Van Hollen denies politics factor in DOJ absence from probe - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Van Hollen denies politics factor in DOJ absence from probe


LAKE DELTON (WKOW) -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told 27 News justice department representatives discussed a secret John Doe investigation involving Walker administration officials with Milwaukee County authorities, and a "mutual decision" was reached to not involve state justice investigators.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday Van Hollen declined to help in the investigation.

But during an interview with 27 News reporter Tony Galli, Van Hollen said justice officials discussed the investigation with Milwaukee County authorities and others, and there was agreement that personnel from the Justice Department would not be used.

"The actual decision came down to very legitimate legal and logistical ones," Van Hollen told 27 News.

"Once this is all completed and the information comes out, it'll be very clear why our decision was made."

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has yet to return a call from 27 News seeking comment on the discussions with Van Hollen.

The investigation has involved the seizure of computer equipment and other items from two former Milwaukee County officials under then-County Executive Scott Walker.  

A search last week with FBI agents was carried out at the Madison home of Cindy Archer, who is in the Walker administration as a top official with the Department of Children and Families, after formerly holding the post of Deputy Secretary of the Department of Administration.

Walker and Van Hollen are Republicans. 

Before delivering remarks to a meeting of the Wisconsin Juvenile Officers Association, Van Hollen told 27 News party affiliations were no factor in the decision to keep the state Justice Department out of the investigation.

"Politics never plays a role in any decision we make at the department of justice."

Van Hollen said justice officials met with Milwaukee County authorities and others about the investigation within the last year. Van Hollen said the secret nature of the probe prevented him from divulging any details of the investigation.

Archer denied any wrongdoing during an interview with 27 News.

The secret investigation appeared to begin around the time a former county official under Walker resigned after being caught posting political comments to a newspaper blog site while on-the-job.

In her role as deputy administration secretary, Archer submitted a court affidavit in June as the governor and others were sued in federal court over collective bargaining limits. Archer stated state officials were in no position to cover for police officers and state patrolmen if they went on strike in protest of any bargaining limits. Those law enforcement officers were excluded from the bargaining limits.

This week, acting as the defendants' attorney, Van Hollen asked the court to withdraw Archer's affidavit.   The motion states the plaintiff's desire to discover more information about Archer's claims and possibly subject her to deposition should not be part of the case. Van Hollen offered no other comment.


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