Secret subpoenas. Police raids on consultants holding records of political groups. Suspects kept from contacting attorneys. Federal judge Rudolph Randa brought all this to a screeching halt in Wisconsin yesterday with a sweeping order ending the “John Doe” probe into the recall election of Governor Scott Walker. “This cannot square with the First Amendment.” Randa said of the investigation, and perhaps a few other clauses in the US Constitution as well:
A federal judge ordered a halt to the controversial John Doe investigation into campaign spending and fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and other conservative groups during the high-profile recall elections.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued the 26-page decision late Tuesday, calling on prosecutors to immediately stop the long-running, five-county probe into possible illegal coordination among the various groups during 2011 and 2012.
“The Defendants must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation,” Randa wrote.