Walker’s new mess in Madison

There’s an interesting story brewing in Wisconsin, where top aides to Gov. Scott Walker (R) are abruptly resigning and finding FBI agents going through their homes.

About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, raided the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing investigation into whether county employees did political work while at their jobs.

The home on Madison’s east side is owned by Cynthia A. Archer, who until recently was deputy administration secretary to the Republican governor. Archer, 52, now holds a different state job but is on paid sick leave, records show.

The probe is reportedly reviewing corruption allegations in which top Walker aides have been accused of using public resources for partisan political gain.

Archer, described as one of Walker’s “most trusted allies,” quit unexpectedly last month from her well-paid job overseeing state contracts. It came on the heels of another abrupt resignation from Tom Nardelli, Walker’s former chief of staff.

There’s also this tidbit of news.

There was no comment Wednesday from Governor Walker, who has retained legal counsel, although he claims not to have been personally contacted by federal agents.

Now, there may be nothing to this, but when a sitting governor retains outside counsel as part of a growing corruption investigation, and FBI agents are paying visits to his former top aides, it would appear Scott Walker has a bit of a problem.

It’s worth emphasizing that the allegations, according to local media accounts, are focused on potential misdeeds committed before Walker became governor — the accusations focus on whether county staffers did political work for Walker when they were supposed to be doing official work for the public — but the controversy can still do some real damage.

Walker, best known for picking a huge fight over stripping state workers of their collective bargaining rights, is already unpopular in his home state, and the threat of a recall election still looms on the horizon. It makes this story something to keep an eye on.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.