Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Walkergate: Scott Walker And The Secret Router

On Friday, I mentioned the other email that is causing quite the stir in the Walkergate investigation.  Said email had to do with the housing of the Department of Aging and suspicions of bid rigging and pay for play activities between Scott Walker, his then campaign treasurer John Hiller, and a group of other malefactors:
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.
On JSOnline, Dan Bice discusses this aspect of the investigation with more detail but with inconclusive results. The long and short of Bice's report is that there is supposedly a private email exchange between Walker and Hiller regarding the deal, which may or may not be a big deal, depending on who you talk to.  Bice could not get his hands on the email nor nail down any specifics.  It appears that his whole gist was that there was this story, but it's still vague and we probably won't know for a while yet what exactly the investigators are investigating.

Unfortunately, this article was not one of Bice's best pieces and is rather disjointed and convoluted, jumping from one unrelated topic to another.

Even more unfortunate, Bice apparently had a chance for a real blockbuster investigative piece, but missed it in pursuit of his storyline regarding the bid rigging.

What I am referring to is this blurb from his article:
Reached after a news conference on Thursday, Walker maintained his disciplined refusal to discuss details of the probe. He specifically brushed aside questions on the content and context of the email exchange with Hiller and whether investigators had asked him about the messages.

"Anything I say or any comment on it would be in violation of what they've asked," Walker said, referring to Milwaukee County prosecutors. Officials in Chisholm's office have declined to say whether they have made the request that the governor keep silent regarding all aspects of the case.

Asked last month by a Journal Sentinel reporter if he could guarantee the public that the investigation would not touch him, Walker said, "Yes - unequivocal." He also vowed that he never used the secret email system while heading county government.
In those three paragraphs, you can see how Bice and the other unidentified reporter dropped the ball and failed to push the real news stories.

First you have Walker stating last month that he could unequivocally state that the Walkergate investigation would not touch him. Then this past week, he's pleading the secrecy of the investigation on why he cannot comment on the investigation.

As I pointed out Saturday, the only way he could know that he's not a target is if he was already granted immunity but that would be public knowledge and there is no evidence of this.

Furthermore, the only way he could claim the secrecy clause of the investigation is if he had testified before the judge on the matter or if there was a broad secrecy order issued. There is no reason to suspect the latter.

With the elimination of a broad secrecy order and the lack of any proof of immunity, by deduction, we can only conclude that Walker has indeed testified before the judge in the Walkergate investigation.

Sadly, the reporters let Walker slide on this one.

The other thing that they let him pull his weaselspeak on is "He also vowed that he never used the secret email system while heading county government."

We already know, based on the infamous pseudo-David Koch phone call, that Walker has no qualms about campaigning from his government office, so there's no reason to believe he wasn't doing it then either.  The secret router and the secret email system is an obvious giveaway that Walker and his people knew all too well that what they were doing was wrong and illegal.  The used the router system to avoid any open records request that might come close to finding the truth.

But for the sake of argument, let's say he didn't use it.  He doesn't deny knowing it existed.  In fact, odds are he did know.  Remember the original smoking gun email that the mainstream press still has to cover with any detail:

Given Walker's wont of micromanaging his campaigns, only the deepest Kool-Aid drinkers don't believe that this shows that Walker knew exactly what was going on.

And even if you needed more proof, all you have to do is look at the actions of Kelly Rindfleisch right after Walker sent that email (from his campaign email address to Russell's county address, three months after Russell moved out of the county executive's suite).  She immediately removed the secret router and hid it in her bag. She knew what he meant and acted accordingly.

Why would she remove the router if he didn't even know about it?  She wouldn't.  But in order to keep in line with his order, she took it down, saying as much herself, according to the criminal complaint against her.

But as I said, the reporter failed to pursue the issue, satisfied with simply regurgitating Walker's talking points instead of actual investigative journalism.

As if we needed yet another reason to disregard the bulk of the effluence coming from the corporate media.

Ah well, if we can't rely on a modern day version of "All the President's Men," we will have to be satisfied on my colleagues and I to be "All the Governor's Bloggers."


  1. Nicely done!

    Quick question, though: even if he had testified, he wouldn't be able to say that he was absolutely not a target of the investigation, would he? Prosecutors usually don't promise people they absolutely won't be investigated, absent immunity deals and the like (and as you point out, there's no record of that being the case). I just don't understand how he can be so sure.

    1. That's the point, Nancy. He is lying when he says that.

    2. Yeah...on the one hand, I obviously know he's lying, but on the other, it blows my mind that he keeps getting away with it...I always feel like I must be missing something. I still have a hard time swallowing the fact that it is so easy for him to just straight up lie. It's seriously beyond comprehension to me that he has no shame whatsoever; I guess I have to remember we're dealing with a psychopath.

    3. He gets away with it because he is a sociopath and because the corporate media won't challenge him on any of it.

    4. Yes, he is a sociopath -- but even more mind-blowing, as Capper says, is that the media don't do whistle-blowing on the lies.

      Sure, the MJS is in his pocket, but why other media in this state don't do so is beyond me.

      With all the talk of wanting to get hold of Walker's transcripts at MU, I think we need to get college transcripts of all journalists, too, to see if all were C students -- so incurious or incapable even of reading the local blogs like this one, Illusory Tenant, etc., that repeatedly clarify the obvious lies of Walker on this point.

      When even Bice cannot cover courts capably to clarify this obvious lie, there's no point in paying for the pile of crap called a newspaper.

  2. I have watched all the video of the State Embarrassment, the lying weasel, that I can find. I have watched his body language very carefully. You can always tell when he is lying. "How?," one might ask. Very simple; his lips are moving.

  3. So if Walker didn't know that Rindfleisch and Wink were doing illegal campaign work, what did he think they were doing all day? Did he ever assign them any county work? Enough to fill a 40-hour work week?

  4. Over here in Illinois I watched as they went after Rod Blagojovich. Blago was so full of himself he would repeat to anybody who would listen "The don't have nothin'". Went on Letterman and told him. In the court room he was smug.Until just before the end and he realized he was cooked. Boy was he. 14 years is a long time. Give Scotty room to dig his own hole deeper. Judges take note.