Saturday, February 21, 2015

Media checking record will find more Walker spinelessness

Scott Walker has recently had his behavior, programs or words rated by high-profile mainstream newspaper editors, columnists or editorial writers about as negatively as it gets:



" ignoramus or a coward."


"Sneaky, self-serving...conniving."

There's a lot more in records and prior reporting about Walker and his public and campaign staffs to justify those descriptions:

*  For example, it is known that Walker, as well as his senior campaign and Milwaukee County Executive staff at the time worked on media strategies to minimize any political fallout after a concrete slab fell off a County-owned parking ramp, killing a teen-age boy and severely injuring his mother:
A pretrial hearing Tuesday will examine a host of issues, including whether the judge should prevent testimony in the case about whether Walker's county staff destroyed any O'Donnell documents. 
The concern was prompted by an email from Keith Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager in the governor's race, that was one of thousands of documents released in July by Reserve Judge Neal Nettesheim, who oversaw the secret John Doe probe into Walker aides and associates.  
Gilkes wrote to Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch, advising her on the day of the O'Donnell death, June 24, 2010: "Keep on top of (parks director) Sue Black, (budget director Steve) Kreklow, (administration director Cindy) Archer and all staff to make sure there is not a paper anywhere that details a problem at all."
Walker's personal role in media-managing after the tragedy was also reported:
Gov. Scott Walker worked simultaneously with his campaign staff and county aides in coordinating responses to media inquiries, open records requests and news stories about the 2010 O'Donnell Park tragedy, according to newly released emails
The records show that Walker was integrally involved in the efforts to challenge any negative publicity after a concrete panel fell from the Milwaukee County-owned O'Donnell parking structure, killing a 15-year-old boy on June 24, 2010, on his way to Summerfest. 
The incident occurred in the middle of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. 
"It is disgusting that anyone would use a tragedy for such blatant political purposes," Walker wrote in a draft statement that he sent on July 20, 2010, to a small circle of campaign and county staff, including campaign manager Keith Gilkes, campaign adviser R.J. Johnson and Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli. 
The individuals in this small circle regularly emailed each other about the Walker administration's response to the incident.
*  In a separate, fatal tragedy on County property, Walker, his Milwaukee County Executive staff and Scott Walker for Governor political team leader R. J. Johnson agreed on a strategy to keep buried until after the November, 2010 gubernatorial election that a civil rights lawsuit was coming on behalf of a woman who starved to death in a County-run mental health unit.

Detailed records and context - - including racist emails exchanged by senior Walker public staffers - - are here, thanks to The Progressive, which live-blogged the disclosures. Here is a sample:

Update, 12:54 p.m. CST: We're finding more context on the first update about Cindy Anczak, the woman who starved to death in a county mental health facility. A chain of emails starting on page 1,376 of WalkerDocs 2 shows Walker's people talking about the family's lawsuit in purely political terms.
R.J. Johnson sarcastically notes that the family chose to sue close to the election. However, the documents had not yet been officially filed, so Walker himself chimes in and says the lawsuit should not be made public. "Keep it buried until Nov. 2nd and then hopefully they settle," replies chief of staff Keith Gilkes.
Then we should not make it public.
Keep it buried...
And Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker's deputy chief of staff at the time, who is ubiquitous in both of these matters?

*  She was charged in the so-called John Doe I probe in which it was revealed that there had been a secret Internet router and communication system set up just twenty-five feet from Walker's Milwaukee County Executive office that helped enable both Walker's public and campaign aides to quietly perform political work on public time.

Rindfleisch took the system down and removed it, according to this exhaustive review of John Doe emails and related events.

Subsequent reports indicated Walker and his "inner circle" used private email accounts to coordinate public and campaign work.

Six of of Walker's aides, associates or donors subsequently pled guilty to felonies or misdemeanors in the John Doe I probe; Rindfleisch has lost an appeal of her six-month felony conviction but has not begun serving her sentence.

*  Despite her having been charged with felony misuse of public time and resources while Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff - - see complaint, here - -  Rindfleisch accompanied Walker to a Florida fund-raising event in 2012 hosted by Rush Limbaugh.

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