Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Walkergate: Mrs. Wink Goes To Walkersha

Darlene Wink, who had already pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal campaigning during the time she worked for Scott Walker while he was Milwaukee County Executive, was in court on Tuesday for her sentencing hearing.

Unsurprisingly, the sentencing was postponed while she continues to cooperate with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office by helping with their investigation and agreeing to be state's witness against other defendants stemming from the Walkergate investigation.

But as it always seems to be the case when it comes to anything dealing with Scott Walker - say it with me - there's more. There's always more.

Steve Schultze of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on the hearing and subsequently reveals the more (emphasis mine):
Wink's sentencing was moved to Nov. 21 by Judge Daniel Konkol at the request of Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf. Wink's cooperation is needed in the case of Timothy Russell, another former county official, and also in a Waukesha County case, Landgraf said.
Schultze goes on to make the most obvious conclusion as to what's going on in Walkersha County:
Landgraf didn't disclose the Waukesha case that he said Wink had agreed to help on. Brian Pierick, Russell's domestic partner, has been charged in Waukesha County with child enticement and causing a juvenile to expose his genitals. That case also grew out of the same John Doe probe.
As I said, it's the most obvious conclusion, but not necessarily the correct one.

It doesn't make any sense for Wink to be involved in Pierick's case. Wink was never even mentioned in the criminal complaint against Pierick. Nor is he mentioned in the complaint against her. Nor are their crimes anywhere similar or even connected.

In fact, the only commonality between the two would be Tim Russell. And unless Russell was bragging about his partner's trolling abilities, I don't see what she could conceivably contribute to the state's case against him.

So what in blazes would Wink have to do with a Walkergate case in Walkersha County?

Well, we know from the complaint against Wink that she was having frequent contact with Joseph Fadness, Walker's campaign operation manager; Tom Evenson, field operative for Team Walker; and Reince Priebus, then head of WISGOP.

But that might not mean nothing, since it's not known exactly where Walker's campaign headquarters are:
All we know about the main Walker campaign office is that it lists a P.O. Box in Middleton for campaign donations and other mail.

The governor does give a street address on University Ave. in Middleton for his defense fund, the account out of which he is paying his two criminal defense lawyers as part of the never-ending John Doe investigation of his staff.

Is that where his super secret campaign office is also?

"No," responded Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews.

Are we getting warm?

"Not even close," Matthews answered.
However, we do know that while the bulk of the investigation has happened in Milwaukee County, the charges land where the crimes occurred, as evidenced in Pierick being charged in Walkersha County and Kelly Rindfleisch' unsuccessful attempt to get her case moved out of Milwaukee County.

It is also known that, thanks to Walker's Act 61, a plaintiff can sue the state from their home county as opposed to only being able to sue them in Dane County. In a summary of this act, Attorney Erin O'Connor summarizes the law and includes this passage:
A new law took effect on Nov. 24, 2011, altering where plaintiffs suing the state may bring those actions and where an appeal may be heard arising out of those actions. The Senate author of the legislation explained that it was drafted to provide "wider access to the court system for citizens who wish to take up an action against the State of Wisconsin" and because citizens should have the right to bring an action "closer to where they live." Sen. Vukmir, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Utilities, Commerce & Government Hearing, June 2, 2011...
And we also know that when Walker's campaign filed the bogus lawsuit against the Governmental Accountability Board in order to extend the amount of time that Walker would be able to collect unlimited donations, they chose to do so from Walkersha County.

So let's put this all together, shall we?
  • Wink was in frequent contact with Team Walker, helping out with Walker's campaign during work hours and from her county office.
  • We also know that the DA is planning on using Wink as a witness against someone in Walkersha County.
  • While the only known defendant in Walkersha County is Brian Pierick, there is no clear reason to tie Wick to Pierick or vice versa.
  • We have reason to suspect that Walker's campaign is in Walkersha County.
When you put all those facts together, I don't think it would be a large leap of faith to conclude that there is a strong possibility that there will be more shoes dropping soon, and that these shoes will be landing on the heads of Walker's campaign staffers, as opposed to the clandestine campaign he was running from the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

I think it just might be time to stock up on popcorn again. This is really starting to get good.


  1. Interesting analysis. I still don't get why the campaign headquarters is a secret. Also, why doesn't Bice write about John Doe anymore?

  2. If charges are file in Waukesha County, wouldn't they be brought by the Waukesha County DA? Isn't that DA a pretty large supporter of the current administration? It would stand to reason that there would be a conflict of interest with any charges brought there. Further, if there are charges brought out of Waukesha, I'd imagine they'd have to be pretty strong in order for the GOP DA to even appear to be cooperating.

    1. Not necessarily. It's the Milwaukee Co. DA who is handling the Pierick case, and that is being held in Walkersha Co.

    2. Don't forget the Federal DOJ is involved also.

  3. Thanks Capper.

  4. Walker campaign inside the back door of Kathy's house?

  5. Capper,

    You planning to also give us an update on the two other court meetings this week?

    Also, if they are moving Wink's sentencing to November due to the pending Waukesha case (amongst other cases), I can't help but believe that the DA would subsequently intend for those related cases to have been tried by that point, meaning that any additional charges would have to come soon so that the trials could be set prior to Wink's new sentencing date....thoughts?

    Oh, what happened to Shallow Pockets (mentioned a ways back)?

  6. I'd guess Walker didn't want anyone protesting at his campaign HQ, nor snapping pics of the people going in and out, and performing subsequent background investigation of those folks.

