Walker aide sues prosecutor who conducted John Doe probe

July 2, 2015

MILWAUKEE A former aide to Gov. Scott Walker who was caught up in a secret investigation into illegal campaigning is suing the prosecutor who conducted the probe, saying he and others infringed on her civil rights by raiding her home and seizing her personal emails.

Cindy Archer, a Walker top aide when he served as Milwaukee County executive, claimed the defendants conducted a "continuous campaign of intimidation and harassment" against her and others. The lawsuit named Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and four other assistants or investigators. She seeks unspecified damages for violation of her constitutional rights to free speech and association and unreasonable search and seizure.

Law enforcement officials raided Archer's Madison home in September 2011 as part of the investigation into illegal campaign work by employees of Walker's office when he was county executive. Archer was targeted because of her role in drafting Act 10, the legislation that essentially ended collective bargaining for public unions, according to her attorney, David Rivkin Jr. The complaint also said Archer was subjected to months of aggressive interrogations.

Neither Archer nor Walker was charged, but six other Walker aides or associates were convicted on a variety of charges, including two for doing illegal campaign work in 2010.

"This is America, and in America we don't let the authorities raid people's homes and treat them like criminals because of their political beliefs and associations," Rivkin said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Chisholm and Archer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Walker, who is expected to seek the Republican nomination for president, has previously denied knowing about any illegal activity and has refused to address how much he knew about county workers doing illegal campaign work.

The probe into Walker's associates led to a second John Doe investigation into whether Walker's 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups. That investigation is on hold after one of the groups, Wisconsin Club for Growth, and its director, Eric O'Keefe, asked the state Supreme Court to rule on the probe's validity.

The group and O'Keefe contend the investigation is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an attempt to criminalize political speech. The court is expected to rule this summer.

After Walker was elected governor, Archer became deputy secretary of the Department of Administration. She currently works as chief information technology officer for the state public defender's office.

 

Associated Press