EAU CLAIRE, WI (WTAQ) - A reserve judge from Eau Claire has been named the new presiding judge in a John Doe probe reportedly connected to campaign funding for the state's recall elections.
Former circuit and appellate judge Gregory Peterson confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he replaced retired Kenosha judge Barbara Kluka in the secret investigation. He refused to say anything else.
Kluka withdrew, but it's not known why.
A John Doe allows prosecutors to gather evidence secretly by calling witnesses and issuing subpoenas for exhibits.
The Journal Sentinel says the problem is exploring whether conservative groups illegally coordinated with GOP candidates in the recall efforts against state senators and Governor Scott Walker in 2011 and '12.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week said two John Doe subpoenas demanded communication records with 29 conservative groups -- including the Walker re-election campaign, the Republican Governors Association, and the state's largest business group.
Republicans have told the Journal Sentinel the probe seems to be a fishing expedition, because no Democrats appear to be targeted.