Tim Russell, a former aide who has been described as “a strange mixture of Gordon Liddy and H.R. Haldeman to [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker’s Nixon,” was behind a leak of a document that indicated that Walker has been stonewalling an investigation into his time as Milwaukee County Executive.
“Today’s revelation removes any doubt that Scott Walker is the target of a criminal prosecution,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate, in a statement.
The revelation came out during Russell’s trial for the theft of tens of thousands of dollars from Operation Freedom, a charity honoring veterans.
Walker has always maintained that he was cooperative with the investigation, but the document indicated that Walker stonewalled prosecutors, prompting them to open a “John Doe” investigation into his office.
In the document, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf wrote, “It may be the County Executive’s Office is reluctant to provide information to investigators due to a fear of political embarrassment.”
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ciara Matthews, spokesperson for the Walker campaign, disputed the document’s veracity.
“Multiple follow-ups were made by [Walker's] chief of staff to the district attorney’s office to offer assistance in that investigation, and any statement to the contrary is not correct,” she said.
The fact that the document was leaked by a former aide, one who was very close to Walker, undermines that claim significantly.
The revelation comes on the eve of a recall election in which Walker faces the very real possibility of being removed from office. A recent poll by Public Policy Polling shows Walker holding a slim lead over his Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett.
Whether the revelation impacts the results of the election are unclear, but they lend credence to reports that Walker is himself a target of investigation, and that he could be indicted in a matter of months.
“If Republicans are wondering who is leaking information about crimes that Scott Walker may have committed, they need only look into their own house,” Tate said. “That Scott Walker’s longtime and closest political aide, who is charged with stealing from veterans, is the source of information undercutting Walker’s self-serving claims of cooperation shows with crystal clarity just why Wisconsin must remove Scott Walker from office tomorrow.”
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