The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Wisconsin's John Doe case investigating coordination between Gov. Scott Walker's recall campaign and conservative groups that supported him.
The state Supreme Court shut down the probe last summer in a 4-2 ruling. The state court said outlawing such coordination is "unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment."
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Iowa County District Attorney Larry Nelson asked the U.S. Supreme Court in April to review that decision.
The prosecutors argued, in part, that some of the justices who ruled in favor of shutting down the probe should have recused themselves since they had received donations from the groups being investigated.
"The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of the John Doe prosecutors’ appeal officially ends this case,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. "The people of Wisconsin and the John Doe targets are now finally allowed to put this unfortunate chapter behind them."
The court did not comment on its decision to reject the appeal.
"The United States Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and multiple judges have all reached the same conclusion with every ruling — that this investigation by prosecutors was without merit and thus must be ended," Walker said in a statement. "I applaud the individuals and organizations who fought for and successfully defended their First Amendment rights against political opponents who wanted to silence them."
In a joint statement, the three prosecutors said they are disappointed in the court's decision but proud of their efforts.
"We are proud to have taken this fight as far as the law would allow and we look forward to the day when Wisconsin adopts a more enlightened view of the need for transparency in campaign finance," they said.