Saturday, September 24, 2011

Walkergate: Immunity On The Bounty

The news broke today that three people had been granted immunity in the ongoing investigation into Walkergate.  And what an unusual set of people it was granted to!

The least surprising name is a woman named Rose Ann Dieck.  Dieck is a member of the Milwaukee County Republican Party and reportedly was frequently in contact with Darlene Wink, the Walker staffer who got busted leaving comments at JSOnline and elsewhere.  According to the article, Wink was apparently also sending out emails regarding fund raisers and other events.

I can think of a couple reasons why Dieck might get immunity.  It could be to help share what she knows Wink was doing that might not show up on the computer, like making phone calls or making copies of campaign material using county equipment.  Another thought I had was regarding the now defunk website.  At the website, they did a lot of politicking, but it's really starting to seem like small potatoes compared to the other things we are learning.

But I still can't help but wonder if Wink was Moms4Scott or concertina...

One of the others getting immunity is Cullen Werwie, Scott Walker's current spokesman.  Werwie also worked on Walker's campaign and on his transition team.  What this tells me is that there was probably some contact between Walker's county staff and his campaign staff, or at least in the instances where they weren't the same person, like Tim Russell.

I know for a fact that Walker's campaign staff have crossed the line at least once. Jill Bader, Walker's campaign's communication director was known to go to non-campaign related events, like the rallies held by Citizens for Responsible Government regarding Walker's budget, and was setting up meetings between people (like a certain right wing blogger) and Walker at these events.  The problem is that, by campaign laws, she shouldn't have even been at these events, much less politicking at them.

The third name on the list of those receiving immunity is probably the most intriguing.  That person is Kenneth Lucht, a lobbyist for Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.  W&S Railroad is the company headed by William Gardner, who already admitted to making illegal donations to Walker's campaign.  Lucht got caught up in that aspect of Walkergate and was found guilty, but had to pay a measly $250 for his role in that mess.

But the article points out that Lucht was granted immunity for "matters 'still under inquiry' through the secret probe."  Since he was already fined for whatever it was he did, it seems odd that he would also need immunity for these "matters."  It's pretty apparent that there's more to this than just illegal campaign donations.  But exactly what? Was there some pay-for-play action going on?  Or, as some friends have opined, was Walker's people shaking donors down for money?  We won't know if it was either of these, both, or neither until the details of the probe are released.

But the one thing that has been going through my mind ever since reading this is a Lolcat type of picture of Tom Nardelli with a sad look on his face and asking "Can Ai haz an emunatee noa?"


  1. Grants of immunity prevent people from "taking the 5th" in these investigations. Under immunity, they cannot invoke their constitutional right to remain silent. Clearly these are the little fish, I wonder how big the target fish might be...

  2. @muttmutt

    Let me put it this way -

    We're gonna need a bigger boat.