MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The early stages of the 2014 race for Governor of Wisconsin are shaping up to be more about the campaign workers then about the candidates themselves. For the past week, Wisconsin political observers have been focused on Gov. Scott Walker's county staff emails. Now, the governor is raising questions about challenger Mary Burke's campaign staff.
The 27,000 emails released as part of a John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's Milwaukee County staff have made ethics an issue in the 2014 campaign for governor. This week in Appleton, democratic candidate Mary Burke weighed in.
"I'm just disappointed that our governor set such a low bar for campaign ethics," said Burke.
Gov. Walker responded, "It's an interesting statement for a campaign who actually has someone on their staff right now who has been involved in things like that in the past."
Gov. Walker is referring to Tanya Bjork -- an adviser to Burke's campaign. Over 10 years ago, Bjork was convicted of two misdemeanors related to illegal campaign activity -- soliciting campaign donations inside the state capitol, and altering official calendars to make them seem as if time spent soliciting donations was actually spent with constituents.
"How can someone make a suggestion like that when, arguably, they knowingly accepted someone who fits the very category they're criticizing?" asked Gov. Walker.
Burke's campaign says the John Doe scandal, which led to felony convictions of six of Walker's aides or associates, can't be equated to the actions of a single person whose offenses occurred long before her association with Mary Burke's campaign.
"I think people have lost their confidence in politicians just because of things like this. I want to restore trust and honesty from the Wisconsin people," said Burke.
Gov. Walker says the Burke campaign is focusing on the John Doe emails as a way to distract from his record of reforms.