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Report: Government Accountability Board authorized John Doe investigation

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  New court filings show that the state Government Accountability Board authorized the John Doe probe into Republican campaign activity in Wisconsin's recall elections.

Board investigator Dean Nickel filed a brief yesterday in support of the effort by prosecutors to keep the investigation going. One of the targets -- the Wisconsin Club for Growth -- is trying to snuff out the secret probe, saying it violates the group's constitutional rights to free speech and equal protections.

Last week, Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa refused to drop the group's lawsuit. Prosecutors have asked the federal appeals court in Chicago to review Randa's decision. Nickel's brief was among several filed in a bid to keep the secret John Doe probe going. He said the accountability board's 5-nothing approval -- as well as substantial evidence gathered so far -- refutes a quote, "witch-hunt theory" by the Club for Growth.

The investigation is looking into alleged illegal coordination between candidates and outside groups in the state's recall contests in 2011-and-12. Governor Scott Walker's camp is among those reportedly being investigated.