Sunday, December 9, 2012

Walkergate: The Next Wave

OK, now that we've reviewed what has already come out of the ongoing Walkergate investigation, it's time to see what might be coming down the pike, some of which is already happening.

When Kelly Rindfleisch was sentenced last month, we gained a greater glimpse of the extent that the corruption that was the rule of thumb for Scott Walker and his motley crew. I then expanded on that, giving the gentle reader a reminder of who's who in the Walker syndicate.

As I had just mentioned, some of it is already happening:
Keith Gilkes, Gov. Scott Walker's former chief of staff and campaign manager, told reporters Thursday after a forum at Marquette University that he is cooperating with prosecutors investigating Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive, WisPolitics reported Friday.

Gilkes did not return a phone message left on his cellphone Thursday.

Gilkes is the latest former top Walker aide to provide information in the ongoing John Doe investigation that has resulted in convictions for four former Walker associates for illegal campaign activity and embezzlement.

Also cooperating are Walker's current spokesman, Cullen Werwie, and past spokeswoman, Fran McLaughlin; and his former chief of staff in Milwaukee County, Tom Nardelli.
Keith Gilkes
I wonder if Gilkes' supposed cooperation is the Darlene Wink type where he's singing like a bird or the Scott Walker type where he's stonewalling the investigation as much as he can.

My guess is that it will be more of the latter type, based on this:
Gilkes told reporters that he "had no knowledge" of a private wireless router system that allegedly was part of a secret email system in the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Asked if a similar router exists in the state Capitol, Gilkes became angry.

"That's just absurd, I'm done," he responded and walked away.
Is it really absurd?

Remember that when Gilkes was Walker's Chief of Staff, he had lobbyists contacting him via his consultancy group's email address instead of through official channels. It would seem that there were trying to circumvent the open records laws in order to put the strong arm on people and companies wanting things from the Governor, such as Gogebic Taconite.

Gilkes also went on with the claim that the large amount of contact between the campaign and the county staff was just routine type of stuff.

For some reason, I don't see the advocacy of destruction of legal documents as being routine:
Gilkes, in an email written the day of the accident, advised Walker's county staff to "make sure there is not a piece of paper anywhere that details any problem at all." News organizations and lawyers representing victims and others filed numerous open record requests after the O'Donnell Park accident for inspection reports and other documents on its construction.
Then again, maybe destruction of documents is normal...for Republicans. I wonder how much they spend on paper shredders each year.

It should be noted that Gilkes was recently engaged, so that might give him some incentive to stay out of prison.

I recently wrote that Cindy Archer is also cooperating with the investigators, but to what extent is anyone's guess:
I have recently heard that Phase II of the Walkergate investigation has already commenced. Apparently Kelly Rindfleisch did give some information after all and gave up Cindy Archer.

Archer had been Walker's Director of Administration during the time Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. Criminal complaints and other documents from Walkergate show that Archer was deeply involved with the illegal campaigning and the collusion between county personnel and campaign staff.

Cindy Archer
Word is that Archer is already working on a plea deal even though she hasn't been arrested yet, much less charged. It's a maneuver called a negotiated issuance.
Interestingly, it's also been noted that Archer is selling her house, which she's owned for a long time. Speculation would be that she is selling it to pay her legal bills, but it should also be noted that she is reported to have a serious illness.

There's a couple of other things that I have heard about Archer. Besides raiding her home in Dane County, the authorities also did a search of her Milwaukee County home. Neighbors have reported that just days before the raid, they saw Archer and other moving a lot of boxes out of her home to another house just down the block.

Could there be a mole in the county somewhere that was giving the heads up on the potential searches. But who would have knowledge of the impending searches and have the ability and the interest to get in contact with Archer?

Well, let's not forget that Fran McLaughlin, who was eventually granted immunity in Walkergate, became the spokeswoman for Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. She would have the the knowledge of the search warrants before they were executed, the ability to contact her friend Archer and an interest in keeping things on the hush, since she was also doing campaign-related activities on county time.

The other thing about Archer is that she had a major argument with the director of Milwaukee County's IT Department. He quit shortly thereafter and moved out of state. I have long wondered if that argument might have had to do with secret routers, secret email systems and open record requests.

But methinks that the person who could be the most interesting to watch is Tom Nardelli. Nardelli has long been known to be rather unsavory and untrustworthy. Nardelli has denied knowing anything about anyone, even denying he knew who hired Rindfleisch to be his Deputy Chief of Staff (we all know it was Walker). But the emails released during Rindfleisch's sentencing shows that he was in the thick of things as much as anyone else.

And Nardelli is no stranger to pay for play and strong arming tactics:
Nardelli had effectively neutered the Milwaukee Public School Board with his threat. The message was clear — do what I want or you’re screwed and I’ll make you look like idiots.

But there was something else. Why was Nardelli so adamant about this developer getting a slice of the city?

It turned out that the same family who had contacted me to work on their behalf had also contacted a reporter. I don’t recall the reporters name but he had uncovered that Nardelli had received fat campaign donations from the developer. Amazingly, it was swept under the table.
Also of interest is the fact that Nardelli's house is or was up for sale.*

It's also been reported that Nardelli has been looking pretty rough. Stress will do that to a person.

But I think Nardelli might be the most interesting to watch since he has the most to lose. He's closing in on being 70 years old and any lengthy sentence could be a life term for him.

Tom Nardelli
However, what is probably more important to the money-grubbing Nardelli is the fact that he is collecting three pensions - one from the military, another one from the City of Milwaukee and one from Milwaukee County. The ones from the city and the county add up to around $40,000 a year alone.

If Nardelli is convicted of a felony, he loses his pensions.

The loss of all that free income and health care, as well as the prospect of potentially facing the rest of his life in prison, is a pretty strong incentive for him to turn on whoever was above him in the food chain.

