Saturday, November 17, 2012

Walkergate: Rindfleisch's Legal Defense Funder

Last April, I pointed out that Walkergate defendants Tim Russell and Kelly Rindfleisch had already been racking up rather sizable legal bills and questioned who was paying for all of this.

That's when I had revealed the little bit that I had known about Rindfleisch's benefactors and how she was able to pay for her massive legal bills:
I have learned from a source familiar with Walkergate that Walker is offering assistance to Kelly Rindfleisch.

She is reportedly working for one of Walker's vendors, a communications/consultancy firm, although I have not determined the exact name. I will let you know once I have it confirmed.

The word also is that Keith Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager, is helping her raise funds for her defense, which, like Russell's, must be reaching a considerable total by now.
Lo and behold, I once again proven correct.

Now that Rindfleisch is to be sentenced on Monday, both the prosecutors and the defense have filed their sentencing memorandums.

And my goodness, but they are quite the treasure trove!

As I had reported, Scott Walker was supporting her, as was the Rience Priebus run-WISGOP.

Despite Walker and WISGOP knowing that the home she was crashing in in West Allis was searched on November 1, 2010 - the day before the election - and that her house in Columbia County was raided on November 21 of the same year, Walker's campaign hired her right away:
And yet, Walker's campaign gave her a job "immediately after she left county service," Landgraf wrote of Rindfleisch, who is to be sentenced Monday.

She was fired from her county job in late December 2010 by Lee Holloway, who was County Board chairman and interim executive.

R.J. Johnson, a Republican political consultant who worked on Walker's race for governor, also told prosecutors that Rindfleisch worked for Walker's campaign in 2011, according to an investigator's report filed in court. Johnson testified at a secret John Doe hearing Oct. 27, 2011, according to the report.

Rindfleisch also was paid more than $34,000 for work for the Republican Party through a vendor, Media Systems Affiliates, through August of this year, according to the document.

Tom Evenson, spokesman for the Walker campaign, said Rindfleisch was hired by the state Republican Party to work on various administrative duties after the 2010 election.

Evenson said she later gave notice that she would be taking a job with a campaign vendor, presumably Media Systems Affiliates.
It should be noted that Media Systems Affiliates is an agency that specializes in the technological side of political campaigning - setting up websites and the such - hired Rindfleisch even though she has no technical skills or experience. Of course, the $420,000 that the Walker campaign paid them probably helped sway their hiring decision.

Evenson, the spokesman for Walker's campaign, then lies through his teeth saying that Rindfleisch was hired before she was charged and that they knew nothing about any details of the investigation.

This is utter rubbish.

The DA's report states that several people "close to Walker's campaign" knew about the raid on the home in West Allis - which, by the way, is owned by another Walker crony and person of interest in the Walkergate investigation, Jim Villa - within hours.

Even if they weren't aware of her sham home in West Allis being raided, they knew damn well that Walker's entire executive suite had been also raided on November 1, and that the DA's office had confiscated all the computers and files, including those in Rindfleisch's office.

The reports also reveal why Walker was laundering all this money into Rindfleisch's bank account:
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.
To put it as plainly as possible, Walker and Priebus were buying her silence.

Her misplaced loyalty and silence was so strong that ADA Bruce Landgraf determined that it wasn't even worthwhile to ask her questions about Brett Davis, for whom she was working during the times specified in the criminal complaint against her.

And the only reason they would have needed to buy her silence was because she knew things that would implicate them in the caucus scandal-type of operation they were running out of the Milwaukee County Courthouse during the gubernatorial campaign.

Now, I know that this is a lot to take in already, but as I keep telling the gentle reader, when it comes to all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.

The article also confirms another thing that I have been saying all along - that Brett Davis, who is now Walker's Director of Medicaid was Walker's first choice as lieutenant governor:
Rindfleisch was charged with four felony misconduct counts, but pleaded guilty to one of them last month as part of a plea deal. She admitted doing work on Brett Davis' campaign for lieutenant governor while at her county job. Davis was then a Republican legislator; he is now state Medicaid director.

Walker did not officially endorse any of the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor in 2010, but his campaign manager Keith Gilkes told a donor that Davis was "the candidate" for lieutenant governor, according to the criminal complaint in the Rindfleisch case.
Oh, when will one of these reporters develop the journalistic fortitude to ask Rebecca Kleefisch how she feels knowing that Walker didn't want her to be his partner in the Capitol?!

