In the wake of the Wisconsin case, and in the arguments more generally about “’coordination,” it has been suggested that not too much should be made of the dangers of criminal investigation in campaign finance cases. Hard-charging investigative techniques employed in the service of creative theories of liability are staples of white-collar criminal enforcement. Why, critics such as Rick Hasen ask, should campaign finance law enforcement be different?
The question of whether criminal campaign finance investigations are just like any other is worth careful consideration, detached from a lively, high-stakes conflict like Wisconsin’s. The federal experience is instructive.