On Wednesday, the Shepherd Express published an article I had written to provide an overview of Walkergate.
On Thursday, Walkergate exploded with more news.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm announced the arrest and charging of three people stemming from the ongoing investigation. These included Tim Russell, who was charged with two felony counts of embezzlement and one misdemeanor charge of embezzlement. Also charged were Kevin Kavanaugh for one count of felony embezzlement and four counts of felony fraudulent writings and Brian Pierick for two very disturbing felony charges, one for child enticement and one for exposing genitals or pubic area. (Warning: The complaint against Pierick is very graphic) I will address the latter two in detail at a later date.
|Tim Russell in happier times.|
The complaint goes on to give a list of things Russell used the purloined money for, including vacation trips to places like Hawaii and a trip to meet former presidential wannabe Herman Cain.
Oddly, Scott Walker used his campaign to comment on government business and to take credit for bringing the issue to the DA's attention, which Chisolm had stated in his press conference. Perhaps he was advised that this would give him wiggle room when further news erupted, as opposed to an official statement as governor.
Squawk radio hosts and right wing bloggers came down with cases of acute selectivitis, in which they suffer severe symptoms of selective hearing, selective reading and selective comprehension to take a "there's nothing else to see here, move along" attitude. The notable exception to this epidemic outbreak was James Wigderson, who admitted that the investigation is continuing.
Indeed, Chisolm clearly stated in his press conference that this was an ongoing investigation.
And there are many unanswered question and unexplained events that would support the notion that Walkergate is far from being over. But before I delve into those, there are two things I feel should be noted.
One, this is not the first time it's been alleged that Russell has stolen. In October 2010, Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan brought up the fact that Russell had been terminated from a position with WHEDA when he used a state-owned credit card for personal use.
Another thing to note, which also would indicate that there is more news to come, is a specific part of the complaint against Russell. There is a section of the complaint that points out that Russell had used some of the money he had allegedly pilfered to buy a number of websites. One set of sites was for his realty business. The other sites were for apparent political use, including one that is very familiar to me:
The site, MilwaukeeCountyExecutiveScottWalkerforGovernor is the address used for the unofficial official Walker campaign site, ScottforGov.com, which I had pointed out in An Introduction to Watergate. The fact that Russell owned this site further supports my speculation from May 2010 that it was indeed Walker's staffers who were blogging on there during work hours. It would also go along way in explaining why this site had a much easier time getting records requests fulfilled than most people, as was exemplified by the time I had inquired about a Milwaukee Parks logo on a tea party banner.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of things that have not been addressed in today's news that would indicate that this is not the beginning of the end of Walkergate just yet.
Here are just a few of them:
- This does not address what, if anything, they are going to be doing about Darlene Wink's self-admitted politicking on the taxpayers dime.
- The involvement if Cullen Werwie, Walker's spokesman, in the investigation or why he was given immunity.
- It was not explained why they want to speak with Andrew Jensen, the realty mogul, who is expected to meet with the DA's office on January 25.
- It does not explain Nardelli's sudden departure from his state job or his need to lawyer up.
- Nor do the events explain why Walker paid Steve Biskupic, former US Attorney, at least $60,000 to represent his campaign.
- There was also no mention of the footage shot by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, showing Russell campaign during Walker's last Harley-Davidson ride around the state or the complaint they filed with the DA's Office as a result.
- It does not resolve the mystery of how so many files and computers ended up missing from the Milwaukee County Courthouse as Walker left to become governor.
- There is no mention of Cindy Archer or the things that they took from her home, including a computer hard drive.
In addition to the above points, the biggest question regarding them is how much did Walker know about any of this. It's hard to believe he knew nothing, considering that many of these people were his top advisors and closest friends.
Yup, no matter how much Walker or his supporters might try to wish Walkergate away with the news from Thursday's arrests, John Doe is very much alive and kicking. Time will tell how many more shoes will drop before it is all over or the full impact it will have on Walker's political career, including his pending recall.