And when will one of these reporters develop the journalistic fortitude to ask Walker why he had not only hired Davis to be a top official in his administration, but has kept him around even though he was breaking the law as much as Rindfleisch?

So, anyway, is the gentle reader's mind boggled yet?

Well, the above was just the facts. Now consider the implications.

First, how will this impact the case against Tim Russell?

Russell, who is going to trial on December 3rd, now knows that Walker was bankrolling Rindfleisch's legal defense fund while leaving Russell to hang out to dry to the point that Russell is now relying on a publicly funded attorney to represent him.

Will this ultimate betrayal from his very special friend be enough to change Russell's mind and get him to take a plea bargain to sell out Walker and others? Or is Russell's adoration and loyalty and love so strong that he will fall on his secret router for Walker? This smart decision is even clearer knowing that Russell could still be facing more charges down the road for things like illegal campaigning.

And even if Russell decides to fall on his secret router and stay as silent as Rindfleisch, will it really matter?

Remember that the DA has all of the computers, Blackberry phones and files that they took in that raid on November 1, 2010. And they have the scads of papers which was found in the Mystery Dumpster O'Fun.

I have stated several times that I have been told that the DA is waiting to resolve the first round of prosecutions before going on to the next phase. As it stands now, they have to do the sentencing for Kevin Kavanaugh, Darlene Wink and Rindfleisch. They also have to do the trials for Russell and Brian Pierick.

As I have mentioned, Rindfleisch gets sentenced Monday. Wink gets sentenced (maybe) on Wednesday. Kavanaugh's sentencing date is December 7. Russell's hearing is December 3 and Pierick's hearing isn't until next year.

So by year's end, most of these cases will be done or in the mop up stage. Also, it should be noted that Milwaukee County's fiscal year, including that of the DA's office, starts fresh on January 1st, giving the DA a whole new batch of money to deal with the next phase of Walkergate.

Given all the evidence the DA's office has gathered, the mention of asking about Brett Davis and the fact that with Walker - say it with me - there is always more, I have a good feeling that 2013 could be another interesting year. And another year that we will be learning that Walker, not to mention the Republicans as a whole, has a depth of corruption that we haven't even imagined.

And yes, I have no reason to doubt that this will end up with one obvious conclusion:


36 comments:

  1. Remember, WisGOP, it took 4 years to convict Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison. The DA has only been investigating Walker/WisGOP for 2 years. Lots more can and probably will happen.

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  2. Capper, as always, great job. Thanks.

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  3. "Fall on his secret router for Walker"...I did a spit-take on that one.

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  4. Although I'm only giving this process a 50/50 chance of walker getting charged (low exceptions and you're never disappointed), there are definitely some juicy tidbits in here that lead one to think charges for conspiracy and racketeering could be warranted:

    "...Ms. Rindfleisch was given a job with the Friends of Scott Walker campaign immediately after she left county service..."
    ->WOuld have been hired by Keith Gilkes (the FOSW Campaing Manager). Gilkes transfered from Campaign Manger to Chief of Staff after the inauguration. No break in service for Walker and the cast remained the say. Did the job?

    "...Ms. Rindfleisch was also identified by a friend as "possibly" helping to remove political materials and records from government buildings to an off-site storage shed..."
    ->Off-site storage shed o' fun? If this is what her friend was saying, imagine if Wink also had dirt on this. I'd argue that "political" materials created in a government building by government employees are then government property. Destruction of government property is illegal.

    "...This misconduct was unrelenting from February 1, 2010 until the
    time she left her fundraising position in July 2010..."
    ->The Wink Smoking Gun email came out 14MAY2010. That's a CONFIRMED two months of 'unrelenting' work for the campaign while at Walker's Executive Office after being told to stop. How did Walker not know? I mean, he hired her on at FOSW immediately after her illegal work ended at Milwaukee County.

    The only hole in this story, is that there appears to be a consistent layer of separation between Walker and Rindfleisch (save for the hiring document).

    Rindfleisch->Russell->Walker
    Rindfleisch->Gilks->Walker
    Rindfleisch->Vila-Walker

    If they can prove he knew what she was doing for those two months, that's got to count as conspiracy, right? We'll see what falls out of Russell's trial Remember, he's not be tried for campaigning at work or abuse of public office. So, the content will likely be a different door into this CF.

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    1. Capper,

      So, I've thought long and hard about that email. Walker's is going to say that he had no idea about the effort to abuse county resources until it hit the pages of the JS. When it did, he acted swiftly to fire Wink. When he called Wink to talk about her firing and to let her know it wasn't personal, she then told him about the laptops, websites, and time away during the work day (i.e. what Rindfleisch and Russell were up to).

