Friday, January 6, 2012

Walker Way Too Involved In "Operation Freedom"

Still no explanation from Gov. Walker to justify extensive personal involvement in the "Operation Freedom" charity from which money donated for veterans was alleged to have been stolen by Walker aide Tim Russell and another man for personal gain.

Even if you want to argue that that Walker wanted such an operation set up and managed from his public for purely patriotic goals totally unencumbered by any political consideration - - why, as the Journal Sentinel explains, did Walker disregard the signals from the County's Ethics Board and choose to stay, through Russell, so closely involved?

In the complaints, the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post 23 was listed as handling the veterans funds correctly before the responsibility was handed over to [Tim] Russell and the Heritage Guard Preservation Society in October 2009 - a decision personally signed off on by Walker as county executive...
Walker said Thursday that the decision to transfer the funds from the American Legion to Russell's group had been made to safeguard the money.

"The focus was instead of moving around from one group to another it's probably best to have one group that just did this so the funds couldn't be comingled with anything else," Walker said...

Walker set up the annual Operation Freedom as a military appreciation day at the zoo for veterans, who got free admission and food. It was run through the county executive's office.
Russell was the coordinator of the event and worked on it with Darlene Wink, another former Walker aide at the county who has been under investigation in the John Doe probe...

The financing setup for the event drew ethics scrutiny in 2006, when two county Ethics Board members questioned the practice of county officials asking private companies for money for public programs, saying it raised conflict-of-interest questions. Walker said then that he was trying to save taxpayer dollars and that he'd resolve ethics concerns by asking a veterans organization to solicit funds for the event.


Anonymous said...

So what I wonder is-- if Walker and his administration triggered the probe of Operation Freedom-- is Walker throwing Tim Russell under the bus in order to somehow protect himself?

Anonymous said...

Interesting Anonymous- was it a deflection.

The bottome line- poor character judgement on Walker's part. Where did he get these guys?

Anonymous said...

I'm the first anonymous and I have to answer my own question by saying no because the Walker Admin was not reporting financial problems with Russell's charity.

The timeline is that Walker's Admin reported problems with Kavanaugh's handling of the charity. Kavanaugh's CHarity, called the Purple Heart Assoc. or something like that, handled the charity. Walker's Admin reported missing funds in the middle of 2009.

THEN Oct. 2009, Walker takes Operation Freedom away from the American Legion Post and hands it over to Russell. American Legion had been handling the charity in a perfect fashion. So it seems weir and suspicious that Walker took it away from them.