But it has come to my attention that there is a lot of misinformation and confusion, from both sides of the political aisle, regarding what is happening, what things could mean and even what is relevant. Some of fellow lefties, in their zeal, are getting lost on irrelevant details and tangents. Meanwhile, there are those on the right that are trying to minimize the ramifications and/or distract the people's attentions from what is happening.
To clarify things, I will present a history of events, and introduction to the players and the inclusion of some things that seem to have gotten lost in the coverage of the story.
It started in May 2010 when Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's coordinator of constituents services, Darlene Wink, was caught leaving comments on JSOnline during work hours and using county computers. Wink was posting under the handle of "RPMCVP" which stood for her other position - Republican Party of Milwaukee Co-Vice-President. Within hours of Dan Bice filing an open records request, Wink quit her job. However, even I, one of Walker's most ardent critics, found the whole Wink affair to be rather innocuous. Later it was learned that Wink had lawyered up pretty quickly.
Others were more suspicious.
Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan filed an open records request of his own to find out if any of Walker's other aides were also doing something similar. Several months and thousands of dollars later, Walker gave Weishan an unsatisfactory few sheets of paper indicating that Walker and few other aides had gone to various sites like WisPolitics.com. Apparently, this information, besides costing more than it should have, was not accurate.
Because of Weishan's tenacity, some of Walker's allies, the misnamed group Citizens for Responsible Government, filed a criminal complaint in retaliation against yours truly, using, shall we say, very irresponsible "documentation" to support their allegations.
Also in May of last year, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin followed Walker on his annual bike ride to promote
Interestingly, at the same time interest in Wink and Russell were growing, there was a website called "ScottforGov.com," which was a strongly pro-Walker blog and was staffed with people who had obvious political connections. There had been speculation that the writers were members of Walker's county staff, his campaign staff (or both, since Walker has a long history of blurring that line).
Around the time of Wink's outing, they stopped publishing new posts. A week later, they killed their twitter account. Before 2010 came to a close, they had removed all comments and then took the entire site down.
At the beginning of 2011, it was learned that everyone that could possibly be involved were lawyering up but good. Walker's campaign hired Steve Biskupic and his favorite law firm, for a mere $60,000, to make sure all their i's were dotted and all their t's were crossed. Other big names, including Frank Gimbel and Paul Bucher, were being floated around. (Gimbel was believed by some to be hired by Tom Nardelli.)
And speaking of Nardelli, long considered a possible subject of Walkergate, he had recently and abruptly left public service on a very flimsy excuse.
Hot on the heels of that news, Cynthia Archer announced that she was taking a personal leave from her job, to which she had no intentions of returning.
Which leads us back to how we got into this - the raid on Archer's home. Now Archer has said that she's done nothing wrong and doesn't need legal representation. Deserving of skepticism and cynicism, it should be pointed out that Archer also said she had nothing to do with Walkergate just days before they did the search of her house, confiscating a lot of things, including computer hard drives.
There are some on the right, including radio squawker Jeff Wagner, who are trying to minimize the ramifications of the Archer incident by questioning if it is an appropriate use of resources for just some political comments left on the paper's website.
This is misleading in the sense that this is so much more than just Wink's misdeeds. It's already led to one conviction, that of William Gardner, who was found to having made illegal donations to Walker's campaign. It also involves the possible illegal campaigning by Russell and the rest of Walker's cronies. There has also been rumors of many more people who might be persons of interest in this investigation, but I won't name them until I have more confirmation of their involvement.
I would also not be surprised if the fact that Walker and his gang left the county executive suite with most of the files and computers missing is tied into the investigation as well.
And on a final note, I must point out that while Walker has been backpedaling like crazy and denying any knowledge of anything (well, OK, that's plausible at least), one of his repeated phrases is that the investigators have not asked him any questions. That is to be expected. They are building the case up to him, if it indeed reaches that far. But if it does, he is probably sitting in the governor's mansion, sweating bullets and drinking Maalox by the case, hoping none of his cronies turns stool pigeon.