Governor Walker and Illegal Political Activities

220px-Scott_Walker_by_Gage_Skidmore

Submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

This past week, thousands of emails from within Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker’s inner circle were released as part of an appeal by his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Kelly Rindfleisch.  Ms. Rindfleisch is appealing her conviction on illegal campaign activities during the 2010 Lt. Governor’s race.

Kelly Rindfleisch was convicted of illegal campaign activity for working on the 2010 lieutenant governor’s campaign of then-Rep. Brett Davis while serving as Walker’s deputy chief of staff during his time as Milwaukee county executive. In Wisconsin, it is illegal for public employees to work on campaigns while on the clock and being paid to administer state services.

Prosecutors found that Rindfleisch traded more than 3,000 emails with Walker campaign staffers, most of which were sent on county time from a secret email system in Walker’s office. Davis, who was Walker’s favored candidate, lost the race but was later appointed by the governor as head of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program.

Rindfleisch was sentenced in 2012 to six months in jail, but her sentence has been stayed as she appeals. She unsuccessfully requested to keep her emails secret while attempting to have her conviction overturned.” Readersupportednews

Ms. Rindfleisch and five other Walker employees were convicted on various illegal campaign activity charges and the emails that were released this week laid bare the mentality of the Walker associates and their actions to work on political campaigns while being paid as state workers.  It is a bit amazing that Governor Walker has remained untouched by the prosecutors even though many of these emails that detail not only illegal campaign activities, but some alarming racist and sexist comments, were also sent to him. 

This treasure trove of email evidence also disclosed that Walker staffers were deeply involved in illegal voter caging.  “Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker’s top aides possibly engaging in an illegal scheme to “cage” Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.

On page 15,037 of WalkerDocs 1, an email exchange between Walker staffers Kelly Rindfleisch and Nicole Simmons spells it out pretty plainly.  “If you come this Saturday I can show you how to cage,” Simmons writes. “That will be priority on the weekend.”‘ The Progressive

How did Governor Walker not know about this caging operation when it involved multiple staffers?   Especially in light of who was involved in the caging enterprise.

“Another email, on page 1,321 of WalkerDocs 2, shows Walker’s chief of staff Keith Gilkes ordering Rindfleisch, Fran McLaughlin and Dorothy Moore to bring friends who can help with the caging effort. Here’s a screenshot.

“We need cagers for this Saturday, we will have plenty to get caught up on,” he wrote in an email sent Oct. 21, 2010. “Please bring friends that are detail oriented and can put in some solid hours.” ‘  The Progressive  These staffers were obviously not shy in their illegal efforts on behalf of Scott Walker and his political friends.

It is surprising how Gov. Walker has remained untouched in light of the convictions of the six staffers.  However, because of the recent disclosure that a second “John Doe” investigation is currently looking at Governor Walker’s campaign activities during the 2012 recall, he may not be sleeping too well.

“John Doe probes are conducted in secret so the public can’t know all the details, but leaked documents suggest investigators are looking at possible illegal coordination between Walker’s recall campaign and independent groups that spent millions of dollars to keep him in office. Here’s how the progressive Center for Media and Democracy wrote about the investigation recently:

The John Doe probe began in August of 2012 and is examining possible “illegal campaign coordination between (name redacted), a campaign committee, and certain special interest groups,” according to an unsealed filing in the case. Sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the redacted committee is the Walker campaign, Friends of Scott Walker. Campaign filings show that Walker spent $86,000 on legal fees in the second half of 2013.

A John Doe is similar to a grand jury investigation, but in front of a judge rather than a jury, and is conducted under strict secrecy orders. Wisconsin’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unsealed some documents last week as it rejected a challenge to the probe filed by three of the unnamed “special interest groups” that had received subpoenas in the investigation and issued a ruling allowing the investigation to move forward.” Mother Jones

I highly recommend a full reading of the Mother Jones article linked above.  The cast of characters currently involved in the second John Doe investigation read like a Koch Brothers Who’s Who.  Governor Walker has remained somewhat above the fray so far, but the second investigation seems to be aimed squarely at the Governor.

Do you think Governor Walker will survive the second investigation?  In light of the racist tenor of many of the emails disclosed this week and the caging details, should Wisconsin citizens of color be concerned on the fairness of elections in their communities?

When a campaign resorts to illegal tactics like caging, what does it say about the candidate and his/her platform?  Governor Walker has some explaining to do to the people of Wisconsin.  So far he has laughed off the racist comments in the thousands of email recently released.  I will continue to follow the second John Doe investigation.  I can only hope that the main stream media will do the same.

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty-Weekend Contributor

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers.  As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

52 thoughts on “Governor Walker and Illegal Political Activities”

  1. http://bloggingblue.com/2014/02/walker-aides-conspired-to-engage-in-illegal-vote-caging/Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker’s top aides engaging in an illegal scheme to “cage” Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.

    “Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.

    On page 15,037 of WalkerDocs 1, an email exchange between Walker staffers Kelly Rindfleisch and Nicole Simmons spells it out pretty plainly.

