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Report: Wisconsin taxpayers have spent nearly $300k in John Doe probe

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin taxpayers have spent almost $300,000 to defend public officials sued by targets of the John Doe investigation into the state's recall elections.  

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the state has been paying for private lawyers to defend judges, prosecutors, and elections' officials sued by those seeking to halt the probe. And the price tag does not include a new lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Club for Growth this week against the state Government Accountability Board.  

The Journal Sentinel says the state Justice Department will not represent the elections' agency, because it could pose a conflict. That's because the justice agency is already representing the presiding judge in the John Doe, Greg Peterson.  

The two-year-old John Doe has been looking into alleged illegal coordination between outside groups and Republicans in the 2011 and '12 recall elections -- including Governor Scott Walker.  

A federal judge halted the Doe probe last month as part of a lawsuit alleging that the Club for Growth had its free speech rights violated.  

Talks are reportedly taking place to settle that suit, but a state suit to drop the John Doe is also pending.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)