Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Walkergate- go back to the future for the full picture

The web that is Walkergate is really starting to spin, and quite possibly out of control for our fair guv. The news came down yesterday that Gov. Walker was subpoenaed in the Kelly Rindfleisch case, and is scheduled to take the stand next week. Let's go back a bit to remember what Rindfleisch is on trial FOR- working on GOP campaigns while she was on the taxpayer dime as Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff in Milwaukee County.

If you read Page 4 of the criminal complaint against Rindfleisch, she tells her friend in a webchat "half of what I'm doing is policy for the (GOP 2010) campaign, it's policy stuff but it's for use [for the campaign]." Rindfleisch also admits in the webchat she's using the special County Exec Office's special wireless router that was installed 25 feet from Walker's office.

Then I'll take you back to Jud Lounsbury's point from this January, that when Walker sent the infamous "we cannot afford another story like this one" email about Darlene Wink's illegal campaigning to Tim Russell in 2010 Rindfleisch had taken Russell's job, and therefore ol' Timmy should not have been the one Scotty talked to. According to Lounsbury, this meant...
...at the time Walker gave the order to Russell, he had no official oversight capacity over the County Executive Office staff indicated in Walker's email-- his only role at the time was as the defacto head of illegal campaign operations in the County Executive's Office. In fact, Russell wasn't even supposed to be in the county executive's office-- his official job was more than a mile away at the Health and Human Services Building.

Or, to look at it another way, if Walker truly had no idea what was going on and simply wanted to send out a directive ensuring no more illegal campaign activity why wouldn't he send the email to those officially in charge of oversight of his office: Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli or Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly Rindfleish?

Clearly, Walker emailed Tim Russell because he knew Tim Russell was in charge of the illegal campaign-at-work set-up.
And if Walker knew about the fake router, he probably had more than a clue about that Rindfleisch would use it when Walker hired her. As I said last April, it's one hell of a coincidence if Walker did not know this, since he signed off on Rindfleisch's hiring in 2010. And he must have approved of what Rindfleisch did in her short time in Milwaukee County, because Rindfleisch was part of Scott Walker's entourage at fund-raisers in early 2011, before she was charged in Walkergate.

Lastly, let's also not forget that Rindfleisch mentions in her webchats "I'm also doing Operation Freedom." That event is in the news this week as the trial of Kevin Kavanaugh started up. You may remember that Kavanaugh is the POS accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Operation Freedom (money intended for the families of killed and wounded veterans) and using it to try to pay off his own debts. What people shouldn't forget is how Kavanaugh got access to that money in the first place.

Kavanaugh was a Walker appointee who handled Operation Freedom funds for several years, and is accused of embezzling the money between 2006 and 2009. After Walker's Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli noticed the funds missing (note, it was NOT Walker who brought this up), Walker gave control of Operation Freedom funds over to a local American Legion post in early 2009. Interestingly, later in 2009 Walker took away the handling of funds for Operation Freedom from the American Legion, and gave it over to a non-profit headed by...Tim Russell. And Russell allegedly began to embezzle the funds for his own use, as well as a "Scott Walker for Governor" website.

The other part people forget about the Kavanaugh and Russell cases is that a lot of the donations for Operation Freedom came from some connected names and businesses, as mentioned on Page 17 of the Tim Russell criminal complaint. Kavanaugh is alleged to have used donations by then-State Rep. Mark Gundrum (who Walker would later appoint as a Court of Appeals judge), and Russell also got some of his Operation Freedom funds from GOP backers and politicians.
During the months of late Winter 2010 and Spring 2010, Operation Freedom continued to collect more donations for the July 2010 event for military veterans. These donations included generous sums from (now-U.S. Senator) Ron and Jane Johnson, Rockwell Automation, WE Energies, M&I Trust Company, Associated Bank, the Republican Party of Milwaukee County..., J.P. Cullen and Sons, and the Forest County Potowatomi Community.
Now maybe these people and organizations just wanted some good PR to show they supported the troops. Or maybe they were finding a good way to go around donation laws to Scott Walker's campaign - especially given that Walker's campaign is where some of that money ended up.

This is the real story. The money-funneling and organized crime syndicate that the Wisconsin GOP may well be exposed in the next 2 weeks. As Charles P. Pierce writes today in Esquire's political blog
It appears that, in the words of Lamar Parmentel, the crooked New Orleans lawyer in The Big Easy, Walker's old office in Milwaukee was "a marvelous environment for coincidence."
And in politics, "coincidences" aren't usually coincidences.

P.S. Apparently now Rindfleisch will plead guilty on Thursday, keeping Walker off the stand for now. This smells like a cover-up/ stalling maneuver by Corrupt Kelly. I'm not sure it'll work, as I'm guessing the Milwaukee County D-A has plenty of other items on Walker if they want to.

But wow. These people really are like the Mob.

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