Supreme Court Won’t Reopen Investigation Into Wisconsin Governor

The criminal campaign finance investigation of Scott Walker is officially over.

Dennis Van Tine/Sipa/AP

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The US Supreme Court on Monday officially put an end to any possibility that Wisconsin could reopen an investigation into criminal campaign finance allegations against Gov. Scott Walker. The court let stand a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision last year that shut down an investigation into allegations that Walker, a Republican, had illegally coordinated campaign spending with outside groups during the 2012 recall campaign against him.

The state Supreme Court stopped the investigation into the alleged violations after several conservative elected judges refused to recuse themselves from the proceedings, despite having benefited from outside election spending by many of the same groups that were accused of illegal coordination with Walker’s campaign. Prosecutors even suspected one of those judges of having committed the same illegal campaign finance violations that Walker was accused of. (Read Mother Jonesexplanation of the investigation and its causes and our examination of the conflict of interest that led to the recusal conflict.)

The prosecutors appealed the state court’s decision, arguing that those judges should have recused themselves. But on Monday, the US Supreme Court upheld the state court’s ruling. Because the US high court has just eight members following the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia, it’s possible that the court deadlocked on a 4-4 vote, allowing the lower-court ruling to stand. The court did not specify the vote tally in its decision or release any explanation of its ruling.

Documents leaked this month to the Guardian gave credence to the allegations against Walker by showing him soliciting large corporate checks from conservative billionaire donors. While the Supreme Court has now prevented state prosecutors from reopening the old investigation into Walker’s campaign, state legislators have called on them to launch a new investigation based on the information in the leaked documents. So it’s possible that Monday’s Supreme Court decision may offer Walker only a temporary victory.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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