Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election, fought off questions today surrounding thousands of emails unsealed earlier this week that pertained to a probe examining his administration as Milwaukee County Executive.
As the National Governors Association began its winter meeting just blocks from the White House, Walker spoke with reporters about the controversy, which was revived Wednesday after a Wisconsin court released more than 27,000 emails from the closed criminal investigation.
While he refused to directly answer whether he ever knowingly utilized a secret wireless Internet router installed in the office with the apparent intent to hide communications from public access, the rising GOP star insisted that he does not mix political work with official business.
“I have an official account that I use for official business and I have a separate account that I use for political business,” Walker said. “I don’t mix the two.”
Asked whether he personally knew about the secret email system, Walker stressed that the investigation ended last March and he was cleared by a Democratic district attorney.
“I probably am one of the most scrutinized elected officials in the country,” Walker said. “They reviewed all of this and they ultimately closed the investigation as of last March and we’re confident going forward.”
The three-year investigation, now known as John Doe I, resulted in convictions of six individuals tied to Walker, including two former deputy chiefs of staff.
Democrats have attempted to tie Walker’s controversy to the ongoing troubles of two other prominent Republicans — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Walker has never been charged with any crime related to the scandal, but he said his political opponents are “getting a splash” because they want to introduce negativity into the Dairyland. Still, he said he is not fazed by the renewed interest in the controversy.
“What I think it is with the [Democratic National Committee], with others, both in the state and across the country is they desperately want something negative to happen in Wisconsin. You got a lot of naysayers that would love to see something bad happen in the state,” he said. “The reality is we’re going to stay focused on the things we were elected to do.”