Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Did some Walker scandal drop today?

Lotta scuttlebutt going on. Is there some huge Scott Walker scandal related to a huge email dump from one of his convicted aides or something? Why yes, yes there is.

Yep, today was the big document dump by convicted Walkergate figure Kelly Rindfleisch. Here, feel free to page through it yourself, if you care to download a 400MB document.

There isn't a whole lot I can say that you won't get from the #walkerdocs Twitter feed, but there are a couple of items that seem to have slipped by in all the (rightful) fury over Walker clearly being in the know and communicating through alternate email addresses, racist email notes passed among the campaign group to "lighten the mood", and Rindfleisch blowing off bad incident and resulting questions at the County's mental health center by saying "No one cares about crazy people."

One of the items that I haven't seen mentioned much is the fact that Rindfleisch found two ghost jobs after Walker's 2010 election, first with GOP mega-donor Michael Eisenga, and then with GOP fundraiser Judith Rhodes-Engels. They knew Rindfleisch was under investigation at least as early as November 2010, why did they keep her on? Sure seems like hush money from here.

Here's another connection. The Journal-Sentinel's Dan Bice did an article showing that Tim Russell's partner, Brian Pierick, was the person who set up the "" website. This site magically disappeared right after Darlene Wink was arrested in May 2010, and Walker gave his famous "We cannot afford another story like this one. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, etc.” order to the county workers that were doing campaign work for him. Well, go back to the Tim Russell criminal complaint, and you notice this passage, which is part of a list of items showing what Russell spent money on after embezzling funds from veterans.
A review of GoDaddy records produced in response to a John Doe Search Warrant show that the $145.28 Godaddy transaction was a payment for the renewal of multiple domain names, all being some variation of scottforgov and scott4gov with ".net," ".com," ".info" and ".org" suffixes ....

Likewise, the GoDaddy transaction for $58.38 described above was also for renewal of domain names, all being some variation of scott4gov and Milwaukee Countv Executive Scott Walker For Governor with ".com" and ".info" suffixes.
And guess who gave Tim Russell the job of handling the funds for those veterans? None other than Scott Walker!
On October 20, 2009, however, in a Memo to the Cudworth [American Legion] Post, County Executive Scott Walker terminated the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cudworth Post and Milwaukee County. County Executive Scott Walker wrote:

To ensure its ongoing operation and success, I have identified a non- profit corporation to which I am transferring Operation Freedom. While I created and have supported Operation Freedom, its existence and success should not depend on me. This new structure will allow the community to take ownership of it.

The non-profit that County Executive Walker identified in his Memo was the Heritage Guard Preservation Society, Inc.(HGPS). On the same day the Memorandum of Understanding with the Cudworth Post was terminated, on October 20, 2009, County Executive Walker transferred Operation Freedom to HGPS, the corporation controlled by Timothy D. Russell.
But I'm sure the fact that Russell used some of those funds to go toward paying for his partner's website is total concidence...

The only other item (for now) that I'll talk about in relation to John Doe is the release of documents associated with the hearing that led to a November 1, 2010 search warrant which confiscated much John Doe-related evidence. Not only are many of the names associated with Scott Walker's inner circle and former and current officials with the Wisconsin Republican Party get named along with the actions that provided the probable cause leading to the search warrant being executed, but a key member is spokesperson Fran McLaughlin, who received immunity as part of this investigation, and has not been charged with crimes like Rindfleisch was. Not only is she sending messages "off-the-job" as "" (nice touch) but on Page 57-58, she's sending pro-Walker spin to "friendly blogger" Aaron Rodriguez. Rodriguez not only has a Journal-Sentinel column, but he's the husband of recently-elected State Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, who was elected in no small part due to the help of convicted criminal Scott Jensen and the pro-Walker voucher lobby.

And that's my (non-insider) guess as to where this is going. The stuff they found Walker and his staff copied in with made its way far outside of Milwaukee County, and therefore out of the jurisdiction of the original John Doe investigation. It's pretty clear to me that John Doe Deux is merely a continuation of John Doe 1, with a lot bigger fish going into John Doe Deux's pond, including members of the Koch machine inside and outside of Wisconsin. To Scott Walker's detriment, the national media is now focusing on him as people in right-wing bubble-land promote him as a national candidate (because the GOP is just that desperate these days), and unlike the Wisconsin media, the prospect of bringing down a piddling Midwestern governor isn't something that scares their bottom line. So maybe we'll finally get some real investigation and legitimate questions being asked of this crooked administration.

Lots left to play out here.

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