Steven Biskupic, an attorney who has represented Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, was named in a court order Thursday as an attorney in a case challenging the ongoing secret investigation into possible illegal campaigning during the recalls against Walker and others in 2011 and 2012.
The order, issued Thursday by 4th District Court of Appeals Judge Brian Blanchard, also revealed that the number of unnamed parties challenging the secret probe has grown from three to eight.
The order, largely procedural, reveals that John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz is asking the appeals court to take unspecified action involving a decision by Judge Gregory Peterson, who is overseeing the five-county probe, including Dane County.
A message left with Friends of Scott Walker asking whether the governor’s campaign was one of the eight unnamed respondents challenging the probe was not immediately returned.
The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Peterson had quashed subpoenas in that investigation and ordered confiscated property to be returned. But it was unknown whether that was the decision referenced by the order issued Thursday by Blanchard in the sealed case.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Walker’s campaign, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the Wisconsin Club for Growth, and Citizens for a Strong America, their officers and directors had been subpoenaed.
According to the newspaper — which had obtained a copy of the sealed subpoena and the judge’s order quashing it — the prosecutor was seeking records and fundraising information related to recall campaigns in 2011 and 2012.
In its last campaign-finance statement, Friends of Scott Walker reported paying Biskupic’s firm $86,000 in legal fees. Asked earlier this month whether the payments were related to the John Doe probe, the governor responded, “I’m not getting into the details of it.”
Biskupic is the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
According to court records and media reports, the probe launched in Milwaukee County centers on possible illegal coordination between an unidentified political campaign and unnamed conservative and Republican groups involved in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections targeting Walker and several state senators.
Unsuccessful in early appeals, two unnamed challengers to the John Doe investigation also have sent a direct appeal to the state Supreme Court.