Friday, February 15, 2013

Walkergate: Entr'acte

On Thursday, the last of Walker's chicken hawks had come home to roost.

Brian Pierick, who is the domestic and business partner of Tim Russell, had been sentenced for his crime of sexting a 17 year old boy.  Pierick had taken a plea deal a couple of weeks ago that allowed him to get a proverbial slap on the wrist.  Instead of facing a couple of decades in prison, Pierick got away with paying a couple of thousands of dollars fine and has do 50 hours of community service.

Pierick had worked on Walker's campaign as a volunteer and as the administrator of Walker's campaign website.  Walker rewarded Pierick by getting him a job in DPI.  Pierick was fired soon after he was arrested.  

With Pierick's sentencing, we are finally able to close the curtain on the first act of Walkergate.  In the first act, we have seen six people charged and six people convicted.  Besides Pierick, the rogues gallery known as the Walker Six include:
  • William E. Gardner, the railroad tycoon, pleaded guilty to felony charges of making illegal donations to Walker's campaign.  Gardner got off with a fine and extended supervision.
  • Darlene Wink, Walker's former director of constituent affairs, pleaded guilty to doing campaign work while on the taxpayers dime.  She was sentenced to four months in jail, but that was stayed.  Instead, she's on a year's extended supervision.  She was a great source of information and a ready witness against her cohorts.
  • Kevin Kavanaugh was convicted of stealing money from a veterans fund.  Despite his "suspicions," Walker appointed Kavanaugh to the Veterans Affairs Board.  Kavanaugh is currently serving a four year prison sentence with two years of extended supervision afterwards.
  • Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to doing illegal campaigning while working as Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff.  She was sentenced to extended supervision, but is currently appealing the ruling.  Rindfleisch's case focused only on the work she did for Brett Davis, Walker's first choice for Lieutenant Governor, but evidence which came out during her trial shows she was doing a lot of work for Walker's campaign.
  • Tim Russell, like Kavanaugh, stole money from the veterans fund, which Walker willfully and knowingly put under Russell's control.  Russell, a long time special friend of Walker's and one of his top aides for over a decade, is currently serving two years in prison with five years of extended supervision following his release.  It should be noted that Russell could have been charged and convicted of a lot more, including illegal campaigning and trying to circumvent the open records laws.
Undoubtedly, Walker and his supporters are hoping like hell that people figure that this means that this is the end of Walkergate.  They can hope as much as they want, but the gentle reader knows better.

Not only do we know that the Walkergate investigators are keeping up their work, but we know who they are probably looking at.

There are other, more subtle signs that things are still going on.

After Rindfleisch and Russell took their respective plea deals, Walker and his campaign were breathlessly rushing out statements that this was it, the investigation was over and they had nothing to do with anything related to Walkergate.

As of a few weeks ago, however, they were changing their tune.  Where they had once claimed that Walkergate was over, his campaign spokeswoman all but admitted that it was still happening when she stated that Walker and the campaign were still cooperating with the investigation.

A week after the spokeswoman's gaffe, it came out that Walker was still pouring money into his legal defense fund.  Between Walker's personal defense and the legal defense of the campaign, Walker has spent a half a million dollars.  

That's a helluva lot of money for a supposedly innocent man to be spending.

Now they've gone quiet.  Not a peep today after Pierick's sentencing.  Not one statement has come from Walker or his campaign.

And despite his protestations of not being the subject of Walkergate, Walker has not been given immunity nor has he produced any sort of document from the DA's Office verifying his ridiculous claims.

If anything, Walker has been demonstrating some very non-Walkeresque behaviors at times, such as announcing funding for a domestic violence center in Milwaukee.

It is as if he is trying to win over more people to his side in preparation to try his case in the court of popular opinion before he goes to the court of law.

It also must be noted again that despite all of Walker's posturing, damage control and his attempts at spin control, there has never - as in not even once - a claim that Walker is innocent.

Nor has Walker explained how it is that all of these people he has surrounded himself with are turning out to be guilty of all assortment of crimes and he either avoided being part of it or how he was totally oblivious to all of it.

In sum, we are between acts.  The first round has been completed, with all of the people who had been arrested and charged being found guilty.  We also know that John Doe is far from being done.  There will be a second cast of characters that are coming down the pike and sure to keep entertained and outraged for months.

The only problem is that we don't know how long this intermission will last.  Only John Doe and the DA knows when the second act will start.

So, during this intermission, please feel free to hit the lobby to get a large popcorn and soda.  But don't go too far.  We don't want you to miss a thing when the next act does finally start.

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