For Immediate Release
Scott Blaine Swenson, 202 736-5713
Dale Eisman, 202 736-5788
Wisconsin Ruling Invites Onslaught of Special Interest Spending on State Politics
Statement by Jay Heck, Executive Director, Common Cause in Wisconsin
WASHINGTON - As expected, a highly compromised Wisconsin Supreme Court majority has issued a highly flawed decision today ending the John Doe investigation of possible illegal coordination between Governor Scott Walker and his 2011-2012 recall campaign with outside special interest groups. The decision should be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Unless it is successfully appealed, the decision could conceivably now lead to unlimited coordination between outside spending groups with candidate committees and effectively render contribution limits meaningless in Wisconsin. Unlimited money, much or most of it secret and from outside of Wisconsin, could now flow into Wisconsin and be coordinated by candidates with outside groups to influence the outcome of our elections. Wisconsinites would be relegated to the sidelines watching helplessly as unlimited, secret special interest money dictates the outcome of our elections and seizes complete control of our state government.
No federal court decision has ever permitted the type of candidate-outside group coordination that this completely compromised ruling seems to permit. Four of the justices of the court were the beneficiaries of dark money spent in their behalf and which was the heart of this case. They should have recused themselves and did not. The decision can and should be appealed.
Furthermore, by halting the investigation, Wisconsinites and the rest of the American people will never know if Scott Walker and his campaign engaged in illegal activity during 2011-2012 – information that is vital for the future of the state and nation.
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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.