Letter: Investigation reveals ring of corruption around Walker by Barbara Schweisheimer
I am writing this letter to be sure that people in our area are aware of the investigations, charges and convictions that have been going on regarding Scott Walker and his Milwaukee County administration. These investigations have been referred to as the “John Doe” investigation. Illegal activity has been identified and to date six of Walker’s associates have been charged with a total of 15 felony charges and 3 misdemeanor charges. Two of these associates have already been convicted.
• Tim Russell, Scott Walker’s former Deputy Chief of Staff, Housing Administrator, and Economic Development Director has been arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for embezzling funds from various campaigns and from Operation Freedom, an event sponsored by the Milwaukee County Executive’s office which helps military veterans and their families. Evidence shows that Scott Walker inexplicably ordered control of these charitable funds transferred from the American Legion to Mr. Russell. In addition to the embezzlement charges, statements in various criminal complaints related to the investigation into Scott Walker’s administration allege that Mr. Russell set up the illegal email network, located just 25 feet from Walker’s desk, which allowed top staffers in the Executive’s office to illegally campaign while on the clock for taxpayers.
• Kevin Kavanaugh, Scott Walker’s close friend and political appointee to the Veteran Service Commission, has been arrested and charged with five felonies related to the theft of over $42,000 from Operation Freedom.
• Kelly Rindfleisch, Scott Walker’s personal fundraiser for his campaign and his former Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Analyst, has been charged with four felonies for sending more than 1,000 campaign emails while working on the clock for taxpayers. She used the “secret email network” for Scott Walker insiders, located just 25 feet from Scott Walker’s office to end these e-mails.
• Darlene Wink, Scott Walker’s former Director of Constituent Services, has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of political solicitation by a public employee. During her time as Scott Walker’s Constituent Services Coordinator, she worked on campaign fundraisers, phone banks, Reagan Day dinners, Milwaukee County Republican Party matters, and posted numerous comments on political websites promoting Scott Walker as governor while working on the clock for Milwaukee County.
• William Gardner, a business executive and top campaign donor to Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign, was charged with asking his employees to contribute tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions, for which he then reimbursed them. This allowed Mr. Gardner to funnel $43,000 to Friends of Scott Walker. He was convicted of the largest campaign finance violation in Wisconsin history.
• Incidental to the John Doe investigation, when the District Attorney seized Mr. Russell’s work and home computer, they discovered what appeared to be child pornography and sexually explicit online chats with a minor. This evidence led to the arrest of Brian Pierick, the partner of Tim Russell, and charges of felony enticement of a child. Mr. Pierick was also an operator of Scott Walker’s campaign website, ScottWalker.org at various times.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney asked to meet with Scott Walker to “discuss” activities that occurred during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive. This meeting has been delayed but in the meantime Walker has hired two criminal defense lawyers from a Chicago law firm and has set up a “legal defense fund.” By Wisconsin Statute, the only way a state government official can set up a legal defense fund is if he is under investigation or being prosecuted.
Now if just one Walker associate was charged, then I might think, “Okay, that’s too bad.” If two were charged I might think, “Interesting, but it could happen.” If three were charged then I might think, “That’s an interesting coincidence.” But when 6 people who were hired, appointed or directly associated with Scott Walker and his campaign are charged and two are already convicted, then it is no longer a coincidence. It is a reflection of the kind of corrupt culture Walker was fostering in his administration. It begs the question, what did Walker know about all these shenanigans? If he is so oblivious to these disreputable and dishonest activities going on around him, as close as 25 feet from his office, what kind of an administrator is he? This could not have happened unless he fostered an atmosphere that allowed these individuals to feel they could go ahead and get away with these illegal activities.
For more details and information on these investigations you can go to the website Walkerinvestigation.com. You should try to take the time to read the actual Criminal Complaints which are available at the end of the “Just the Facts” summaries on each of the individuals listed above. Be sure to select the full screen mode. These complaints are very easy to understand and will give you a very clear picture of what is going on in these investigations.
Barbara Schweisheimer, Arbor Vitae