July 28, 2014

Walker defends meetings between staff

Governor Scott Walker says there was nothing illegal about morning meetings between his campaign staff and those working for him when he was Milwaukee County executive.

During the sentencing last week of Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County executive, prosecutors revealed several emails showing frequent contact between the governor’s campaign and county staff.

On Monday, Governor Walker defended the practice, saying those routine meetings were needed to avoid conflicts between his campaign and the business of running the county. Walker said they helped to avoid scheduling conflicts, handle media inquiries, and deal with staffing issues.

AUDIO: Gov. Walker (:17)

Critics of the governor said Walker’s comments raise more questions though. State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the governor’s claims that he was not aware of anyone in his office doing campaign work while on county time don’t make sense, considering the daily meetings took place at the start of the work day. Tate said “it defies logic and reasonable belief for Scott Walker not to have known that Kelly Rindfleisch was doing campaign work on the taxpayer’s dime, when he by his own admission participated in the very same campaign activity.”

Walker argued there was nothing illegal or unethical about the activity.

Rindfleisch was sentenced to six months in jail last week for doing illegal campaign work for a lieutenant governor candidate while on county time. She is one of several people caught up in an ongoing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County, which has focused in on several people connected to the governor’s office when he served as county executive. Walker himself has not been charged and maintains he is not the focus of the investigation.