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FBI searches home of former aide to Wisconsin governor

Sep 15, 2011, 1:13 p.m.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at the state Capitol in Madison, February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

By Jeff Mayers

MADISON, Wis (Reuters) - A former top aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said on Thursday she has nothing to hide from law enforcement officials, one day after an FBI raid on her home in the state capital.

One neighbor, Dale Riechers, told reporters the Wednesday morning raid on the home of Cynthia A. Archer involved multiple law enforcement personnel wearing FBI jackets and that neighbors saw a "bank box" being removed from the house.

Archer was home at the time and opened the door to yelling agents, who had a battering ram, neighbors said.

An investigation focusing on several former Walker county aides was opened in Milwaukee County in May 2010 with Bruce Landgraf, an assistant Milwaukee County district attorney who oversees election issues, as the lead prosecutor.

Some media reports suggested the investigation focused on employees doing campaign work on public time.

But Archer, 52, until recently the deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, said she was not involved in that investigation.

"I have done nothing wrong," Archer wrote in an e-mail to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I have nothing to hide. I feel no need for legal representation.

"I fully cooperated yesterday and intend to cooperate with law enforcement in any way that they need."

Walker, a Republican and former county executive, was elected to a four-year term in November 2010, and has enraged Democrats with a high-profile partisan battle over public union bargaining rights and a tough state budget.

Democrats are seizing on the incident to criticize Walker.

"The news of a criminal investigation involving aides to Scott Walker is disturbing," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said.

"During his time as Milwaukee County Executive, Walker played fast and loose with ethics and created a pay-to-play culture of secrecy and deceit. The people of Wisconsin need assurance that this has not carried over to his term as governor," he added.

The governor's office has had no comment. An FBI spokesman referred questions to Milwaukee County Chief Deputy DA Kent Lovern, who also declined comment.

Archer left her DOA job on August 19, citing "personal family matters" then immediately transferred to another position in the administration. She is on a leave of absence from that new job as legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families with a salary just under $100,000, about $25,000 less than what she made as deputy secretary.

Prior to being in Walker's gubernatorial administration, Archer was a top official in his county executive administration. Archer, who previously worked in Brown County and for former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson, was hired by Walker in 2007 as budget director then rose to become head of the Division of Administrative Services. Both the state and county jobs involve overseeing budget matters.

(Editing by James Kelleher and Cynthia Johnston)

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