MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A week after a top official in the Department of Corrections abruptly resigned, we’ve learned she was under investigation.
Sarah Walker served as Deputy Commissioner. After receiving two complaints, the DOC launched an investigation in late June. That ended when Walker resigned, and now a lawmaker is now calling for another investigation.
Mere months into Sarah Walker taking on her role as Deputy Commissioner with the DOC, accusations arose. Walker is accused of leaking sensitive information about a colleague’s sexual assault.
“We had received information about the possibility that information, private or confidential data relative to inside the organization had been shared outside and organization and within,” DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell said.
And the former lobbyist is accused of lobbying for her husband’s non-profit this legislative session. While she has denied the claims in media reports, investigative documents released include text messages asking for support for the charity — that were mistakenly sent to the wrong person — and forensics of her work computer showed she edited a document for him.
Schnell said he’s highly disappointed.
“People have to have lots of trust in us and I think ultimately this is a breach of that, and so when it happens we have to be serious about it,” he said.
The DOC investigation wasn’t finished. It ended when Walker resigned.
Now, Republican Rep. Marion O’Neill is calling for a full investigation into Walker’s actions. She wants the legislative auditor to look into her time serving as Deputy Commissioner and into legislative money given to her husband’s charity that claims to work on behalf of veterans.
“I have outstanding questions, I have a lot of questions,” O’Neill said. “I think that there are potentially criminal and definitely civil penalties that could be assessed.”
WCCO reached out to Sarah Walker. Her automatic email response says she will be unavailable until next week.