MADISON, Wis. — Political operatives from across the spectrum are scouring the thousands of e-mails exchanged by Governor Scott Walker’s campaign staff and those who worked for him when he was Milwaukee County executive, trying to find items they can use to attack or defend the state’s most polarizing figure.
Liberals and conservatives alike have been hunting through the 28,000 pages of documents for their names, as well as the names of political friends and enemies.
Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said it was “like winning the lottery” for people doing opposition research on Walker. American Bridge 21st Century, a political action committee funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, said it assembled a team of researchers to pore over the e-mails and post what it finds on a specially created website.
Joe Fadness, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party and one of those named in the e-mails, criticized American Bridge while refusing to say whether the GOP was undertaking its own review of the documents.
The e-mails were collected during a criminal investigation into whether Walker’s aides were illegally doing campaign work for the 2010 election while being paid as county employees.
Walker wasn’t charged in the investigation, but it continues to shadow him. The e-mail release is proving to be an unwanted distraction as he mounts his reelection campaign and eyes a possible 2016 run for president.