Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Walkergate: Big Money At The Cross Rhodes

On Sunday, I introduced the gentle reader to Cross Rhodes Strategies.  Cross Rhodes is a "consulting" group headed by Scott Fitzgerald's main fundraiser, Judith Rhodes Engels.

Cross Rhodes is also the employer of Kelly Rindfleisch, the political operative/Scott Walker aide who was convicted of illegal politicking during the first Walkergate investigation.  She is currently trying to appeal that conviction, even though she took a plea deal.  Rindfleisch is also one of the subjects of the current Son of Doe investigations.

With the original trial, the ongoing appeal and now being investigated again for other possible crimes - and having a high-priced attorney - Rindfleisch's legal bills must be huge.  Fortunately for her, Walker and WISGOP had found her a lot of jobs for her to get paid handsomely so that she could pay those bills.

One of those jobs was working for the sketchy millionaire Michael Eisenga, who was recently caught out paying off Joel Kleefisch to write a bill that would allow him to greatly reduce the child support payments for his special need children.  Even with that help, Rindfleisch couldn't stay out of trouble.

As I had mentioned in my previous post, a number of Teapublicans had Cross Rhodes listed as an expenditure on their campaign finance reports.

But when one looks at who gave what, it really gets interesting.

On December 2 and December 16, State Senator Mike Ellis paid out $500 each time for "Solicitation Expenses."  One might surmise that Ellis was trying to buy his way back into the good graces of the Teapublican establishment after opposing them on some key votes.  This seems extremely likely now that he is facing a strong candidate in Penny Bernard Shaber.  Ellis couldn't afford to get primaried this summer and then try to face her.

Faithful Teapublican State Representative John Nygren paid out $500 each time on July 2, July 31, September 3, October 1 and October 31.  The $2,500 was listed as "Consulting Fees - General."  That's an awful lot of consulting for a non-election year.

Another tool of the Teapublican establishment, State Representative Paul Farrow also gave these women three payments for "Consulting Fees - General."  On July 18, he gave them $1,000.  On September 21, he gave them two payments - one for $500 and one for $1,249.50.  Again, that's a lot of consulting for a non-election year.  And what's up with the two payments on the same date? One of them wasn't enough?

But now it gets really good.

One of the other benefactors of Cross Rhodes Strategies was Von Wanggaard, who is trying to make a comeback in the upcoming election.  On July 30, he paid out $1,000 for "Consulting fees - General."  On August 20, he paid out $983.19 for "Fundraiser - Food and Beverage."  Wanggaard paid out another $827.65 on September 27 for "Postage."

But the big money came from the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate who is ran by State Senator Scott Fitzgerald.   With each payment listed as "Consulting Fee - General," Fitzgerald authorized a $7,500 payment each on July 2, August 6, September 5, October 2, October 29 and December 3.  On July 25, Fitzie sent Cross Rhodes a whopping $15,355.  Now that's really a lot of consulting!

It really should come as no surprise that Fitzgerald was so generous.  Not only was Rhodes Engels his primary fund raiser, but they also both have ties to Walkergate and so want to make sure that Rindfleisch is able to mount a strong defense.  The gentle reader will recall that it was Rhodes Engels that shared Fitzgerald's list of donors with Rindfleisch:

But with all things Walkergate, there's more.  There's always more.

In an ironic twist, Media Trackers has decided to do their own story on part of these pay outs.  Surprisingly, these Koch Brother lackeys are more than willing to throw Rhodes Engels and Fitzgerald under the bus in their efforts to get at Wanggaard, who they apparently feel isn't rabid enough to suit there needs:
While working for CERS during the final six months of 2013, Rhodes also worked for the Van Wanggaard for Senate campaign. The ex-police officer is running against conservative financial adviser Jonathan Steitz, who serves as an expert with the free market-orientated Heartland Institute think-tank.

Campaign finance records show that Rhodes took $4,310.74 from Wanggaard’s campaign in the second half of 2013.

Those same records show that Wanggaard managed to net $32,060.79 over that six-month period. Entering the race in September, Steitz netted $27,102.94, a decent showing for someone who jumped into the race well into the reporting cycle.

Wanggaard, who tried to water-down Governor Scott Walker’s historic union reforms, has a history of losing races even when he is ahead in campaign fundraising. In the summer of 2012 he lost his recall election to Democrat John Lehman. Post-election finance reports show that for the year-to-date, Wanggaard raised $329,188.54 but still lost to Lehman despite the latter’s intake of only $226,139.56 for that calendar year.
Now it's not surprising or noteworthy that the unethical Brian Sikma would follow marching orders to promote the Koch candidate. That's what he gets paid to do.

But what is noteworthy is that Sikma just might have helped the John Doe investigations by pointing out the apparent collusion between WISGOP, in the form of Fitzgerald and Rhodes Engels, and Wanggaard's campaign.  I am sure that this would be far from being the first and only time such collaboration has taken place.

If you see John Doe, please be so kind to point this out to him.  I'm planning on getting some popcorn and waiting for the fireworks to start.


  1. Main fundraiser is an interesting term....ive heard of main squeeze, main girl, main interest etc... before but never heard the term Main fundraiser used to describe it before :)

  2. Fascinating that, when already knee-deep in trouble with investigators, these dudes seemingly can't help but do more of the same. It's like the scorpion stinging the turtle giving him a ride across the bay; it's in the nature of the scorpion to keep on stinging, no matter how self-destructive.

  3. The question is, will the fireworks start in the next few months? Or will the show happen after Walker has been re-elected?

  4. Capper, again, thanks for the great work.

  5. Boy, the righties must REALLY be desperate if they're trying the "pollute the post with off-topic BS" ploy.

    Ain't gonna work guys. And Capper, given that more shoes are sure to drop, you may want to put up some velvet ropes around here

    1. No sweat, Jake. It's really easy to make them go poof. And the multiple comments does help the post rise in search engines.

    2. That, and with Google analytics, you can see where the posts are coming from. :)

  6. So the cannibal rats have begun to attack each other. I predict the few remaining thinking rats bail and soon. They hear the distant tolling draw nearer and know what it signifies.

  7. Capper, even I am impressed! Keep up the good work. And keep digging.

  8. Hello Megabus?

    This is Scott, but everyone calls me John Doe. I was wondering if you do charters?

    You don't do charters?

    Well I was told that there would be a busload of us on the bus to a PMITAFP... and it just makes me feel good that it won't be on a Megabus. We really feel like we won't ever have to ride a Megabus or go to a PMITAFP.

  9. Are these the reasons why Brian Sikma and Media Trackers attacked one of their own?
    Tensions rising between Republican leaders in the Senate and Assembly

    Cannibal Republican Rats, indeed.