      Once he heard what Wink had to say about Russell and Rindfleisch, he knew he had to do something. However, not having a smoking gun (as Rindfleisch and Russell would deny Wink's accusations), he figured it would be best to reprimand them in a private fashion and direct them to stop the funny business. Yeah, he knows he probably should have started a formal investigation, but Wink was just fired and was emotionally inclined to blame others for her malfeasance. Therefor, instead of causing a big hullabaloo over what was, in his mind, just an ex-employee trying to throw others under the bus, he acted in a private and discrete manner that would resolve the issue. As far as he was concerned, the issue was settled and he could again continue his job managing Milwaukee County. The fact that Rindfleisch kept up the work for two more months was failure on her part to follow direction.


      That's the defense and it leaves Walker looking like caring boss and Rindfleisch looking like a felon. Granted, if there are any emails after that date between Walker, Russell, or Rindfleisch, his goose would then be cooked (not to mention if there were any emails before that day showing he knew about the going-on, as he'd then be implicated in supporting the effort).

      So, based upon what we know, that's his only excuse. Or, from what the JS said a few weeks ago, maybe him quasi knowing didn't constitute a crime and that's what caused the tension at the DA's office....(I had mentioned a few weeks ago that he could say he knew she was volunteering her time to help campaign, but thought it was all after hours).

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    2. Except that it was county business done on his campaign email, so he can't really use that excuse.

      And I am sure that this one email is only the tip of the iceberg. His goose is cooked.

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  5. Did her relatives say she "is no longer in the political arena and most likely will never return" in any sort of sworn statement? IE did they commit perjury? And if so, how easily could one use that as leverage to 'loosen' her up to start talking about Walker?

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    1. They weren't under oath. Odds are they weren't lying, as far as they were concerned. It's more likely that Rindfleisch lied to them.

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  6. The document makes it clear that Rindfleisch will never, ever talk about Walker (she barely talked about Russell). They also indicated that they can't compel her to due to her plea deal and the whole double jeopardy thing. I think one thing to take away from this, is that the Rindfleisch routine has run its course. The only way she benefits the DA now is that her conviction gives him credibility should he pursue other in the JD probe.

    It's a shame we didn't get to see those 1000s of emails between her and the FOSC campaign that she was writing while on county time....

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    1. Wrong. She plead guilty so there is no double jeopardy involved as she was never tried and convicted. Also, she cannot plead the 5th if called in to testify at a later date as again, she has no immunity from prosecution as she plead guilty.

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  7. So, by pleading guilty to only one charge, I assume she's facing only 3.5 years in prison and not the 14 years she'd face if she pleaded guilty to 4 felony counts? Still, 3.5 years in prison is no picnic. And, if she goes away for 3.5 years and gets tired of that, can she spill her guts at a later date to get out of prison?

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    1. Nope. She had her chance. She's probably appeal her conviction all the way to the state supreme court. We all know how reliable they are to uphold the law.

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    2. She cannot appeal if she plead guilty. There was no conviction as she plead out.

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  8. I would say that Rindfleisch either has family members at risk of life and limb (as I have said in the past Walker reminds me of a Mafia mouth piece)or there is some sort of pay off down the road for her that is making it worth her taking the rap. Just keep in mind that Koch brothers are involved in the buying of Walker's seat at the table of thinking he is King so Rindfleisch could have a life in the Islands waiting or money in Switzerland. The probe will be finished and when it is I think we will find out that the FBI and the CIA and other organizaations are sitting in the back ground just watching this crook knit his sweater of greed.

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  9. There is something here that no one has touched on as far as any of these people are concerned and that is the fact that this might have all come about because Walker and Russel were friends like in gay friends, so Walker started giving him better jobs and Rindfleisch found out and the merry-go-round started to play out. Ther is something deeper in this whole thing that is sucking the life out of the others involved in the cover up and is sure just leaves a bad taste in their mouths, why is that. This angle would sure make just a lot more sense in some of the reasons for jobs being created for either of the two of them and then for the boyfriend of Russell. I have been waiting for someone to bring this theory into play but it just never rolled it's head and blinked and I have not understood that one. When the Governor took off on his motorcycle he had to have complete secretism of his where abouts. I think that I would put some money on this theory if I were a betting person.

