Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is defending the chief investigator in the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's administration while he was county executive after a report surfaced that David Budde has a recall sign in his yard.
In a statement Monday, Chisholm said Budde told him his wife, who is a county employee, put the sign in the couple's yard about a week ago.
"I do not regulate or control the constitutional freedoms of my employees' families in their private lives," the district attorney said. "They have the right, under state law, and in this case, county civil service rules, to express their political views as does any other citizen."
Chisholm added that Budde, who has been a law enforcement officer for 26 years, "did not sign the recall petition and has conducted himself professionally and independently in this investigation.
"Any decisions related to the John Doe investigation are based on the evidence and not on the political views of any member of this office or their families."
The governor, who is facing a recall election June 5, has established a criminal defense fund but has insisted he has been told he is not a target of the investigation. State law allows office holders to establish such funds if they or someone acting as their agent is under investigation or charged with election or campaign law violations.
The secret probe has resulted in criminal charges against five former campaign workers or associates and a contributor to Walker's gubernatorial campaign. Two other Walker associates have received immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony in the probe, which appears focused on alleged illegal campaign activities in Walker's office when he was Milwaukee County executive.