MILWAUKEE – The secret John Doe investigation into then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s former staff members has become an issue in the recall election. Milwaukee County prosecutors have charged three ex-Walker aides, one appointee and a major campaign donor. Walker has set up a legal defense fund, and now the Democratic candidate for governor, Tom Barrett, is asking Walker to explain why.
“He is the only governor that has a criminal defense fund. I demand that he tell the voters of this state who is paying those criminal defense bills,” Barrett said.
Walker would not reveal the reason he has a criminal defense fund.
“He is stonewalling this state. To allow this governor to skate through this election and not answer that question I think is appalling,” Barrett said.
Walker wouldn’t answer why he he has the fund — instead saying the question itself is a distraction.
“It’s like a shotgun approach. They’ll bring up any and every issue other than what voters care about which I think is jobs and taxes. They want to talk about anything else,” Walker said.
Walker has said he is not the target of the investigation, but under state law, only those elected officials who are charged with a crime or under investigation can set up legal defense funds. Walker says he set up the fund under the guidance of the Government Accountability Board.
The Democratic Party filed a request with the GAB to release all of its communication with Walker.
“I don’t think they’re going to do anything because there’s no merit to it. It’s nothing more than a cheap political stunt. We see it routinely. There’s no merit to it, and it’s not even worth discussing any more than that,” Walker said.
The GAB will meet for the final time prior to the June 5th recall election on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Madison.