Gov. Walker Calls State Investigation A ‘Sidebar Issue’

AP

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday declined to tell The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel whether he, his attorneys, or any of his staff members have been contacted by an ongoing investigation into state issues.

“In terms of a lot of the questions regarding that issue, I really don’t have a lot to say,” Walker told the newspaper during a public event. “I’m going to stay focused, as I am today, on helping the people of this state create more jobs, create more opportunity and balance the budget, as we have.”

The Journal Sentinel first reported on Monday about the secret investigation, which is being led by Francis Schmitz, a former assistant U.S. attorney who has been appointed as a special prosecutor. According to the Journal Sentinel, the investigation — which began in February 2012 — is looking at a number of issues, including the 2011 recall races, a current legislative leader, and the 2012 gubernatorial recall contest between Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

On Monday, Walker suggested that news of the investigation — which he called a “sidebar issue” — may have broken this week for political reasons.

“From our standpoint, we assume with there now officially being a candidate for governor on the Democrat side, there are going to be stories like this coming out — in some ways, I think, distracting from our good work on improving the economy and providing $100 million worth of tax relief,” the first-term GOP governor said.

The Journal Sentinel also reported on Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R ) had refused to answer questions about the investigation. 

“I can’t comment on it,” Fitzgerald said.

A message left by TPM with Fitzgerald’s office on Monday was not returned.

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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