Thousands of emails unsealed in misconduct case of ex-Walker aide

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MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Court of Appeals released thousands of emails on Wednesday, February 19th from the private Gmail account belonging to a former aide to now-Governor Scott Walker.  Kelly Rindfleisch served as Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff in 2010 when he was County Executive. Now, the big question is - Did Scott Walker know crimes were being committed in his office while he was Milwaukee's County Executive?

Rindfleisch is one of six people convicted of crimes in connection with a secret John Doe investigation led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

CLICK HERE to view transcript with summarized details

In 2012, Rindfleisch was convicted of felony misconduct in public office for doing campaign work on county time.  That case revealed that Rindfleisch, whose office was located two doors down from the future Governor, was using a laptop and wireless internet router that were not connected to the county's computer network to do campaign work during the workday.  She was convicted in October of 2012 and sentenced to six months in jail, but that sentence was placed on hold while she appeals.

More than 26,000 emails are contained in the massive PDF files unsealed Wednesday.

They contain extensive communications between Rindfleisch and other top political aides to Walker.  They are unlikely to reveal additional criminal wrongdoing, since prosecutors have had access to the messages for quite some time.  However, the release of the documents is sure to place Governor Walker in the national spotlight at a time when the 2014 race for Wisconsin Governor is just beginning to heat up, and pundits suggest he may be entertaining a run for President in 2016.

In one email exchange, Rindfleisch was asked what she did for Scott Walker -- and she replied "all policy." However, these emails make it clear that her real job was almost all politics -- as she was using her public position to advance Walker's political career.

The emails shed new light on the John Doe investigation itself.

For example, Rindflesich's home was searched the day before the 2010 election - as the investigation expanded.

In a court transcript, one investigator said he believed Walker "would appear to be aware" of a secret internet system his county employees used for campaign purposes.

In a later email from Cindy Archer to Rindfleisch, it appears Walker, who is referred to as "SKW" knew of the illegal campaign communications. Archer wrote: "I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW."

On Wednesday, Gov. Walker made one public appearance, where he spoke with FOX6 News an hour before the emails were released.

"I don't know that there will be any great surprised beyond what they already talked about," Gov. Walker said.

FOX6's Mike Lowe: "What was the nature of any exchanges you might have had with Kelly Rindfleisch?"

"Again, that's s several years ago.  I'd have to go back and look. That's not something I've looked at in the last several years.  The bottom line is these are e-mail communications from someone who worked at the county - in some cases four to five years ago. I haven't looked at them the last three years I've been governor, so most of them are four years old and they've gone through a legal process," Gov. Walker told FOX6 News.

The John Doe investigation was closed in March of 2013.

Marquette University Political Science Professor John McAdams predicts minimal political damage for Gov. Walker as a result of the release of these emails.

"We've already seen one indictment and sentence come out of those e-mails. I think the bad news for Walker and the Walker campaign in those e-mails is now old news," McAdams said.

Gov. Walker says he will go through the emails and so will his political opponents -- mining thousands of pages for political purposes in the days to come.

CLICK HERE to read more stories about Kelly Rindfleisch


    • Tom Noel

      Bear, this is worth reporting. It shows the voters of Wisconsin that the man in the Governor’s office is a liar and a cheat. He is no better the Rod Blagojevic was in Illinois. Do we really want someone who uses deceptive practices during an election to be running the state?

  • #7

    Yes it is a bit of “old news”, but it lends vindication to those who have been diligently reporting on it, and a very reasonable skepticism of weasel walker’s “plausible deniability”.
    The shame is that more major news outlets (like fox!) chose to ignore or sweep under the rug the whole time. had it been investigated and reported more timely, nobody in the govs camp would be sitting very comfortably still. this has been a smoking gun for quite some time now.. conveniently, the fire has been. allowed to wane.

    • Cheri

      Wow you Dems are sad… having to resort to name calling of all things? First of all these are not Walker’s emails, they were of his staff and yes some of his staff have shown poor judgement in the past (Which is not a crime by the way, it’s just poor judgement). So why don’t you Dems take up all of that pent up energy you all seem to have and try to do something useful for once instead of slinging mud at Walker at every given opportunity. He’s done way more for Wisconsin than any Dem has done for decades! I take it you’re one of those bitter teachers? It seems like it’s the teachers who have been the most shameful in their mud slinging and name calling (Sad examples for their students).

    • Tom Noel

      The problem is, #7, that Walker will never answer for this. His staffers are the ones taking the fall. Kelly Rindfleisch has already served time for it and now 3 others are being investigated. Most political analysts figure that this will only hurt Walker for a week or two and then people will move on and forget about the controversy. I for one will not. I have the power of my vote and will use it against him on April 4th. If we can remove him from running in the primary election, we can stop him from even having another chance to run. Then we can watch him squirm as he makes his run for the White House.

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