By Mike Lowe
The recall election is June 5th -- just two weeks and one day away. Monday, May 21st, the candidates for governor exchanged jabs over the John Doe investigation. Tom Barrett wants Scott Walker to release information, while Walker calls that request a sign of desperation.
There is no evidence that Walker is directly involved in criminal activity, but Barrett says the revelations and subsequent charges against some of Walker's top aides while he served as Milwaukee's County Executive raise serious questions that Barrett says should be answered before voters in Wisconsin take to the polls.
Barrett demands that Governor Walker release all information related to the John Doe investigation -- including more than 1,000 emails that were sent through a secret internet system set up near Walker's office when he was serving as Milwaukee's County Executive.
"Governor Walker must release these e-mails to the public because the people have a right to know before the election," Barrett said.
"The bottom line is, my integrity. I've always had high standards. In the state Assembly, in my time as a County Executive, and as governor. I continue to have those high standards. Anytime something's been brought to my attention that my staff in any way violates that, I've taken swift action and the facts are very clear with that," Walker said.
One email from Walker became public in the criminal complaint filed against Kelly Rindfleisch, who was Walker's deputy chief of staff. Walker wrote to another staff member: "We cannot afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, etc."
"Questions swirl around the investigation. We know there's a criminal defense fund. We know he has spent thousands of dollars. He has said he would cooperate with the district attorney, but there are thousands of e-mails the public hasn't seen," Barrett said.
This week, the Barrett campaign started running TV ads focusing on the John Doe investigation.
"This original issue was brought up because my office asked John Chisholm to look into it in the first place. What you see here is literally a desperate campaign and a desperate candidate trying to talk about anything but their failed record," Walker said.
Walker says he has been asked by the Milwaukee County District Attorney not to make public comments about the case, but Walker has also said he is not the target of the investigation.
Barrett says that means Walker could release the information if he wanted to, and instead, is just trying to "run the clock."