April 23, 2014

Thousands of Walker aide documents released

Newly released documents from a secret John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County are providing a glimpse in to how Governor Scott Walker’s campaign staff coordinated efforts to run his 2010 campaign. A state appeals court on Wednesday released 27,000 pages of e-mails and hundreds of other documents from the secret probe, which was looking into allegations that some of Walker’s staff was doing campaign work while at their taxpayer funded jobs in the Milwaukee County executive’s office.

The documents were tied to the prosecution of Kelly Rindfleisch, who served as Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County executive. She was convicted in 2012 of doing campaign work for Republican Brett Davis, during his unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in the race for Lt. Governor in 2010, while at her county job. She was sentenced to six months in jail and has appealed.

The e-mails paint a picture of daily communications between Rindfleisch, other county staff, and members of Walker’s campaign team. They include discussions about the release of information to the media on controversial topics and planning fundraisers. Many of the e-mails were sent during what would have been normal business hours in the county executive’s office.

The documents also show John Doe investigators raided Walker’s county office — and the homes of Rindfleisch and other aides — on the day before Walker was elected governor in November of 2010. The probe was expanded to include Rindfleisch, plus three other county aides who were never charged.

Rindfleisch had challenge the release of evidence collected in the case, after the Associated Press and several other news organizations asked for it to be made public. An appeals court recently determined the documents could not be kept sealed.