Friday, May 25, 2012

Walkergate: Same Names, Different Scandal

Ten years ago, Wisconsin was rocked as the caucus scandals were uncovered and reported on.  The scandals involved the members of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses and how they were using taxpayer money to run their political campaigns.  Investigations were done, immunities were handed out, charges were filed and hearings were held.

Scott Walker was apparently not involved in those scandals, or if he was, he was never caught.  If he had been, a lot of grief might have been avoided.  It might have ruined his career, sparing us all from the damage he has caused.  And even if he survived, it might have even sunk into his thick cranium that this was a bad thing and he wouldn't do it.

But he wasn't and now we have Walkergate, son of the caucus scandals.

I was reminded of this when a friend of Cog Dis sent this list of all the people, from the left and right, that submitted their legal bills to the state for the taxpayers to cover.  There are some repeated names there.

The first name is John Scocos, then deputy secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs and former Assembly chief clerk.  From the caucus scandal, he asked taxpayers to pay his bill of $44,411.  His bill was for legal bills for open records lawsuit filed by newspapers to get names released and legal fees incurred in lawsuit filed by Common Cause of Wisconsin to get a judge to order Scocos and Senate Chief Clerk Donald Schneider to stop paying legal fees with taxpayer money.

On the bright side, Scocos isn't part of Walkergate, but he is apparently corrupt enough to make it to Walker's current, albeit very temporary, administration.

Another name I recognized is Judith Rhodes Engels, who put the tax payers on the hook for $6,349 for the caucus scandals.

While we don't know what she did then, we know that Rhodes Engels is now Scott Fitzgerald's primary fundraiser, among other things.  She also partook of the infamous Harley Davidson ride as well as shared Fitzie's list of donors with Walker's fundraiser, Kelly Rindfleisch.

And speaking of Rindfleisch, we all know that she was campaigning for Walker and Brett Davis, his first choice for lieutenant governor, while on the taxpayer-funded payroll. And from the criminal petition against her, we know she learned how to do this during the caucus scandal, where she was given immunity:

And Brian Fraley, the person that taught her all she knows, is the former ALEC employee who is chief propagandist at the disgraced MacIver Institute.  Fraley also has close ties to Walker, which might explain how Walker came to hire Rindfleisch in the first place.

Fraley's actions in the caucus scandal was worth $2,128 in legal fees, paid for by us.

There is one last name on the list that has a role in Walkergate as well, but one that is not really known.  That person is Greg Reiman, who worked in Walker's office during the scandal.  His bill came to $1,410.

Reiman followed Walker to Milwaukee County, and even though he wasn't in Walker's inner circle, they apparently stayed in close contact, as shown in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report on Reiman's possible involvement in Walkergate:
On April 15, 2010 - months before any formal competition or public request for bids had been formulated - a county Aging Department official involved in office-space planning sent an email to a commercial real estate broker.

In the email, obtained by the Journal Sentinel, Gregory Reiman alerted commercial real estate broker Scott Revolinski of RFP Commercial that the county was discussing moving workers from the county-owned City Campus to the Reuss Federal Plaza, which already housed the Aging Department.

He wrote that the county was willing to sell City Campus, an aging former hospital at N. 27th and W. Wells streets, for $1 to avoid maintenance costs.

"Not very many people know about this yet," Reiman wrote. "I believe they have only talked to the City of Milwaukee Dept of Development and possibly David Boerke (who manages Federal Plaza). I am also telling one other developer I know about this opportunity."

Reiman added: "I told Scott Walker that I would mention this opportunity to you and see if RFP might be interested in this building. If you are interested I will put you in touch with Scott's Chief of Staff, Tom Nardelli."

A county employee, concerned that Reiman might be revealing insider information, turned the email over to the district attorney's office in August 2010.
As I said above, one would have thought that even if Walker wasn't directly involved in the caucus scandals - something which I personally would find highly doubtful - one would think that he would have at least learned that it was not a good idea to keep doing it.

Obviously he didn't.  Whether it's because he is so dense that he just doesn't pick up on things easily, or whether it's because he is simply that megalomaniacal that he didn't think he also had to follow the law might not ever be known.  But either way, it shows why he shouldn't hold any public office.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I thought Tom Barrett did a great job debating Walker tonight. YAY! But there was one point where I wondered if Barrett was right. I would have to listen again to be sure, but I think he said that when Walker found out about the criminal activities of his staff, he sent out the now-famous "No more laptops...Can't afford another story like this" email.

    But I thought the sequence was more like this: The criminal activities were going on for some time (most probably with Walker's support). But then when it looked like Walker's team was caught, Nardelli reported the matter to the authorities. Nardelli only reported the problem because they had already been caught. So all of Walker's oft-reopeated claims that his office asked Chisholm to investigate are a bunch of hooey.

    But that sequence of events is just the impression I've picked up by reading blogs during the past months. Is that impression wrong? I could very well be wrong. But if I'm not wrong, shouldn't someone give Mr. Barrett more information about the John Doe investigation?

    Thank you for all your good work!