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    1. Jo,

      Although I'm sure it's within the real of possibility, I doubt that Walker and Russell are lovers. That kind of thing is hard to hide for as long as Walker has been alive and Russell's partner would probably have not been comfortable in such an arrangement (if anything, Pierick would have known).

      Gay men are, as far as I know, just as prone to hero worship and ass kissing as the rest of us. Granted, Russell secretly pining for Walker could have enhanced the hero worship thing, but I doubt there was anything more than that (I could be wrong, but it's not a conclusion that had crossed my mind).

      However, Walker taking advantage of Russell's lust for him in order to encourage him to do his dirty work (like when you're in 7th grade and the good looking gal gets you to eat a worm because you want to please her...). Maybe Russell just hoped he could eat enough worms....

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    2. Well, someone else has finally been reading between the lines.

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    3. I must be paying attention and what planet are you living onNovember 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Scandalous supposition. Everyone knows something like this or that is never true when it is married, conservative, church going, family values, conservative,Republicans.
      Never ever.

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  10. I bumped into a pdf today posted openly on the internet. Maybe it is old news to everyone. (Sorry if that's the case!) Anyway, I've been intrigued by Walkergate, and I have never seen this before:

    http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/_120126_Rindfleisch_Complaint.pdf

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  11. Where does Walker's secret daughter figure into all of this?

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    1. Considering the fact that he doesn't have one, it doesn't fit anywhere.

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    2. Considering the fact that he doesn't have one, it doesn't fit anywhere.

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  12. Read til your bored but Here’s what some of the legalese means;

    Rindlefisch had filed and lost a motion to dismiss based on improper venue. She lost the motion in the trial court but could appeal on that basis if she lost AT TRIAL.

    One of the rules is that if a defendant appeals and wins in these circumstances the conviction is thrown out. The state had a chance to prove its case and could not prove (because it did not prove venue).

    However, when one pleads guilty they waive their right to object to jurisdictional issues, such as venue.

    This is only true if you plead guilty; a person who goes to trial has not waived any rights and thus can appeal based on jurisdiction.

    The sentencing memo indicates that at some point she was presented two possibilities

    1. Accept the plea offer. She pleads guilty and the government recommends probation plus jail. Her attorney can recommend whatever he wants, and then the judge decides a sentence. She is a convicted felon.
    This is the offer she chose. It’s a reasonable offer, but it probably means some jail time.

    The key is the alternative—what she did not choose
    2. An abbreviated court trial-- There is no such thing. A court trial is a trial to just the judge. Perhaps he means it is abbreviated as compared to a jury trial. In any event, the memo clearly indicates that Rindlefisch was (or should have been) aware that a trial would preserve her appeal rights, as indicated above. If she lost at trial, she can appeal that issue.

    Additionally she knew that a trial would necessitate the public release of thousands of emails between her and the Walker campaign.
    So by accepting the deal she gives up her right to trial and the emails stay sealed. But, there’s more.

    One presumes her lawyer told her the following:

    1. You get credit in court for cooperating, particularly in a political case involving corruption.

    2. No one’s kidding anybody, you got busted for being dirty before. Screw the blah blah blah about that being expunged; everyone knows it .

    3. You’re not the whale they want, but you ain’t no minnow either. You need credit because you ain't done shit for the government yet. You’re not going to prison but you’re probably going to jail.

    4. The government wants those records out to the public. We can scream its just to screw Walker, but really they want everyone to see them to see if any weasels come out of the woodwork.

    5. They don’t have enough on Walker yet (or Davis either. He’s probably the missing link to Walker)

    6. They know you know this. They know you know it. So will the judge.

    7. It is going to help you out a lot if you have a trial, plus you get to keep your appeal rights. So this is kind of a no brainer. Have your trial and probably not go to jail (and maybe win an appeal) or Plead guilty and go to jail. She chose to plead guilty and go to jail rather than let the emails out.

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    1. You know, nobody was really talking about Davis up until this point. Any thoughts why they called him out in such a distinct manner, "...the person most conspicuous by the virtue of the fact he remains uncharged..."

      I mean, like saying, "You should all be surprised by the fact that he hasn't been charged, but man, you know he could have been...".

      Had he said "Walker" above instead of Davis, that would have been more in line with the conventional wisdom.

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    2. Thanks for the thoughts on the legalese.

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    3. Reading that again....I almost get the vibe that the DA was blaming Rindfleisch for the fact that Davis hasn't yet been charged.

      Why would the DA write this:
      "...I have not approached her to provide testimony against Brett Davis...she has not offered to testify against Mr. Davis..."

