(Adds plaintiff claims, background on earlier secret probe, in
By Brendan O'Brien
MILWAUKEE Feb 10 A conservative organization in
Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit against state investigators on
Monday, saying its members' civil rights were violated during an
ongoing secret probe into campaign financing, court documents
The Wisconsin Club for Growth filed the lawsuit in U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, accusing
investigators of violating its members' freedom of speech and
association and equal protection rights.
The organization is asking the court to halt the 17-month
probe into what the Wall Street Journal has described as claims
of illegal coordination between conservative special interest
groups and political campaigns.
The group contends in the complaint that investigators have
infringed on its members' civil rights by sidelining them from
political activities during the 2014 legislative and election
cycles due to the probe.
It charges the current investigation and an earlier secret
probe were politically driven, noting that both were initiated
by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat.
The current investigation is the second such probe Chisholm
has aimed at conservatives since Republican Governor Scott
Walker took office in 2011.
The first investigation began in May 2010 and resulted in
charges filed against six people, including four of Walker's
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and