MADISON, Wis. — Central figures in providing inside information and attempting to help Gov. Scott Walker’s longtime campaign treasurer win a lucrative contract with Milwaukee County while Walker was County Executive today hold state jobs with six figure salaries. That needs to change, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross who today called for the resignations of Cindy Archer and Jim Villa.
“Newly released documents reveal how these individuals participated in providing inside information to try to help a political crony of then-County Executive and now Gov. Walker win a lucrative publicly-funded contract. It was a massive violation of the public trust and on its face disqualifies them from continuing their current government employ,” said Ross.
In documents released this week and in news reports it was revealed that top Walker Milwaukee County aides, including Cindy Archer, and even Gov. Walker himself were working behind the scenes to secure a lucrative deal for county business for his campaign treasurer John Hiller. Confidential financial information was provided to Hiller by the county. Also involved in discussions conducted via private email accounts was close political confidant and sometimes aide Jim Villa. A lobbying firm established by Villa had for a time employed Hiller and worked in favor of the deal.
Cindy Archer has held numerous high salary government positions, moving from Walker’s Milwaukee County administration to state government. She was recently hired by the State Public Defenders Office via a controversial bypassing of the normal hiring process at a salary over 30 percent higher than her predecessor. Previously Archer served as a liaison for the Department of Children and Families and as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Administration.
Jim Villa is a longtime confidant and employee of Scott Walker, working for his campaign for County Executive and for a time as his Chief of Staff. Villa went on to form a lobbying firm but continued to be a member of Walker’s inner circle and worked professionally with Walker campaign treasurer John Hiller. Villa’s lobbying firm worked on the deal for Hiller and he was included in private account emails between county employees and Hiller discussing the deal.
Gov. Walker personally interceded to help Villa snag a job in a newly created position of vice president of government relations for the University of Wisconsin System at a salary of $178,000 a year.
Ross noted that Gov. Walker’s administration has arguably been one of the most corrupt in recent history. Walker has been under investigation every single day of his term, has had several top administration officials resign under ethical clouds and has directed huge sums of publicly funded economic development dollars to businesses whose owners and executives donated over $1 million to his campaign.
“Archer and Villa have by their own actions disqualified themselves from continuing in public service and ought to resign immediately. If they won’t leave voluntarily, Gov. Walker needs to step in and remove them or cede forever any shred of ethical credibility,” concluded Ross.