      Does this mean that the DA has approached others to get testimony against Brett Davis? It sounds like it does. As posted above, nobody was talking about Davis, it was Walker that was most inconspicuous. If they were seeking testimony against Davis, then they are planning to charge him (assuming they do get enough testimony against him).

      At the end of the day, I think it is arguable that this memo is confirmation that Davis is a suspect. If so, what does that mean? Walker may be willing to let Rindfleisch fry, but Davis? There's no way. Davis is in, as they say, "The Inner Circle"...

      How is this not bigger news? "DAVIS CONFIRMED AS SUSPECT IN JOHN DO CASE"

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  13. As for Anonymous 11:01,

    I agree with everything but number 5. I believe they have enough to go with. They were merely looking to get even more. Plus testimony from the Walker 6 would be very compelling, but that doesn't mean it's necessary.

    As for Anonymous 5:27,

    Davis is not a Milwaukee citizen. It would be up to the DA in his home county to press charges.

    But for the sake of discussion, say that Davis was susceptible to charges in Milwaukee, you don't think that Davis, being Walker's Director of Medicare, isn't in his inner circle? Really?

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    1. Maybe I failed to convey that properly, but yes, Davis is 100% in the "circle of trust". That's why I'd be inclined to think that Walker, while he may not pardon Rindfleisch, he would pardon Davis.

      Now, you mention that Davis isn't a Milwaukee citizen. Maybe so. But if he was party to a crime committed in Milwaukee county, he would be liable to face charges. Conspiracy to commit Misconduct in Public Office would be something the Milwaukee DA could charge him with (IANAL, but that's the way I read the law). Now, maybe THAT'S what the Waukesha DA was talking about when he refused to bring charges because the "person of interest didn't know that what he was doing was wrong..." If that's the case, I still think it is news worthy that Davis was a suspect in the John Doe case. Then again, I recall the Waukesha DA saying that that person of interest was not being looked at for campaign related charges...

      BRETT DAVIS POTENTIAL SUSPECT IN JOHN DOE CASE. That is news. It has to be.

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    2. Actually, if he committed the crime in the DA's jurisdiction, he can still be charged. No matter where he lives.

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    3. For the record: We have NOT ignored Brett Davis!

      http://cognidissidence.blogspot.com/2012/05/brett-davis.html

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  14. Nichols suggested on Sly this morning that now that Rindfleisch has pled guilty, she will not be able to plead the 5th if called to testify at other people's trials in the future.

    He also pointed out something I'd noticed myself a few weeks ago - Cynthia Archer's house in Madison is up for sale. For whatever that might mean.

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    1. Huh, the way I read it, that is something to consider. Her deal explicitly calls out that she can not be charged with any offenses relating to her time in Milwaukee County or the John Doe case. Therefor, she'd have a hard time arguing that her testimony would be self incriminating. I think it would probably now be closer to a judge trying to compel a reporter to give out a source. You can't force them to talk, but you can hold them in contempt.

      Also, you guys see that Walker is going to do away with same day voter registration? You know, somebody should really ask him why he thinks a one party state and withholding liberty is such a good idea. I mean, if that's your platform, at least have somebody question you about it, don't run from it.

      God help my countrymen if this man isn't thrown in jail. He's destroying our once truly grate state.

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  15. some interesting tidbits came out of the sentencing today...can't wait to get your take on it Capper....

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    1. Off to enjoy a few drinks, back later for the daily update on Walkergate.

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    2. You know, up until this point, I've been saying even money that Walker would get a free pass on this. However, after reading about what the DA was saying today, I think it is no without a doubt (I've been trying to keep my expectations low) that he could be charged with conspiracy related to Rindfleische's crimes.

      Will he get charged? We'll see. Sometimes, the cockroaches find a way out (just ask Valery Plame about that).

      Things to consider:

      1) Wink's sentencing is Wednesday. If they move it again, the odds of Walker going down go up exponentially.

      2) From Wispolitics: "Landgraf used a detailed power point presentation to implicate Walker and his aides in doing political work using county resources."

      3) From Wispolitics: "...the group that met regularly included people from Walker's campaign...along with county employees such as Fran McLaughlin..." Just so happens that Fran McLaughlin has been given immunity. Just so happens that none of the other names listed have immunity. As I posted a ways back, all of these people can be tried for conspiracy (essentially aiding and abetting).

      Man, I really hope this goes the way it feels like it should. But man, if Iran-Contra couldn't nab anybody higher than Ollie North...

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