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Ever since a recall election failed to toss Governor Scott Walker from office in Wisconsin, there have been persistent rumors of wrongdoing on the part of his staff, and many have been tried and convicted. And now that the Chris Christie offenses are mounting up, prosecutors in Wisconsin seem to be zeroing in on Scott Walker once more. Like Christie, Walker downplays the scandal in hopes he might be a viable GOP candidate for President in 2016. But with baggage like this, his chances are shrinking daily, right along with Christie's.
A few weeks ago, a staffer named Kelly Rindfleisch was back in court appealing her charges when a Judge decided that her emails should be released to the public - probably not the outcome Rindfleisch was hoping for. She has become Walker's scapegoat in much the same way that Bridget Kelly, David Wildstein and others are falling under suspicion for being close to Chris Christie.
From Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal
Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Curley ruled last week that thousands of records in the appeal of Kelly Rindfleisch should be available in the court file of her misconduct in office case, even though the documents have long been sealed as part of a secret investigation of former Walker aides.
. . . (Judge) Curley wrote records collected as part of a criminal investigation are routinely included in court files and that court records are to be available to the public except in unusual circumstances.
Rindfleisch, who served as Walker's deputy chief of staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive, is one of six people convicted as the result of a John Doe investigation led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. John Doe proceedings are often conducted in secret and give prosecutors the power to compel people to produce documents and testify.
The records in question include emails from Rindfleisch's personal computer and private email account, affidavits supporting John Doe search warrants, and a transcript of a secret hearing on search warrants issued the day before Walker was elected governor in 2010.
Likely included in the emails are messages exchanged with Walker or his top political aides as he ran his 2010 campaign for governor.
Although Rindfleisch sat just 25 feet from Walker’s office, was one of his top staffers and was illegally raising funds for Davis while on county time, the governor himself was not charged and the investigation was closed in early 2013. It resulted in the convictions of five former aides and associates and one contributor to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.
According to prosecutors, there were at least 3,486 emails between Rindfleisch and members of Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Most were sent and received during normal business hours while Rindfleisch was at her $59,560-a-year county job.
~ Wisconsin State Journal
Some of the emails uncovered in the investigation are just downright nasty:
Six former Walker aides and allies have been convicted of wrongdoing following an investigation into improper campaign activities by official staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive mounting a campaign for the governor’s mansion. The release last week of tens of thousands of pages of documents from that first investigation was branded as “old news” by Walker, who noted repeatedly that a Democratic prosecutor had closed the investigation last year without any accusation that he had done anything improper. ”People want to go through 27,000 pages plus of details, and our approach is ‘case is closed,’” Walker said. “A Democrat district attorney looked at it, and he’s done. It’s done.”
To put it mildly, this is a BFD. For once, we have proof that Scott Walker encouraged government workers to campaign for him while on government time, which is illegal in Wisconsin. Scott Walker has been dishonest about the allegations of corruption surrounding him from the outset, and we finally have indisputable proof that Walker encouraged illegal campaigning.
~ The Prairie Badger
In one message, Walker aide Cindy Archer wrote to deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch that she used a private email account to communicate with Walker and his chief of staff, Tom Nardelli.
“Consider yourself now in the ‘inner circle’ :) I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW and Nardelli,” Archer wrote, referring to Walker’s initials. “You should be sure you check it throughout the day.”
~ Wisconsin State Journal
From Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal
Tapping out a message on his campaign Blackberry on the afternoon of May 4, 2010, Walker urged county aides, campaign staffers and other trusted volunteers to go to an online Journal Sentinel business story and respond to critics of his plan to privatize the airport in the comments section below the story.
"Someone should comment on the fact that the only way for the county to benefit from that success is to contract out operations," Walker wrote in an email. "Having a well performing airport increases the value that the county could receive."
A half-hour later, Brian Pierick — the boyfriend of Walker aide Timothy D. Russell — posted a comment on the story under the alias "WI_Calvin," calling rising airport traffic "another example of Scott Walker's outstanding leadership."
. . . Pierick and Russell were both later convicted of other activities in the secret probe.
Walker's airport directive came a little more than a week before he ousted county aide Darlene Wink after the Journal Sentinel reported she had been spending much of her government work hours posting anonymous political comments promoting Walker on the JS Online website.
Walker Evades Questions on Fox News, Via aattp.org
Question: if county workers were doing nothing wrong, why should they be using a private e-mail account?
WALKER: Well, but that’s exactly to my point. you had a Democratic district attorney spend almost three years looking at every single one of those communications, interviewing people, talking to people and closed the case.
WALLACE: Did you have your own private e-mail account?
WALKER: It’s one of those where I point out district attorney has reviewed every single one of these issues.
WALLACE: But sir, you’re not answering my question.
WALKER: No, because I’m not going to get into 27,000 different pieces of information.