCONSIN. This was the secret investigation into conservative groups whose political speech in issue ads helped Governor Scott Walker in his recall campaign. The judge cited some crazy thing called “free speech.” Imagine! Just when the investigation was squelching the Club for Growth’s fundraising in an election year, intimidating the local conservatives, some busy-body federal judge waltzes in and says it’s “unconstitutional.” Have you ever heard of such a thing?

ADDED: From the district court opinion:

The current John Doe investigation has devastated [the ability of Eric O’Keefe, director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth] to undertake issue advocacy with WCFG. O’Keefe Dec., ¶ 40. O’Keefe lost most of his fundraising abilities for the Club immediately because: (1) it would be unethical to raise money without disclosing that he is a target in a criminal investigation; (2) it would be unwise for prospects to invest the time required for them to independently evaluate any risks; (3) the secrecy order purports to bar O’Keefe from disclosing the facts of the investigation and the reasons he believes that WCFG is not guilty of any crimes; and (4) O’Keefe cannot assure donors that their information will remain confidential as prosecutors have targeted that information directly. As a result, O’Keefe estimates that the Club has lost $2 million in fundraising that would have been committed to issue advocacy. Id., ¶ 49.