MADISON, Wisconsin — A Wisconsin appeals court refused Friday to halt a secret investigation that reportedly involves Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and conservative groups.
Attorneys Dean Strang and Matthew O'Neill filed motions with the appeals court earlier this week on behalf of three unnamed petitioners seeking to stay the probe.
The 4th District Court of Appeals denied the request Friday, rejecting the attorneys' arguments that the reserve judge overseeing the investigation has no authority to run such a probe and the judge improperly circumvented the clerks of court system by requiring that documents be sent to a post office box.
Strang and O'Neill didn't immediately return messages.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Walker's campaign and more than two dozen conservative groups have been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor seeking records and fundraising information related to a series of recall attempts in 2011 and 2012 that targeted Walker and Republican state senators.
It's unknown whether special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, a former assistant U.S. attorney, is also looking at Democrats and their supporters.
Both sides combined spent more than $137 million on the 15 recall races in 2011 and 2012, based on an analysis done by the independent group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the new probe six months ago, saying the investigation was following up on leads obtained during an earlier John Doe investigation that resulted in the conviction of three former Walker aides, a Walker appointee and major campaign donor.
John Doe probes are essentially the state equivalent of a federal grand jury probe.