Monday, January 12, 2015
The first John Doe investigation yielded six convictions of Walker's donors and his closest friends and aides. The convictions were for illegal campaign donations, stealing from a campaign stunt disguised as a veterans fund and illegally doing campaign work during county time and using county staff and equipment - much akin to the caucus scandals from a decade ago.
The second John Doe investigation involved whether there was illegal collaboration between Walker's campaign and third party groups - read dark money special interest groups. This investigation is currently held in limbo as Walker and said dark money groups are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it in an effort to derail it.
Walker has gone from saying that he has done nothing wrong to saying that the illegal collaboration isn't really illegal because they said so.
There is good reason for Walker and his allies to change their tune.
On Tuesday, December 30th, while most everyone was celebrating the holidays, Chris Abele, Walker's successor as Milwaukee County Executive and protege, released another batch of emails from the first Walkergate investigation. The emails are rife with examples of the illegal politicking and the illegal collaboration that was happening even then.
We already know that Walker was fully aware of what was going on with the secret router and the illegal politicking that had been going on. In fact, Walker not only knew about it all, he was directing it!
The latest email drop only goes to again prove that when it comes to all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.
I have chosen three emails out the thousands that aptly prove this. The first of the emails had to deal with the tragic event at O'Donnell Park, in which a large concrete facade fell off the structure, crushing a teenage boy to death and severely harming two others. As one might expect, Walker was more concerned about the political impact of the tragedy rather than the victims.
The first email is from Jill Bader, Walker's then campaign spokeswoman. She was giving a heads up to Walker and his county spokeswoman about an inquiry from blargher James "Wiggy" Wigderson:
It should be noted that Wiggy the Most Friendly Blogger was openly stating that he was writing for the MacIver Institute. The MacIver Institute is funded by the Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation is headed by Michael Grebe, who was also Walker's campaign chair at the time. See how nicely this all works out for them?
It should also be noted that they probably felt real comfortable around Wiggy because he is no stranger to illegal politicking and unethical behavior himself.
The second example is actually two emails in one. They have to do with a rally that was held by a dark money front group inaptly named Citizens for Responsible Government. The rally was supposedly an official event, meaning that, by state law, Walker's campaign should steer clear of.
It didn't quite work out that way.
The initial email is from R.J. Johnson, who was not only working as a consultant for Walker's campaign but also heavily involved with the Koch Brothers-funded Wisconsin Club for Growth. On top of that, Johnson had also set up another third party group - Citizens for a Strong America - which he used for running "issue ads." John Doe prosecutors have stated that Johnson was also a conduit for the dark money flowing into the state.
In this email, he is complaining to local squawk radio host Charlie Sykes that Steve Schultze, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wasn't following their talking points:
Johnson's email isn't that significant in itself except that it shows the rally was a thinly disguised political event after all.
What is of more significance is that Walker, using his campaign email address, forwarded this email to his county staff at their county email addresses. (Tom Nardelli was Walker's chief of staff, Tim Russell was his Deputy Chief of Staff. McLaughlin, as mentioned above, was his county spokeswoman.) This belies Walker's repeated claim that he strictly forbid his county staff to partake in campaign activity. He ordered them to do so.
As to why the body of the first email is blocked out, one would have to ask the current Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele. I don't know what was in that text or why Abele chose to redact it or who he is trying to protect.
The third email is in regards to an open records request filed by One Wisconsin Now. Walker's staff was in a tizzy, trying to decide how to respond to it. There were numerous emails between his county staff and campaign staff on what to do. When they finally made a decision, Walker sent this email:
Again, Walker sent the email from his campaign email address. Despite using his campaign address, he sent it to both campaign and county staff, again enforcing the fact that he was breaking the law with the level of collaboration and by using his county staff and equipment for campaign purposes.
The gentle reader should keep in mind that while Walker and his cohorts in crime are now trying to defend their actions by saying that what they did isn't wrong, they obviously knew it was against the law by trying to hide it through a secret email system and through a secret router.
Just because Walker hasn't been tried or convicted of any crimes - yet, it doesn't mean that he didn't commit them.