By Harvey Wasserman
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Scott Walker and campaign managers for his 2010 gubernatorial run directed Milwaukee County staff to advance Walker's candidacy, according to e-mails released in court this week during the sentencing of a former Walker aide.
Assistant district attorney Bruce Landgraf gave a PowerPoint presentation that exposed the ongoing e-mails between Kelly M. Rindfleisch and top members of Walker's campaign staff. Rindfleisch was sentenced to six months in jail for doing illegal campaign work out of Walker's Milwaukee County executive office.
So far, four people have been convicted in the ongoing, secret John Doe probe. Walker has insisted he is not a target of this investigation and he has not been charged. Walker's campaign spokesman said the e-mails show routine coordination between Walker's county office and his campaign over media inquiries and scheduling.
But a closer look at Landgraf's presentation reveals that the coordination went beyond scheduling issues. Fundraising was routinely done during normal business hours. A "media group," composed of Walker, Rindfleisch, top county staffers, and campaign workers, reviewed every press released published by the county executive's office.
In order to counter negative coverage about mismanagement of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex during Walker's stint as Milwaukee County Executive, county and campaign staffers sought to "blow up" a story about the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Dane County. One e-mail from Rindfleisch in this saga says, "This needs to be done covertly so it's not tied to Scott, the county or the campaign in any way."
Rindfleisch's attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, said it's unimaginable that Walker and other elected officials didn't know about the illegal campaign activities, but the Gov insulated himself from liability.
"There was a moat that Walker created between his campaign operation and his county executive office," Gimbel said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. "I think when the moat was crossed, it was by his campaign staff, not him."
Whether or not Walker will be charged with wrongdoing is unclear. But it's obvious that the shenanigans surrounding Walker's campaign and Milwaukee County staff sound like something out of Illinois, the state Walker loves to hate.
If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Jesse Jackson Jr May End Up in Jail Rather than Congress."
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