Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said an investigation into coordination between his gubernatorial campaign and public employees in his county executive’s office is “old news” and that the probe should not give pause to Republicans who see him as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
Walker said a trove of e-mails from a former staffer, which totaled more than 25,000 pages and was released publicly this week, had already been reviewed by a Democratic prosecutor. Walker added that the emails contain no damaging surprises.
“This is an old news story,” Walker said Saturday in an interview with The Washington Post. “Many of the ones that have been highlighted of late have actually been in the[Milwaukee] Journal-Sentinel and other places several years ago.”
State prosecutors are continuing to investigate activities involving Walker, his campaign and his public office. Asked whether the ongoing probe could damage him politically, Walker said it should not.
“The bottom line is I’m probably the most scrutinized public official in America,” Walker said. The governor cited media scrutiny during his 2010 campaign and the 2012 recall election, which he survived, as well as the Milwaukee County district attorney’s probe, which ended last year.
Walker rose to national prominence for taking on labor unions early in his governorship and is widely considered a potentially strong presidential contender. Asked about his thinking regarding the 2016 presidential contest, Walker said he is “completely focused” on being governor and on his reelection campaign this year.
“I’ve said to other Republicans here that I think anybody in our party who’s looking past 2014 is doing a disservice – not only to the party, but to the country,” Walker said. “A lot’s at stake, not only the gubernatorial elections, but as you know following things in Washington, there’s a lot at stake in terms of the 2014 senatorial races.”
Walker added, “Anybody who’s talking about anything other than 2014 is really way ahead of the curve.”