Here’s my catch-up on Walkergate developments.
This post contains information on
*Roger Quindel’s interview with TMJ4
*New charges against Darlene Wink and Kelly Rindfleisch – making it 6 people now who are charged in the John Doe A.K.A. “Walkergate” investigation.
*A link to an archived Q&A with investigative reporter Daniel Bice of M.J.S.
*The 57 page criminal complaint for Kelly Rindfleisch.
*The 30 page criminal complaint against Darline Wink.
-It’s clear Wink used her secret 3G network to exchange emails to top brass Joe Fadness and Reince Preibus, then Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman and now head of the Republican National Committee. Tim Russell set up the network, it is presumed, to allow the office to keep information away from Freedom of Information Act requests.
-Wink has made a plea deal in exchange for helping authorities learn more about destruction of digital equipment and data.
-Scott Walker has changed his responses slightly on his knowledge of the John Doe investigation and its charges. He said he was not allowed to answer on whether he’d been questioned, repeats use of word “integrity”.
-Quindel’s statement about the rushed bidding process on a government building. Quindel is a former Milwaukee County Supervisor. The bid process in question involved Andrew Jensen who was detained by authorities in December for not cooperating with the investigation. Jensen was released and informed that he would have to face the music again around January 25, 2012.
I’m expecting that we’ll hear more about shady land deals involving Jensen, Milwaukee property, and former County Executive Scott Walker very shortly.
Channel 12’s segment features Darlene Wink’s large crucifix, and an interview with former Milwaukee County Supervisor Roger Quindel.
From Channel 12: “Quindel said he remembers an unusual bidding process during Walker’s tenure as county executive. What appeared to be a done deal to extend a lease on some county offices turned into another round of bidding and gave bidders just five hours to present new bids.
“I thought it was a strange way of doing business. Even if you had rebid process, it should have been longer than this short, jammed-up period of time, and I was worried about a lawsuit even at the time,” Quindel said.
The lowest bidder in that round was the Reuss Federal Plaza, managed by the Boerke Co.
The John Doe judge recently jailed Boerke Co. agent Andrew Jensen for failure to cooperate in this investigation.
Quindel said he believes prosecutors are now reviewing that deal.
“It fits a pattern that their whole operation was always about what’s good for them politically and their friends,” Quindel said.
You can read a lot more about what Quindel is talking about at this MJS article which says John Hiller, treasure for Friends of Scott Walker, was involved with a land deal at that site in both 2005 and 2010.
Walker speaks publicly for the first time on the John Doe case (at Wauwatosa’s Tool Service Corporation)
I’m not sure if the scoop on this is that Walker was unable to repeatedly use the word “tools” and harp on how Wisconsin is open for somebody’s business at his own self-promotional visit or if the scoop is that he altered one of his standard responses to a John doe question.
Walker is changing his responses slightly on his awareness and involvement in the Jane Doe case. Now he says “We’ve fully cooperated” or are “cooperating” with the investigation and have done so for over a year. He formerly said he “had not been contacted personally”. He’s also dropped the Eagle Scout routine but kept the word “integrity”.
“I think its all very clear that when all this is done, no matter how much time it takes, and again, my campaign has been involved with cooperating with them for more than a year; but again, I have every confidence when this is completed that our integrity will remain in tact,” Scott Walker.
When reporters asked him about the John Doe probe last September, Walker said he not only had integrity, that he was an Eagle Scout, the son of a Baptist minister, and that he had parents with high standards:
“I know that throughout my career – first in the Legislature, then as county executive and now for the last 10 months as governor – I live by the standards I got from my parents,” said Walker, whose father was a Baptist minister. “Certainly, they got me to the rank of Eagle Scout, and I continue to have that kind of integrity.”
God, country and apple pie. Can that be submitted as evidence in an investigation, though?
Back when Walker played the Eagle Scout card, he brought on a lawyer from his old standby, Micheal Best and Friedrich named Biskupic to deal with a request for (these are his words) “information about e-mail – I don’t remember if it was about Darlene or exactly who.” from prosecutors.
I know his personal hero is Ronald Reagan, but I think emulating his foggy memory is taking the hero worship a little too far. Walker is certainly not as lovable as the Gipper who never suffered penalty for the Iran Contra scandal. Eleven of Reagan administration officials were convicted and the remaining 3 were pardoned by President George Bush in that scandal.
He also said “I have not been contacted personally…In terms of anything with the campaign, I mean there were questions asked about stuff that was brought up earlier in the year with (former county staffer) Darlene Wink, like six months – actually, it was like nine or 10 months ago. But nothing that has been brought up recently, nothing that involves me directly.”
Two more arrests occurred in the John Doe probe. Thursday former Milwaukee County employee Darlene Wink “agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of using county resources to raise money for Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. She has agreed to provide information in a related investigation about the destruction of digital evidence and to aid in further prosecutions.”
Also, “Kelly Rindfleisch was charged Thursday with four felony counts of misconduct in public office on allegations of working in then-Rep. Brett Davis’ 2010 campaign for lieutenant governor. Davis, who lost in a primary for lieutenant governor, is now Walker’s Medicaid director.” At the time, Rindfleisch was Walker’s Deputy Chief of Staff.
From Cap Times: “Prosecutors say Rindfleisch spent “significant time” doing political campaign work for Davis while working for the county. The criminal complaint against her investigation uncovered 1,380 fundraising emails sent or received by Rindfleisch during normal work hours. Investigators also uncovered about 300 emails between Rindfleisch and Davis and more than 1,000 between her and members of Walker’s campaign staff, including spokeswoman Jill Bader and campaign manager Keith Gilkes.
Rindfleisch told a friend that “half of what I’m doing is policy for the campaign,” during an Internet chat….Rindfleisch’s first court date is scheduled for Feb. 22.”
Rindfleisch used a secret 3G network set up by Tim Russell. From the blog Cognitive Dissidence:
“From this complaint, one of the things that stands out the most is the fact that Tim Russell set up a secondary, secret email system using a wireless router designed to set up a 3G network. They used this set up for their campaigning and fundraising emails, as well as official county business. But because it was secret even to the head of IT, any open records requests would miss this.”
Lastly, it is very worth the avid Walkergate watcher’s time to visit the Q&A with Daniel Bice of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here’s just 1 exchange:
Q: Daniel Schilling, Milwaukee, WI – Why has it taken 2 years to get such minor infractions? What has this cost us and who has the authority to investigate “The John Doe” investigation. Please tell me why we the taxpayers of Milwaukee are paying for such an obviously inefficient and unsucessful investigation?
A: Daniel Bice – I’ve already written how much the investigation has cost. You can find that with a simple Google search. I hope to update the numbers once the investigation is complete. Yeah, if this were it, I think we could all agree that Chisholm’s office wasted a lot of time and effort. But both complaints made clear yesterday that this is an open, ongoing investigation. In other words, we ain’t done yet.