Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) has confirmed that state Department of Justice staff are not participating in the apparent investigation of former aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), from Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive — but says it was by the “mutual agreement” of both his office and the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office.
Van Hollen’s comments follow a report that his office had declined a request for assistance from the Milwaukee District Attorney’s office.
“The actual decision came down to very legitimate legal and logistical ones,” Van Hollen told ABC affiliate in Madison. “Once this is all completed and the information comes out, it’ll be very clear why our decision was made.”
When the station’s reporter asked whether the fact that both Van Hollen and Walker are Republicans played into his decision, Van Hollen responded: “Politics never plays a role in any of the decisions we make at the Department of Justice.”
The “John Doe” investigation — a secret proceeding in which witnesses can be subpoenaed to testify under oath, but are forbidden from talking publicly about the case — is reported to have originally stemmed from a staffer resigning in 2010, when she was found using her county time to post reader comments on online newspaper article promoting Walker’s gubernatorial candidacy and criticizing his opponents.
Last week, former Walker aide Cynthia Archer’s home was raided by the FBI, though she has denied any connection with the John Doe investigation.