Wisconsin Prosecutors Appeal the Walker John Doe to the United States Supreme Court 

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court shut down the Scott Walker John Doe case in July 2015, with an unprecedented order blowing up Wisconsin campaign finance law, firing the Republican Special Prosecutor and ordering the destruction of all evidence, Wisconsin prosecutors had only one appeal--to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yesterday, three Wisconsin prosecutors filed their petition with nation's top court arguing that Wisconsin Justices Michael Gableman and David Prosser should have recused themselves from the decision because the same groups under investigation, including Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce—spent millions to elect them.

They also argue that the state court ruling was in conflict with prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings:

"A candidate-controlled expenditure by a third party for an issue advertisement promoting the candidate is not "independent" speech. Beginning with Buckley v. Valeo, the Court has often stated that candidate-controlled expenditures by third parties are properly treated as campaign contributions since they are "disguised contributions."

Prosecutors said that the Scott Walker John Doe "represents the most extreme form of coordination conduct. The candidate's key principals were one and the same with the third party 501(c)."

This is a reference to Walker aide R.J. Johnson, who was a top advisor both to the Waker campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth at the same time.

The dark money groups at the heart of the investigation have not given up and are also preparing to engage Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm in his re-election campaign this August, CMD reported yesterday. 

You can access the petition for writ of certiorari, part of which has been redacted by prosecutors, here and below. Rick Hansen of the respected Election Law Blog says: "Never before have I seen a cert. petition with even parts of the questions presented redacted."

You can find all the other publicly available John Doe court documents here, and read CMD's reporting on the John Doe here

PDF icon Redacted petition3.57 MB
Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


Shouldn't ordering the destruction of all evidence be included? That is an action that should be illegal on its own merits.

This case is not just about political expenditures, it is also about judicial corruption. It is beyond blatant here.