    “If you come this Saturday I can show you how to cage,” Simmons writes. “That will be priority on the weekend.”

    Another email, on page 1,321 of WalkerDocs 2, shows Walker’s chief of staff Keith Gilkes ordering Rindfleisch, Fran McLaughlin and Dorothy Moore to bring friends who can help with the caging effort. Here’s a screenshot.

    “We need cagers for this Saturday, we will have plenty to get caught up on,” he wrote in an email sent Oct. 21, 2010. “Please bring friends that are detail oriented and can put in some solid hours.””

    http://bloggingblue.com/2010/09/illegal-voter-caging-effort-alleged-in-wisconsin/

    “Voter caging is the practice of sending mail to addresses on the voter rolls, compiling a list of the mail that is returned undelivered, and using that list to purge or challenge voters registrations on the grounds that the voters on the list do not legally reside at their registered addresses. Supporters of voter caging defend the practice as a means of preventing votes cast by ineligible voters. Voter caging, however, is notoriously unreliable. If it is treated (unjustifiably) as the sole basis for determining that a voter is ineligible or does not live at the address at which he or she registered, it can lead to the unwarranted purge or challenge of eligible voters. …Moreover, the practice has often been targeted at minority voters, making the effects even more pernicious.”

  2. Well, Spinelli, I almost forgot about misandry. See annofwi for the nomenclature regarding scapegoating and subterfuge. The schools underperform due to all the usual suspects. WI is waiting for generation x, and for the first time in Their lives…..some semblance of economic stability in general.

  3. Tempest in a teapot, good people. This is from someone who doesn’t particularly like the guy. But, I know better to get near a group feeding on steak tartare. Enjoy, let me know if you need any more crostini or crackers.

  4. Scott Walker urged county staff, campaign aides to promote him online
    By Jason Stein, Patrick Marley and Daniel Bice of the Journal Sentinel
    Feb. 22, 2014
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/scott-walker-urged-county-staff-campaign-aides-to-promote-him-online-b99210902z1-246713991.html

    Excerpt:
    Madison — In the heat of the 2010 governor’s race, Scott Walker urged both county employees and campaign aides to go to news websites and post comments promoting him and his record, newly unsealed documents show.

    It was just such anonymous posts by a county worker on campaign issues that prompted prosecutors to expand a secret “John Doe” investigation — launched to probe into missing money in a veterans fund — to also examine whether taxpayer dollars were being used illegally to finance political operations.

    In one instance in May 2010, for example, a close ally posted online a portion of a Walker email almost verbatim on a Journal Sentinel story just minutes after receiving the directive. Walker had sent the note to an inner circle that included county administrators as well as campaign operatives.

    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.

  5. raff, You live in Illinois, the most corrupt Dems in the country have flourished there for generations. PLEASE don’t even insinuate only Rep are corrupt. PLEASE!

  6. The article BRAGS about Minnesota raising taxes and taxing the successful like France. This is a marathon, not a sprint. And overtaxing the job creators will create the situation Greece and France are experiencing. “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

  7. “But in 2010 these cousin states diverged. By doing so they began a natural experiment that compares the agendas of modern progressivism and the new right. Wisconsin elected Republicans to majorities in the Legislature and selected a bold and vigorous Republican governor, Scott Walker. Minnesotans elected one of the most progressive candidates for governor in the country, Mark Dayton of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

    A month after Mr. Walker’s inauguration in January 2011, he catapulted himself to the front ranks of national conservative leaders with attacks on the collective bargaining rights of Civil Service unions and sharp reductions in taxes and spending. Once Mr. Dayton teamed up with a Democratic Legislature in 2012, Minnesota adopted some of the most progressive policies in the country.

    Minnesota raised taxes by $2.1 billion, the largest increase in recent state history. Democrats introduced the fourth highest income tax bracket in the country and targeted the top 1 percent of earners to pay 62 percent of the new taxes, according to the Department of Revenue.

    Which side of the experiment — the new right or modern progressivism — has been most effective in increasing jobs and improving business opportunities, not to mention living conditions?

    Obviously, firm answers will require more time and more data, but the first round of evidence gives the edge to Minnesota’s model of increased services, higher costs (mostly for the affluent) and reduced payments to entrenched interests like the insurers who cover the Medicaid population.

    Three years into Mr. Walker’s term, Wisconsin lags behind Minnesota in job creation and economic growth. As a candidate, Mr. Walker promised to produce 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, but a year before the next election that number is less than 90,000. Wisconsin ranks 34th for job growth. Mr. Walker’s defenders blame the higher spending and taxes of his Democratic predecessor for these disappointments, but according to Forbes’s annual list of best states for business, Wisconsin continues to rank in the bottom half.

    Along with California, Minnesota is the fifth fastest growing state economy, with private-sector job growth exceeding pre-recession levels. Forbes rates Minnesota as the eighth best state for business. ” New York Times

  8. Jason, You speak some hard truths. Wi. also has a very expensive public education industry w/ meager results.

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