Gov. Scott Walker was under criminal investigation as part of a John Doe investigation into his aides and associates during his time as Milwaukee County Executive, according to a court filing made Wednesday.
Walker has consistently maintained he was not a target of the probe.
"Absolutely not," he told reporters in June 2012. "One hundred percent wrong. Could not be more wrong. It’s just more of the liberal scare tactics out there, desperately trying to get the (gubernatorial) campaign off target."
Three months before that, in March 2012, Walker set up a legal defense fund. At the time, he said the fund would be used to pay his criminal defense lawyers "to review documents and assist me in cooperating" with the investigation.
Walker was never charged in the investigation that led to convictions of six of his aides and associates.
In a court filing made in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and two deputies, a 2011 request for search warrants indicates that investigators believed there was probable cause Walker and two associates committed felony misconduct in office while Walker's administration negotiated a lease to house the county's Department on Aging.
An affidavit filed by Robert Stelter, an investigator in the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, states: "I believe that there is probable cause to believe that Scott Walker, John Hiller, and Andrew Jensen, in concert together, committed a felony, i.e., Misconduct in Public Office."
At the time, Hiller, in addition to serving as Walker's campaign treasurer, was a consultant for RAIT Financial Trust, owner of the Reuss Federal Plaza in downtown Milwaukee. The Reuss building owners were one of three final bidders on a deal to purchase the Milwaukee County-owned City Campus building and provide office space for the county's Department on Aging.
Ultimately, the county rejected all three bids being considered. No charges were filed in connection with the John Doe investigation of the incident.
Judge Neal Nettesheim, who oversaw the probe, approved the request for search warrants on Sept. 13, 2011.
The information contained in the filing was first reported late Wednesday afternoon by WisPolitics.
Chisholm and assistant district attorneys David Robles and Bruce Landgraf filed the documents in response to a lawsuit against them by former Walker appointee Cindy Archer. Archer was never charged in the probe, but argues in her case that she was targeted for political reasons.
A Walker spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.