A federal judge in Wisconsin has ordered the state prosecutor's office to stop its investigation into the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other allies of Republican Gov. Scott Walker for allegedly corrupt campaign financing practices during his 2011-2012 recall election. AlterNet reports: U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Randa, who has a long GOP pedigree, issued a 26-page ruling ordering prosecutors to immediately stop a years-long investigation into illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign, the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth, and other right-wing Walker allies during the state’s 2011-2012 recall elections. Those elections, which did not unseat Walker, came after he led a union-busting effort that stripped most state workers of collective bargaining rights… Randa ordered the investigation cease, all potential evidence be returned, and any materials gathered in the investigation destroyed. He also told the Wisconsin Club for Growth it did not have to cooperate with state prosecutors in any way—and said any pressure to do so “is grounds for a contempt finding by this Court.”Randa argued that the Wisconsin Club for Growth's circumvention of election laws intended to limit campaign spending and curb corruption "should be recognized as promoting free speech." He quoted the recent McCutcheon vs. FEC Supreme Court ruling, which overturned limits on donations by individuals to political parties, and wrote that such anti-corruption laws “may result in corruption of the First Amendment itself.”Investigators are appealing the decision, and a three-judge federal appeals court has stayed the ruling until it hears a full appeal.
Alex Kogan is a Spring 2014 editorial intern.