    I have info from a good source who says the true HQ has a hand-written sign that says "Top Sekret Keep Out That Means You!!!!".

  7. I have also been wondering why Bice isn't writing about John Doe anymore. JS took him off the case? He is always very informed.

  8. It is getting juicy.

    Tomorrow Rindfleisch is scheduled to be in court to argue their Kastigar motion. That is, Rindfleisch claims she has immunity from her testimony in the caucus scandal, thus these charges should be dismissed. The state then must make a strict showing that the evidence obtained under these charges are wholly independent of the information she provided in the other case. It's called "fruits and use".

    To the casual viewer it would seem that Rindfleisch and her attorneys are blowing smoke. But what kind? IMO, I think they are trying to see how long the waters flow, and how deep.

    Just as in Russell's case, I think Krueger was sent in to cull information, but for whom? Van Hollen-- and his Gov? Or even higher than that? Why else would a "state" attorney knowingly infuse himself temporarily into this John Doe case? On April 6th, Krueger became Russell's attorney. On May 1st, Maistelman announced hiring Krueger. June 13th Krueger accepts a new job? Short window, doncha think?

    Now, Maistelman is removed as Russell's attorney of record, due to a conflict of interest, which was brought to light a couple of months back, only we thought, at that time, due to a financial conflict of interest... Russell waived. Today krueger stays on promising not to share anything with Maistelman. (??)

    My take is that this is huge... I hope the investigation does not become (or has not been) corrupted.

    So far, it's reads of the plot for John Grisham's next book.

  9. Kelly Rindfleisch is about to have a whole shoe store dropped on her head shortly. The DA will be filing another EIGHT felony counts on her bringing her total alleged misdeeds up to an even dozen. ADA Landgraf said he will also be introducing "massive amounts of email evidence" supporting the lengthy criminal activity by Rindfleisch.
    This morning the DA filed his response to the Motion to Suppress evidence by Rindfleisch's attorney Frank Gimbel. It probably has as much chance of suceeding as Russell's FORMER attorney Krueger had with his request.
    I know Judge Hansher is handling both of these cases with kid gloves but perhaps it's time to dismiss the stall tactics by the defense attorneys and go to trial.

  10. davn33: Who is representing Russell, if Krueger is dismissed on Friday?

    1. That's the big question we'll find out Friday. Here's the JSonline story that Capper posted on July 14th:

      Hansher said Krueger had been "unprofessional and hypocritical" in failing to disclose his new job, and the judge said he may file a complaint against Krueger with the state Office of Lawyer Regulation accusing him of professional misconduct.

      Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf said Krueger had a legal conflict of interest in acting as Russell's defense attorney while at the same time working as a state prosecutor. That might also be a violation of ethical rules, Landgraf said.

      Krueger said keeping mum about his new prosecutor's job was in the best interests of his client.

      Landgraf said he had no objection to giving Russell a week to figure out his options on who will represent him. But Landgraf said it appeared inevitable that Russell will have to get another lawyer, a development that could cause a significant delay in Russell's trial.

  11. Might Scotty's secret headquarters be at the WPRI in Harland? It has to be secret because that would be against the law, which sounds about right for the esteemed felon in chief.

  12. Hmmmm, could the campaign office actually have been in the Waukesha County courthouse -- in Kathy Nicklaus' office? Or perhaps it was in her bait shop? After all, she was involved, like Rindfleisch, in the past legislative scandal as well, also working for Prosser.

    Okay, my popcorn came wrapped in tin foil today.

    But in future, could immunity deals please come with promises to stay out of politics and political jobs? That these corrupt staffers continued to land positions that allow them to pervert our electoral process is just appalling.

    1. let's get real, why do you think they keep getting hired??? Could it maybe be because they are willing to break the law to advance political campaigns???

      I agree they should be banned from government jobs, as part of the immunity agreement, but then they could become like convicted felon scooter jensen and make millions.

    2. You are on the same trail I am with respect to Wink's link to Walkersha. If the ethically challenged Republican Royalist, Kelly Rindfleisch didn't learn her lesson, what makes you think Kathy Nickolaus did?

      My guess is Wink will testify to reporting to Waukesha County officials/employees about her campaign activities.

    3. Walkergate isn't related to Nickolaus. That's a whole different scandal.

  13. Michael Best & Friedrich has an office in Waukesha.

    1. Now don't be going stealing my next day posts!

  14. "Reached by phone, Schimel said he had reviewed the information that had been referred to him. He said it was a “side issue” related to the Wink case but didn't involve campaigning during work time for a branch of government.

    “I am going to defer prosecution,” Schimel told “I don’t think I can demonstrate that he knew what he was doing was wrong.”

    He refused to name the person involved in the case or to describe the circumstances.

    “If I am not going to issue charges, ethically I shouldn’t say anything,” Schimel said. “It would be like naming someone involved in the sexual abuse of a child and then not charging them.”

    The damage would be done to the person’s reputation, even though no formal charges are ever issued, he said.

    Schimel said the case had nothing to do with felony child enticement charges that were issued against Russell’s life partner, Brian Pierick."

    1. Hmmmmm, Paul Bucher, Schimel's former boss?

      Of course, comparing him to a child molester wouldn't help his pending divorce and custody case. Ouch.

    2. Well, there are two problems with this. One, Schimmel never even opened a John Doe, so it's questionable if this is the case that Landgraf was referring to. Two, as I keep saying, there's more - there's always more.