Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Walker's GB FAIL on John Doe

A few sources have already weighed on this fail of a Governor Walker interview, including Jud Lounsbury's original post at Uppity Wisconsin and Capper's always-entertaining take at Cognitive Dissidence. Take a look at the interview, and I'll follow up with a few questions and points of my own.

1. My first question is this. After 2 years of investigation, you can't come up with a better answer than "I dunno, it wasn't me, and there are a lot of people under me as an executive?" Doesn't that make you unfit for office on that alone, since you apparently have no administrative skills?

  But then I have some more particular questions, and it turns out that maybe Walker's admin skills aren't so bad. Maybe there's a pattern to the "incompetence."  

2. You see Scotty, these aren't exactly low-level bureaucrats who went rogue. Keith Gilkes was a key member of your campaign team, and you appointed him as your Chief of Staff after you were elected Governor in 2010.  (Gilkes ended up being the guy who said "Mr. Walker, it's David Koch on Line 1.") You were copied in on emails where Gilkes ordered your County Executive staff to cover up items related to the O'Donnell Parking garage disaster, and Gilkes edited an August editorial from Walker's director of Health and Human Services discussing issues at the county's deficient mental health facility.

You personally signed off on the hiring of Kelly Rindfleisch as Deputy Chief of Staff in 2010, without then-Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli knowing about it. Tim Russell served in a number of positions under you, including the Deputy Chief of Staff job that Rindfleisch later took, and also was your county's housing director while simultaneously serving as NASCAR pit crew guy while you did your Air Tran-sponsored motorcycle rides around the state.

Tim Russell is also the guy you turned to when Wink got caught posting on Journal-Sentinel websites in May 2010, and said "we cannot afford another story like this one." Russell then got Rindfleisch to put the router away, despite not having any official authority over her.

These weren't independent civil servants who you wouldn't know or have no contact with. They were trusted confidants who you personally chose to hire. And despite their sketchy behavior, you never chose to get rid of them (Russell did get fired by the Milwaukee County Executive, as Lee Holloway shitcanned him immediately after taking over for Walker in 2010). 

3. On a related note, if you have no tolerance for corruption, why are you keeping Brett Davis on the job as the state's top Administrator of the Medicaid program, when Rindfleisch was convicted of working on Davis's Lieutenant Governor campaign while she was supposed to be working for you in Milwaukee County?  Davis clearly knew about Rindfleisch's illegal work, and Rindfleisch admitted in her criminal complaint that "half of her job" was working on the campaign for Davis and Walker.

4. In the interview, Walker's still clinging to the BS about "I was the guy who ordered the investigation into missing funds" Just stop it. We know you only ordered Nardelli to investigate when Nardelli went into your office noted the money missing in 2008 and 2009 (as shown in the Kavanaugh criminal complaint), and the thefts couldn't be hidden any further. Heck,  you allowed the now-convicted Tim Russell and Kevin Kavanuagh to be part of Operation Freedom all the way through 2010.  Much like with Brett Davis, you clearly didn't mind keeping ol' Kev around, despite being under investigation for missing funds at the time. Why?

5. And why are so many of these Walkergate criminals connected to the Walker campaign event known as Operation Freedom? Kavanaugh, Darlene Wink, Tim Russell, and Kelly Rindfleisch all took their turns handling this allegedly non-partisan "Support the Troops" event, and all have now been convicted for acting illegally while on the job. In fact, the only time it seems that Operation Freedom was handled on the up-and-up was when Walker had to give it over to the American Legion in 2009 after Kavanaugh was first suspected of stealing funds. And as Page 4 of the Russell criminal complaint  points out,
Due to alleged financial mismanagement, in about 2009, Operation Freedom donations were entrusted to the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post. While by all reports thge Cudworth Post discharged their financial duties in exemplary fashion, in October 2009, then County Executive Scott Walker transferred the Operation Freedom funds - some $19,000 - to HGPS, the corporation controlled by Tim Russell.
         Russell actively operated the HGPS entity for the purpose of raising funds for Operation Freedom during 2010. This included having County employees process donation payments for ultimate deposit in an HGPS account that Russell controlled.
And we know that Russell funneled that money not only to himself, but also to pay for "Walker for Governor" websites and to fly to Atlanta to meet with Herman Cain as well as "Smoking Man" Mark Block. Block is closely linked with Walker and the Wisconsin version of the Koch-funded Astroturf group Americans for Prosperity, and took credit for Walker and WisGOP's wins in 2010 through the use of Tea Party organizing. If you think Russell was acting alone on these moves....well, you might be stupid enough to still Stand with Walker.

6. My last question- Why is it some TV guy in Green Bay that has to be the one to bring up these issues to Walker? Where are the Milwaukee and Madison media when it comes to asking these legitmate questions on judgment and why so many of Walker's appointees end up crooks? This is entry-level journalism that far too few of our media members refuse to make.

But Walker's and Gilkes's lame reactions to the people that make these obvious Walkergate connnections leads me to conclude one thing.

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