And the only person that is above Nardelli - and Archer, McLaughlin and Gilkes for that matter - is Scott Walker.

And let's not forget there are also many other unanswered questions and issues that need to be addressed.

There is the bid rigging and pay for play that was involved with county contracts for rental space.

Although if the DA's Office is following the trail of the illegal campaigning, the other stuff might be left to the feds for wire and mail fraud charges, or even RICO charges when one considers the apparent collusion between Walker's campaign, Walker's county office and the Koch/Bradley Foundation-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and the other various propaganda groups.

Which leaves only two questions.

One is when - no if - Walker will meet John Doe.

That really depends on how cooperative Archer, Nardelli, Gilkes and the rest are. If they are able to reach plea deals with each of them, it could happen relatively quickly. If they try to fight it the charges out, like they did this year, that would obviously stretch things out, but would still be only delaying the inevitable.

And the other question which has been asked more and more often lately is whether this will also ensnare Reince Priebus, who was the chair of WISGOP during the time the scandal was occurring.

To be frankly honest. I have no idea. We do know that he was exchanging emails with Walker's county staff during the campaign. We also know that there were some events, such as Senator Scott Fitzgerald sharing his donor list with Walker, which would have been very difficult, if not impossible, without a high level of influence.

But no matter when it finally happens, or who else gets dragged down because of Walkergate, there is one thing that is undeniable. something that conservatives are starting to realize, which is making them exceptionally ornery.

That thing is that with Walkergate, there is always more. And no matter which arm of the investigation you follow, the path always leads to one person - Scott Walker.

*Perhaps so many people being dragged down in Walkergate accounts for the uptick in home sales this year.


  1. I wonder if the DA has taken a look at the timeline and number of phone records between Fran McLaughlin and Cindy Archer?

    1. Just another example of "cooperation" with the investigation? Hey you might have some unexpected visitors, be sure to vacuum and take out the trash. If the neighbors were as helpful as the guy who went to Cindy's garage sale

  2. Thanks for staying on this and keeping us informed. Right after the recall election, I had a bumper made that says "Indict Walker". I so hope this comes true-i get more friendly waves than flip offs from it while I'm driving.

  3. Did the neighbors tell the police about the boxes that were moved down the street?

    (you want to say "without" high influence, not "with", I think)

    1. I don't know that the neighbors but the two things together until much later.

      (and thank you)

  4. I have a bumper sticker that says, "My Governor has a criminal defense fund". Looks like he may need it in 2013.

  5. "And let's not forget *their* are also many other unanswered questions and issues that need to be addressed."

    From somebody who generally enjoys and agrees with your analysis; it's hard to get people to take your writings seriously when you use "their", "they're" and "there" incorrectly.

    1. Whoa whoa whoa Anon 1:54 PM......

      Now, I may agree with the premise that inaccurate usage of the English language is a distraction from the meat & potatoes, but really, this is 1) a blog, 2) done by a guy working for free, 3) a guy who has proven to be a pretty darn good writer on the whole.

      I mean, really, I'm a pretty well educate professional in my real life but often goof up on syntax and whatnot when typing emails and things. I'm sure you do the same. So, please, let's cut Mr. Capper a bit of slack here

      PS. I routinely find errors in the BBC, so Capper is at least in good company.

    2. I choose to accept few mistakes to stay informed about the crimes and lies that the Capper writes about.

      We cannot rely on the mainstream media to write about Walker and his recently convicted co-conspirators.

      They, they're, their, there, them, he, she ,or, it... all the same to these convicted weasels. No matter where, when, if or not, knot, or naught weasels one and all!

      Stay at it Cap, caper, capper, captain.... oh crap you get the point.

    3. If the biggest issue you have with this article is one typo, I think I've done fairly well.

    4. I do think you've done fairly well. I choose to accept the mistakes too, I was merely suggesting that folks who aren't predisposed to agreeing with these writings may dismiss them due to errors like this.

      Hell, I agree with nearly everything being said here, but I would hesitate to send a link to this to my less liberal leaning friends when there are glaring mistakes like this. I may be an asshole, just my 2 cents.

  6. Capper,

    You mention so many good potential charges that I'm surprised to see that you continue to neglect one of my favorite and, likely, most enforceable. That being: Wisc. Statute 939.31 - Conspiracy.

    The law clearly states that anybody party to the organized breaking of the law can be charged (i.e. all those fine folks emailing Rindfleisch and Wink during the workday). If I can ask anything of you, please start including this as it takes the least amount of effort to tie this statute to the already convicted based upon what we already know.

    Just a thought.

    939.31 Conspiracy. Whoever, with intent that a crime be committed, agrees or combines with another for the purpose of committing that crime may, if one or more of the parties to the conspiracy does an act to effect its object, be fined or imprisoned or both not to exceed the maximum provided for the completed crime

  7. cap,dave sweifel editor of madison capital times said on public radio today that he didn't think the feds had enough to bring charges against walker. your thoughts ?

    1. Oh, they could bring charges on Walker on either level. The fact is that we would rather have it on a local level over a federal case.

      If it stays in the DA's hands, any possible jury would be from Milwaukee County and only from Milwaukee County.

      If a federal trial is held, the jury pool expands to the surround 19 counties, including Walkersha, Washington, Ozaukee, Dodge and other red counties. I wouldn't trust them to be a fair or honest jury for Walker.

  8. you guys are so full of shit

    1. With all of the felony convictions and plea bargains just concluded, I'd say Walker & his former staff are in deep shit.

  9. I smell RICO violations and charges. I wonder if the Feds are just waiting for the John Doe to conclude. The immunity offered is only for this trial at the county level, yes? The Feds could take everyone down as they should. Even those businessmen that have colluded with Walker and Reince.