Barrett demands Walker explain legal defense fund

Walker transfers $100,000 to legal defense fund

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants Republican Gov. Scott Walker to explain why he was allowed to create a defense fund in connection with a secret probe into his associates.

Barrett, a Democrat, is challenging Walker in a June 5 recall election. He sent the governor a letter Tuesday demanding Walker explain what’s going on.

The investigation has centered on people who worked for Walker during his stint as Milwaukee County executive. Five people have been charged; allegations range from campaigning on county time to embezzlement.

The governor hasn’t been charged and has said he isn’t the focus of the probe.

However, Walker has set up a legal defense fund — a move allowed only for officeholders who have been charged or are under investigation for election or campaign violations.

Walker said he has said all he can and that Democrats are using the issue as a distraction.

“I think it’s a bogus issue,” said Walker at a stop in Wauwatosa. “We’ve talked in every way. We’ve released all the information and we’ve done it without request.”

The attorney for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Barrett said voters deserve to know who allowed Walker to use their $60,000 to pay criminal defense lawyers and why.

“(Walker) stiffs the (Government Accountability Board) and the public with this generic lump sum entry on his campaign finance report and that report is specifically designed to give voters information they might want to consider in deciding who to vote for,” said Attorney Jeremy Levinson.

13410186

“(Walker) has repeatedly said he is not a target of the investigation, so if he’s not a target, then there’s no reason for him to withhold this important information,” Barrett said.

But the governor said he’s disclosed everything he needed to.

“(Barrett) is a lawyer. He knows the law better than I do, and the fact is that we’re complying with the law,” Walker said. “Nothing has changed, but that he’s trying to use this as a distraction.”

The governor would not say whether he would release names of the people who allowed him to transfer money to his defense fund.

A spokesman for the Government Accountability Board said finance laws allow Walker to make a general transfer of funds without disclosing specifically the donors the money is coming from.