Prosecutor links Walker to intertwining of political, county work
Prosecutors made disclosure during sentencing of Walker's former aide
MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors on Monday said Scott Walker had daily meetings with his Milwaukee County staffers and his 2010 governor’s campaign to ensure there was “good coordination” between the two, WisPolitics reported.
Milwaukee County prosecutors made the disclosure during the sentencing of Kelly Rindfleisch, a former Walker county aide who reached a plea deal to settle charges against her stemming from the long-running John Doe probe.
The political work Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf described included what he called a group that communicated daily.
The group included members of Walker’s campaign such as campaign manager Keith Gilkes and spokeswoman Jill Bader along with county employees such as chief of staff Tom Nardelli, spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin, administration director Cindy Archer and Rindfleisch, according to email correspondence obtained by investigators.
Landgraf used a detailed PowerPoint presentation to implicate Walker and his aides in doing political work using county resources, according to the WisPolitics report.
Rindfleisch attorney Franklyn Gimbel said “what jumped off the page” in Landgraf’s 65-minute presentation was that his client was the only one of those mentioned in the PowerPoint who’s facing jail time.
“Scott Walker has not been accused of any wrongdoing,” Gimbel said, raising both hands, according to the WisPolitics report.
Landgraf did not address in court whether anyone else would charged in the investigation and declined to answer questions on that topic afterward.
Walker hasn’t yet commented on the new developments, but he has repeatedly said he is not a target of the investigation.
Walker campaign spokesperson Tom Walker told WISC the relationship between the Walker campaign and Walker administration was not abnormal.
“It is not unusual for campaign staff and an elected official’s staff to routinely discuss the appropriate way to schedule meetings, determine a point of contact for emergencies, or how to address media inquiries directed at both the official office and the campaign office,” he said. “Balancing the daily calendars, meetings and issues covered by the media for an elected official present challenges in the course of a campaign that require routine communication by both sets of staff.”
Archer hasn’t been charged in the probe, though investigators have searched her home. Prosecutors earlier this year requested personnel records for all four former county aides.
Landgraf also noted that Rindfleisch, in an email to a friend, had said that half of her time in the county executive’s office would be spent on “policy for the campaign.”
Prosecutors accused Rindfleisch of working on Republican Brett Davis’ lieutenant governor campaign on county time.
Prosecutors held up a stack of hundreds of campaign emails during Monday’s sentencing, revealing that Walker was copied on and even wrote some of the emails.
“It includes emails to the Davis campaign. It includes emails to the Walker campaign,” Landgraf said.
Prosecutors said Rindfleisch sent and received those emails while working on taxpayer time using a secret Internet server set up in her office.
A Milwaukee judge on Monday sentenced Rindfleisch to six months in jail and three years’ probation for doing campaign work on the taxpayers’ time.
Rindfleisch pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of misconduct in office in a deal with prosecutors.
She faced up to three-and-a-half years in prison and $10,000 in fines but prosecutors recommended jail time rather than prison and promised not to seek restitution in exchange for her plea.
Judge David Hansher stayed the sentence pending appeal.
Prosecutors have portrayed Rindfleisch as uncooperative in providing information about others as part of the John Doe probe.