MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice will likely convene a grand jury to investigate a leak of evidence collected during a secret investigation into whether Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign circumvented state campaign finance law, Attorney General Brad Schimel said Thursday.
Schimel told the Wisconsin State Journal that the leak investigation would be best suited to the “protected environment” of a closed courtroom where prosecutors can ask questions and develop information.
The grand jury would investigate a leak to the Guardian US, which published hundreds of sealed documents in September from a so-called John Doe investigation into how Walker raised millions of dollars for a supposedly independent group to help win his 2012 recall. Wisconsin’s John Doe law allowed secret probes into misconduct by public officials until the Republican-controlled Legislature repealed it.
The U.S. Supreme Court in October left in place a year-old decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that shut down the probe of Walker.
The grand jury plan comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court last month rejected Schimel’s request to appoint a court official known as a “special master” to investigate. Schimel said a grand jury requires “more logistics” than using a special master. He offered to provide investigatory support and legal advice for the grand jury probe.
Schimel said he was unsure of when the grand jury would be convened.
A Guardian spokesman declined to comment on the matter.
In response to the Guardian report, Democrats called for an investigation into Walker’s fundraising activities, while Republicans called for an investigation into the leak.