The Obama Administration has given the go-ahead to a massive new oil exploration program off the Atlantic coast....
We've obtained a trove of thousands of previously secret emails from a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker who pleaded guilty to a felony and is a target of a secret investigation. Our live updates will appear below as we dig through the documents.
Update, 5:25 p.m. CST: Our live blogging of the #WalkerDocs is finished for today, but this story is far from over. Thanks for reading, and don't forget to tweet us your tips if you find something we missed!
Update, 4:30 p.m. CST: Page 8 of an affidavit (PDF) included with the files we were given this morning says, "there is reason to believe that Darlene Wink may have engaged in activity designed to hide her misconduct."
Wink, Walker's former county director of constituent services, took a plea deal on two counts of political solicitation by a public employee after she was caught posting comments on The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's website.
"I am advised by IT Manager Jim Krueger that he has examined the laptop computer seized on August 9, 2010 at the Wink residence," writes David Budde, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's chief investigator. "This is the laptop that I believe was used to connect to the yahoo.com accounts via wireless modem from the courthouse. Krueger advises that he found installed on this laptop a program called DFP, 'Delete Files Permanently.' Krueger advises that he has found evidence that the program was run on May 20, 2010 (about five days after she resigned from her position with Milwaukee County)."
Update, 4 p.m. CST: Emails on Pg. 4,677 of WalkerDocs 2 shows just how concerned Walker's folks were about a rape in a county facility that housed male and female acute psychiatric patients together. Rindfliesch proposes running the issue by a lawyer, but Walker and campaign staffer Keith Gilkes are more interested in talking about the political implications. Here's a screenshot.
"Just do me a favor and tell him that we are getting the crap kicked out of us by the County Board -- at some point, I would like him to stop being a lawyer and think political for change and let us fight back," Gilkes writes.
Update, 3:40 p.m. CST: This one's a doozy. On Pg. 10,854 of WalkerDocs 1, Walker's former chief of staff Thomas Nardelli forwards a highly racist email that we've embedded below, retelling the details of a supposed "nightmare" about waking up one day to discover... Well, just read it for yourself.
Update, 2:41 p.m. CST: An email on Pg. 4,897 of WalkerDocs 2 features Walker drafting talking points for his chief of staff on how to respond to questions from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Daniel Bice. Here's a screenshot.
"Here is my thought for a statement from Tom," he writes. "'Darlene Wink violated the policy of this office. Neither me, the County Executive nor his campaign authorized her actions. When I confronted her about these actions, she offered her resignation.'"
R.J. Johnson replies: "With a couple grammar fixes I think it's fine."
Update, 2:02 p.m. CST: Well, this one's awkward.
On page 6,814 of WalkerDocs 1, Walker's jailed aide Timothy Russell passes around a link to a video of Chris Christie talking down to a reporter. "SKW [their shorthand for Walker] should talk like this," he exclaims.
Walker's people are likely to bristle today at comparisons to Christie, an analogy that's gaining traction in the Twitter-verse. Oh how things have changed.
Update, 1:05 p.m. CST: Here's an email on Pg. 9,273 in WalkerDocs 2 where Walker himself tells Milwaukee County Spokesperson Fran McLaughlin how chief of staff Tom Nardelli should respond to questions about his work history.
"If it even comes up, Tom's answer should be short and pithy," he writes. "'Sup Weishan should stop spending his time dreaming up political attacks with SEIU and start working on the county budget.'"
Update, 12:54 p.m. CST: We're finding more context on the first update about Cindy Anczak, the woman who starved to death in a county mental health facility. A chain of emails starting on page 1,376 of WalkerDocs 2 shows Walker's people talking about the family's lawsuit in purely political terms.
R.J. Johnson sarcastically notes that the family chose to sue close to the election. However, the documents had not yet been officially filed, so Walker himself chimes in and says the lawsuit should not be made public. "Keep it buried until Nov. 2nd and then hopefully they settle," replies chief of staff Keith Gilkes.
Update, 12:30 p.m. CST: On pages 8,921 and 8,922 of WalkerDocs 2, we find Walker's county chief of staff Thomas Nardelli passing along a racist email smearing Muslims. It is titled, "Tolerance." Nardelli comments, "After the candidate forum, this will put a smile on your face for certain!"
I am perplexed that so many are against a mosque being built near Ground Zero. I think it should be the goal of every American to be tolerant. The mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.
That is why I also propose, that two gay nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque thereby promoting tolerance within the mosque. We could call the clubs "The Turban Cowboy" and "You Mecca Me So Hot".
Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork and have an open barbeque with spare ribs as its daily special. Across the street a very daring lingerie store called "Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret" with sexy
mannequins in the window modeling the goods.
Next door to the lingerie shop, there would be room for an Adult Toy Shop (Koranal Knowledge?), its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store, maybe call it "Morehammered"
Update, 12:21 p.m. CST: Here's an email in which Walker's campaign manager instructs a county communications director on how to control the release of Walker's salary. Found on page 9,068 of WalkerDocs 2.
Update, 11:47 a.m. CST: Here's Walker campaign strategist R.J. Johnson supervising the county staff's statement denying that they're coordinating with the campaign. This is a biggie. Found on page 6,707 of WalkerDocs 1.
Update, 11:20 a.m. CST: Here's a county staffer emailing campaign advisers on how to respond to talk about taxes. Walker chimes in personally, saying, "This is good." Found on Pg. 8,122 of WalkerDocs 2.
Update, 10:45 a.m. CST: From our friend John Nichols...
Bad-movie politics: Scott Walker aides emailed about how they wanted to "make mike tate disappear." Tate is state D Party chair. #walkerdocs
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) February 19, 2014
He's referring to Pg. 474 in WalkerDocs 2. Rindfleisch writes: "How do you not blow a nut with all the lies that the democrats put out. It makes me wanna get Villa's uncle mike to make mike tate disappear." Here's the screenshot.
Update, 10:37 a.m. CST: Pages 10-17 of this affidavit (PDF) contain exhibits showing what appears to be direct coordination between Walker's campaign and executive staff.
Update, 10:30 a.m. CST: Here's an email apparently from Walker in which he directs his campaign to keep secret a lawsuit filed by the family of the 15 year old killed in the Milwaukee parking lot collapse. Correction: Walker was referring to Cindy Anczak, who starved to death in a mental health facility. Found on Pg. 1,378 in WalkerDocs 2.