MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Taxpayers have paid nearly $900,000 in legal fees related to the John Doe investigation of coordinated campaign efforts between the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters, according to a newspaper report.
According to the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office, current caps negotiated with the private law firms allow the state to spend up to about $1.1 million, the Capital Times reported. The caps have been increased as costs rise.
Figures released Thursday by the governor’s office show the state has so far paid $890,256 to private law firms.
The John Doe probe is investigating coordinated campaign activity between the governor’s campaign and outside groups. Prosecutors say the coordination was illegal, but Walker and the conservative groups say it wasn’t and they have portrayed the investigation as politically motivated.
One of those groups, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, filed the lawsuit. The investigation is currently on hold after a federal judge ruled that some campaign coordination is legal, although his ruling could be overturned on appeal.
The Club for Growth also filed a state lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board, which is charged with enforcing the state’s election laws. Future litigation relating to both lawsuits will push up legal costs.
Reserve Judge Gregory Peterson, who is overseeing the John Doe investigation, is being represented by the state Department of Justice.
But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said the department will not represent other defendants in the federal lawsuit, which is aimed at ending the John Doe probe. So Walker’s office has hired outside attorneys for the other officials named in the lawsuit.
Information from: The Capital Times, http://www.madison.com/tct