Friday, January 27, 2012

Worse Than Nixon

You know, it was curious when people associated with the Scott Walker campaign and administration  started getting immunity from the DA in the John Doe investigation.

It looked bad when computers were seized and homes got raided by FBI agents and then administration officials began disappearing from lucrative administration jobs - the kind you get after you've been a loyal soldier.

A campaign contributor got arrested and then some realtor guy goes to jail for failing to cooperate with another investigation. Things were beginning to spin out of control.

Then, three men were arrested. One a high ranking Walker corporal and former chief of staff who as it turned out had been stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a veterans charity - a position Walker lobbied hard for him to get - against the wishes of others who knew he had sticky fingers.

Horrible! A complete disgrace! He stole from wounded veterans and their families, just so he could take vacations, meet Herman Cain and pay for Scott Walker's campaign websites.

Worse yet, his boyfriend - the 2nd man arrested - the actual treasurer of the veterans charity was trolling for boys and collecting child pornography. The 3rd man turns out to have also stolen money from the same charity - apparently a widely known activity - and for his efforts he gets promoted to a Veterans Affairs position just months back by none other than Scott Walker.

It can't get worse... and then it does.

Two Walker staff members were arrested yesterday. One faces 4 felony misconduct charges for illegal activities she performed on behalf of Scott Walker sitting just 25 feet from Walker's office door. The other, is clearly getting ready to accept a plea deal just so she can stay out of jail. Her career is over, her credibility gone.

The complaint is long, but worth reading and the Journal Sentinel is going to get a Pulitzer before everything else in this grimy tale is revealed. What we know today is that the guy who stole the money from the vets set up a private and separate router for internet service in Walker's County Exec offices when he was chief of staff. It was housed in it's own cabinet.

One must wonder if he paid for that with stolen charity funds a well?

The staff knew the access code, hid it's existence from the county IT department and used it to conduct campaign and fundraising activities while they were working (and paid) as public employees. How much time was spent performing these illegal activities? About half the time according to the lady with felony charges.

She sent almost 1400 emails.

After the lady who is copping a plea resigned, Scott Walker sent out an email saying they (the campaign) could not take another story about campaigning on public time.  He sent the email out from his campaign website, not as their boss, but as their candidate.

The message was clear - don't get caught or the chuck wagon bound for Madison was gonna be over.

There are a lot of questions that remain. Perhaps the Governor's spokesperson could clarify some things for us all - but he can't because he is party to the investigation. The people of Wisconsin are paying Cullen Werwie a handsome salary to not do his job.

Luckily, the fabulous Cory Liebmann over at Eye on Wisconsin zeroed right in on the salient questions:

Key Questions for Scott Walker:
  1. When Scott Walker emailed Tim Russell with the above listed message, why did he use his campaign email account? This was at the very least a county personnel issue and it was county business. Why would Walker use his campaign email to conduct what was clearly county business?
  2. Scott Walker's email to Russell specifically mentions "no laptops", so that shows us that he knew that his top staff were busy using such laptops on county time. How and when did he find that out? It was obviously important to him so why didn't he follow up on that order? Remember that according to the complaint, Kelly Rindfleisch continued doing campaign work on county time after that incident.
  3. Could someone please explain the employment dates of Kelly Rindfleisch because the timeline looks pretty damning? She had an extensive political and fundraising background including for the infamous Republican legislative caucus. She was hired at the beginning of a big election year to do what she described at least partially as "policy work for the campaign". Then she left the county job only weeks after Walker won the 2010 election. She was doing work for/with the Walker campaign until only days ago. Again, the timing of her employment stinks to high heaven. What is the story on that?
  4. What is up with Walker's top past/present campaign staffers? What? Didn't a single one of them wonder why county employees were communicating with them on a regular basis during work hours? Reading the extensive communications, you certainly get the idea that it didn't bother them one single bit.
  5. How many open records requests were thwarted by the existence of the Walker administration's secret network?
The taxpayers of Milwaukee County and the people of Wisconsin should demand some answers and it should be Scott Walker that directly gives them.

Here are links to further reading:
Journal Sentinel on the Arrests
Rindfleisch Complaint
Cap Times
Cognitive Dissidence

This afternoon, Walker denied knowing anything about the illegal activity...big surprise. He never saw the laptops or emails or the cabinet with a router all sitting just a few feet away from him. Apparently nearly every single person closely associated with him and his campaign was breaking the law one way or another...that is when they weren't soliciting boys and he had no idea.