Monday, February 24, 2014

In Walker's World, Transparency Now Is A "Slippery Slope"

In light of Scott Walker's 2010 statement to a Wisconsin newspaper that he'd "lived" transparency - - he'd posted it on his campaign website, but the story and interview have been deleted - -  Milwaukee County Executive, his statement to another newspaper today that taking questions about that office operated is "a slippery slope" could not be more weirdly damning.

As I wrote in January, 2012:


Walker Claims Transparency, But His Office Kept Secrets

Then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker told the Lakeland Times newspaper in a lengthy interview during the gubernatorial campaign published on September 8th, 2010, that his work and behavior as Milwaukee County Executive established and reinforced his belief in open government:

When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said.

"I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said.

But by the time that interview was published, a then-undisclosed email system in the County Courthouse that was regularly used by Walker's inner circle and other Republican operatives had been there for eleven months, records now show.

The system operated outside of the regular communications networks in the Courthouse, and outside of the reach of legal, Open Records search and requests.

And was set up by long-time Walker associate and County Executive staffer Tim Russell, according to the criminal complaint filed against Kelly Rindfleisch.

She had been hired in early 2010 for a taxpayer-paid position in Walker's public service office, but in reality was carrying out fund-raising and political work for then-State Rep. Brett Davis' unsuccessful campaign for Lt. Gov., the complaint says. Davis was a Walker favorite.

Rindfleisch was later promoted to Walker's Deputy Chief of staff - - an even higher-paid public position previously held by Russell - -  from which she allegedly and repetitively used the secret communications system, on public time for illegal political purposes, that was located in her office less than 25 feet from Walker's office, the complaint states.

It all makes laughable Walker's earlier call for ethics reforms to restore trust in government.

Rindfleisch faces four felony counts of misconduct in public office filed by county prosecutors in the continuing John Doe probe into the operation of Walker's office and campaigns, records show.

On page 15 of the complaint (use link above), it is alleged that in addition to work for the Davis campaign, there were more than 1,000 emails sent or received among Rindfleisch and three top Friends of Scott Walker gubernatorial campaign officials - - the campaign manager, deputy and communications director - - between Feb. 2 and July 9, 2010 - -  before then-County Executive Walker told the Lakeland Times he had "lived" transparency in County government.

Russell was charged separately with stealing money from a politically-advantageous veterans' fund that Walker assigned him to run out of the County Executive's Office, despite advice from the County's Ethics Board that the fund's operation be moved away from County Government.

Transparent County operations? More like a Nixonian throwback.

Davis, who did not win a primary for Lt. Gov., was appointed state Medicaid director by now Gov. Walker.

Davis' then-campaign manager, Cullen Werwie, remains as Gov. Walker's press secretary despite even though he shows up in some of the email traffic cited in the Rindfleisch complaint, and has been given immunity in the John Doe probe.


A. Wag said...

Slippery slope? Old news? Not gonna answer that? Scooter can't decide which flimsy excuse to hide under. I predict he'll end up with "Talk to the hand." [my criminal defense attorney]

Boxer said...

Little Cullen better cough up something quick or his immunity will go bye-bye.

Anonymous said...

I'm simply blown away by his statement to a CNN reporter: "If I answered the questions it would distract from my ability to be an effective governor in the state." Apparently "TELLING THE TRUTH" impairs his ability to govern!!!!! I guess we knew that all along.

Anonymous said...

Walker is probably correct about that being a slippery slope. You can't see all the way to the bottom from the top, but he is probably worried an orange jumpsuit and a reservation to a PMITAFP is probably waiting for him.

Walker-probably just as dirty as Ray Nagin, and less articulate and likeable.

He'll probably get that ride down his slippery slope whether he jumps himself or is shoved. Soon he will probably be known as Ex Governor Scott "Fifth Amendment" Walker.

He can ask his felon friends and associates how thrilling that ride down is. He's going down and he knows it.

Tessie13 said...

I checked the Lakeland Times to see what they were running on the email scandal. And just like every other questionable Walker story, the answer was zero. They did however have their usual Walker is a hero story, by his declaring last weeks upcoming snowstorm a National Emergency. Don't you know he cares about the safety of all of us Wisconsinites....he showed that with his expansion of Medicaid.
This is the same paper that spent months dogging Jim Holperin for a few emails that supposedly he didn't provide them under the open records laws. And the same paper that was all over the Lakeland High School for not providing them with records....they even took them to court (and lost)but it didn't stop them from beating that dead horse for weeks.
But now with the biggest open records scandal of all time with much more to come? Squirrel!!! Scott Walker declares a National Emergency because he cares so much about our safety.

Ron from IL said...

Looking at the last 20 posts on his blog, I think can be confirmed that James has a full blown case of "Walker Derangement Syndrome."

Jake formerly of the LP said...

As someone who goes to Vilas County every year, let em have it, Tessie! And mention that Vilas County won't be worth visiting with another 4 years of this anti-environment Governor

Max B. said...

It seems that you, Ron from IL, have a case of "Walker Denial Syndrome."

nonquixote said...

IANAL, but I was informed that declaring an official, "State of Emergency" such as Walker did during the "propane shortage," (whether contrived for price gouging or otherwise) allows corporations to legally refuse to honor previously contracted prices to their customers.

Joe R said...

To Ron from IL:

Being from Illinois, you should know how important it is to keep tabs on the activities of your Governor. Who knows, Walker might soon be filling his days making license plates, just like Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan and Dan Walker and Otto Kerner.

Tessie13 said...

Jake, Unfortunately, the owner of the Lakeland Times also took over the Rhinelander there is nothing up north that is not pro-Walker, until you get closer to Ashland and the mine area.
When you question why it's o.k. to trash Jim Holperin for months and then not report on ANYTHING negative on Scott Walker...they reply that Jim was local "news." I'm not sure if Walker is actually governor north of Wausau until he declares a National Emergency or defends us against those mafia union bosses, Capital destroyers, and bottom feeding teachers(actual wording printed in the two papers)and the horrible thing that is Obamacare. Squirrel!!!

Boxer said...

Yes, answering a single question is indeed a dangerous act. One slip-up and soon you're sliding down the Bullshit Mountain of lies you've so carefully piled up. Kelleeee! There's Tim and Brian too! And dear Darlene, wink, wink.. . . As he goes sailing by the bodies of those he destroyed .. . thudding into the rancid pile-up at bottom.

Anonymous said...

Re Walker's self proclaimed slippery slope: maybe others are throwing banana peels?

"Tim Russell Claims in Prison Documents He Had "Authority" to Dip Into Funds"