What a rip snorter that turned out to be!
Walker gave us his best impression of Nixon's "I'm not a crook" line when he again denied being John Doe:
Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that coordination between his gubernatorial campaign and his Milwaukee County executive's office in 2010 was fundamentally different than the caucus scandal that shook the state Capitol a decade ago.For someone who is supposedly "'absolutely' confident" that he isn't John Doe, he's sure betting against himself. Walker has already funneled a third of a million dollars into his legal cooperation fund - and that's just the money we know of. It's probably a lot more now, especially after today.
And he said he remains "absolutely" confident that he is not the subject of a criminal investigation involving former aides in the Milwaukee office.
And aren't prisons full of innocent people, at least according to the inmates?
But I digress.
Walker had more funnies to tell, like this:
Walker was an Assembly representative from 1993 to 2002, the same year five top lawmakers from both parties were criminally charged with illegally running political campaigns out of their state offices where taxpayer-funded legislative staffers worked.While it's true that Walker wasn't investigated during the original caucus scandal, he did surround himself with people who were involved in it, most notably Rindfleisch herself. Apparently, Walker wanted experienced people to run his own version of the caucus scandal.
At a Capitol press conference Monday, Walker said that he wasn't involved in the caucus scandal and that it was "legally" different than the coordination between his campaign and county employees in 2010, which came to light last week during the sentencing hearing of a former Milwaukee County employee.
But then Walker delivers the best line of the day:
Walker repeated Monday in the interview that he had no knowledge of anyone in his county office doing illegal campaign work, and if he had, he would have stopped it. He said nothing during Rindfleisch's sentencing made him think he was under investigation.Well, that's a different tune that he was singing at the beginning of the year when he said:
“Had we been aware of anyone else who violated the…policy [against campaigning on taxpayers’ dime], we would have taken the same action [that we took against Darlene Wink and requested their resignation].”Of course, both those lines are utterly false.
Walker never asked for Darlene Wink's resignation, she quit before he had the chance.
And, of course, there's other proof that Walker is lying, because as we all know, with all things Walker, there's more. There's always more:
This email shows that not only did Walker know that illegal activities were happening, but exactly what kind of activities. And not only did he know, he was directing it. Why else would he use his campaign email and send it to Tim Russell, who was no longer even working in his office by this time.
It should be also noted that in Rindfleisch's sentencing, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf gave us two more emails that Walker was involved in.
One was five days before the above email, and showed that not only were they happening long after their "routine" 8 am phone conference call, but showed his campaign to get other county staff to think politically instead of legally:
The other one was also much later than their "routine" call, but several months after Walker said he would have asked people to resign:
Further belying Walker's Eagle Scout image is the simple fact that he had hired Rindfleisch for his campaign even though he knew that she was being investigated and kept her on until he could get WISGOP and a Republican PR group to hire her.
But this is all old news to the gentle reader.
The real question that the reporters should have asked Walker, as it turns out, is whether he has confidence in his confidants.
As I pointed out last week, after Rindfleisch's sentencing, all eyes were turning to Tim Russell, the next one of the Walker Six that was going up for trial.
As I have been doing for months, I pointed out that it would be in Russell's best interest to take a plea bargain, if the DA's Office would allow it. Russell, and his endless parade of defense attorneys, had been playing such games that the DA had pulled the offer of any plea deals.
But apparently, with a week to go until his trial, Russell gave the prosecutors enough to get the to change their minds. Court records entered on Monday show that they have indeed reached a plea deal and will present before the Court on Thursday afternoon.
It makes sense that Russell would try for a plea deal. Not only did the DA have a pile of evidence to prove the embezzlement charges, but they could have charged him with so many other things, such as campaigning on taxpayers time. On top of that, Darlene Wink and Kelly Rindfleisch were standing at the ready to testify against him.
There is no telling at this time what form the plea bargain will take, but there are a couple of things that would allow an educated guess.
One, as I have just mentioned, it that the DA's office had pulled any offer of a plea bargain due to Russell's antics. For them to reconsider, and to think that the Court will accept it, it had to be fairly cooperative.
Secondly, we have an idea of what the prosecutors were looking for from Rindfleisch's case:
Steve Schultze of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Gimbel said that the DA's Office tried to get Rindfleisch to cooperate with their investigation, which she refused. Read this excerpt of the article carefully (emphasis mine):This was confirmed by the DA's Office at her sentencing:
A former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker resisted prosecutors' efforts to get her to implicate others in a longstanding John Doe investigation, the aide's attorney said Monday.Now, there weren't many people above Rindfleisch.
Prosecutors sought cooperation from Kelly Rindfleisch, who worked as Walker's deputy chief of staff in 2010 when Walker was still Milwaukee County executive, said Franklyn Gimbel, Rindfleisch's lawyer.
"They tried to get her to turn on somebody in authority, but she declined," Gimbel said in an interview. "They were looking for information on people up the food chain," Gimbel said.
He declined to name them.
Rindfleisch provided little useful information to prosecutors during sessions with prosecutors that might have led to lesser charges against her, Landgraf wrote in his sentencing memo to Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher.
"While that does not mean she was untruthful, it is my judgment that her loyalties rested, and continue to rest with those who have supported her since Nov. 1, 2010, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Friends of Scott Walker," Landgraf wrote. The friends group is Walker's campaign committee.
It does cause one to stop and wonder if hell hath no fury like a confidant scorned.
Another thing to ponder while we await to see what comes of this plea bargain is that this will effectively wrap up the main part of the first round of Walkergate. The only things left will be the sentencing of Wink and now Russell and the trial for Russell's partner, Brian Pierick.
The timing of this is a good sign as well. Milwaukee County's fiscal year runs the same as the calendar year, from January 1 to December 31. That means that in a month, the DA's Office has its new budget and can then proceed with the next round. Who might be involved with that is up for speculation as well, but we already have quite a list of potential candidates, including Walker himself.
These are interesting times, indeed.