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Scott Walker, Wisconsin Governor, Eyed In Corruption Probe After FBI Raid On Cynthia Archer's Home

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MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday all he knows about FBI agents seizing items from the home of one of his top agency officials is what he's seen in the media and that his office has not been told anything about the raid.

The first-term governor said "it's hard to tell" whether he should be concerned about Wednesday's raid on the home of Cynthia Archer, who was his aide while Milwaukee County executive and followed him to work in state government when he was elected governor.

"We don't know what exactly is involved," Walker said Friday when asked about the raid following an unrelated event in Milwaukee.

"Until we know, obviously it's a concern but again, I don't know any more details than what I've seen reported in the media outlets around the state," he added.

The raid came amid a secret Milwaukee County investigation that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing unnamed people familiar with the case, has reported focuses on whether county staffers in Walker's office did political work on the taxpayer dime.

Walker said he has not been in touch with Archer.

Archer told The Associated Press on Thursday that she has done nothing wrong and hasn't been told whether she is part of the ongoing investigation. When asked what kinds of items were taken from her home, she said law enforcement officials had given her strict orders not to comment further.

Archer's neighbor, Dale Riechers, said FBI agents also came to his home and took a hard drive from an old computer he bought from Archer at a garage sale a few weeks ago.

The raid comes as a reminder of long-simmering questions surrounding work by Walker's county staffers, one of whom admitted last year to anonymously posting pro-Walker comments on websites while on county time. It also raises questions about how deep the investigation will go and what implications it could have for the rising Republican star.

Democratic Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has declined to comment on the case, as has the FBI.

Walker said he couldn't comment about whether he believed the investigation was politically motivated.

"I don't know because I don't have any information about what it's based on," he said.

The Journal Sentinel reported that people familiar with the county investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity said the investigation focuses on the activities of Archer and Tom Nardelli, Walker's former county chief of staff. Both worked three years in Walker's county executive office then followed him to Madison after the November election.

Nardelli quit his state job in July and did not return messages seeking comment Friday. Archer served as deputy Department of Administration Secretary until she quit Aug. 19 and started the Children and Family Services job on Aug. 20 before going on paid medical leave.

Walker has said prosecutors have never contacted him in person but that his campaign had previously been asked for emails and information related to the staffer in his county office, Darlene Wink, who posted pro-Walker messages on websites on work time. Wink resigned in May 2010 after admitting to posting the anonymous comments on websites and blogs.

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Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.

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