Saturday, May 19, 2012

Walkergate: The Legal Cooperation Fund That Never Was

Two months ago, Scott Walker finally came out and admitted that he had established his legal defense fund because of the Walkergate investigation. At the time, he denied that he was the subject of an investigation and was only cooperating with the District Attorney's office. So, you see, it wasn't really a legal defense fund, it was a legal cooperation fund.

As time went on, we learned that Walker was doing a helluva lotta cooperating, having blown through some $200,000 in legal cooperation funds.

But things did not appear to be quite as Walker was trying to portray them. (Shocking, isn't it?)

The Democrats and Team Barrett smelled a rat, or more appropriately, a weasel.  And they started tracking the weasel down.  As questions about the legal cooperation fund were being raised, Walker's discomfort became obvious and he went from being cooperative to being rather defensive:
“I don’t think they’re going to do anything because there’s no merit to it. It’s nothing more than a cheap political stunt. We see it routinely. There’s no merit to it, and it’s not even worth discussing any more than that,” Walker said.
Oopsie!  Looks like they struck a sore point with Walker, doesn't it?

Barrett had asked the Government Accountability Board to release the information that they had given Walker when he established his legal cooperation-turned-defensive fund.  The GAB said that they couldn't do that and the only person who could release that information was Scott Walker.

So Barrett sent a letter to Walker asking him to release that information.

But Walker became most uncooperative and wouldn't release anything.

Undaunted, the Dems knew that there is always more than one way to skin a weasel.

State Senator Jon Erpenbach sent an inquiry to the GAB asking about how he could create a legal defense fund.  The GAB responded, which you can see here and here.

The long and short of it is that no where in the law governing legal defense funds does it say that one could be used for the purposes of simple cooperation.  It means that Walker and/or at least one of his agents are being investigated, charged or convicted regarding the crimes related to misconduct in office and illegal campaigning.

Based on a discussion that I previously had with Michael Maistelman, one of the state's leading election law attorneys, it is pretty unlikely that Tim Russell, Darlene Wink or Kelly Rindfleisch could be considered an agent, since they were county employees at that time, not campaign workers.  If Walker is indeed using his legal defense fund for any of these people, that would be yet another violation of the law.

In summary, what the Dems have done is let the cat out of the cellophane bag and made it irrefutable that Walker and his minions are the subjects of the John Doe investigation known as Walkergate.

And they always were the subjects, meaning that Walker has been telling yet another lie to the voters of Wisconsin.  Just like he did in the last election when he told us he was going to negotiate with the unions and that he had no plans on busting them up.

Is Walker every going to able to be honest and forthright with the voters regarding anything?


  1. To answer your last question... No.
    Supposing that a stretch of the law would allow Walker to set up a defense fund for his agents (Russell, Wink and Rindfish), would he be setting up a defense fund for their benefit? Or would he be setting up the defense fund to get them cleared so he doesn't look so much like a god awful incompetent county exec who didn't know what was happening in the office 10 feet from his? Either way, if he were innocent and the campaigning on county time was not his directive, he should have denounced them as soon as they were arrested. Setting up a legal defense fund for his agents or himself points toward guilt, anyway you look at it. Unless you are the same person creating job figures for the state.

    1. No, he can't use the money at all for them. They weren't officially agents of his campaign. By trying to use LDF for them, he would be admitting that they were illegally campaigning on county time.

  2. The point of a John Doe probe is to discover if and by whom crimes have been committed.

    As Scott Walker thumbs his nose at Miwaukee County, with Journal Communications Inc.'s help, will this contempt shown the people of Milwaukee County cost him the election.

    Milwaukee County turns out, and it's game over.

    "[A]nd it’s not even worth discussing any more than that," said Walker.

    This contempt has to cost this ass this time.

  3. We only write this stuff because the J-S refuses to. Scotty, they're coming FOR YOU.

    That is some good work in connecting the dots, Capper. And great work by Erpenbach and you for showing that Scotty is indeed John Doe

  4. Keith Gilkes: Campaign Mgr. FOSW

    Stephen Thompson: Deputy Campaign Mgr.

    Jill Bader: Comm. Director FOSW

    James villa: Informal Advisor for FOSW

    Then there is all the cross-over from the Brett Davis Campaign--supported by FOSW.

    Scott Walker: Candidate supported by FOSW

    Dan Morse Fundraiser for FOSW

    Kelly rindfliesch: Funraiser for FOSW

    John Hiller: Treasurer of FOSW


    Prosecutors already agreed not to recommend prison time in exchange for Wink's cooperation in other related investigations. Prosecutor Bruce Landgraf says he wanted her sentencing delayed because those other investigations were still going on.

    Defense attorney Peter Wolff says Wink would like her case resolved, but she also wants to cooperate with prosecutors.

    Her hearing is set for July 17th.