Tim Russell, a former top aide of Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milwaukee county executive, has been charged with the theft of more than $20,000 from funds intended to promote an annual event honoring veterans.
It has now been revealed that Walker personally ordered Russell take control of the funds:
Transferring control of funds for an annual veterans event - from an American Legion Post to an organization run by then-County Executive Scott Walker's aide Tim Russell - was ordered by Walker in October 2009, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday against Russell.
While none of this implicates Walker in the actual crimes, it does implicate him in bad judgment. Walker repeatedly went to bat for Russell:
Russell worked on and off for Walker at the county, starting as his executive assistant in May 2002 and passing through several other county jobs within the county executive's office and elsewhere in county government. In between, Russell regularly took a role in Walker's county executive campaigns. Walker first won that office in 2002 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2008.
Russell's highest-paying county stint was as associate economic development director, starting in April 2003. He was paid about $83,000 a year in that post. Walker also nominated Russell to lead the county's economic development office in late 2004, but county supervisors voted down the Russell appointment the following April on a 12-7 vote amid complaints that Russell was unqualified and a Walker campaign functionary.
Walker took the unusual step at the time of sending a letter beseeching County Board Chairman Lee Holloway to back Russell's appointment, saying he was needed to provide continuity on the county's efforts to market vacant Park East Freeway corridor land.
What does this say about the type of staff Scott Walker surrounds himself with? Giles Goat Boy sums it up:
A Walker appointee, a Walker campaign aide, and a child molester embezzled money that was intended for disabled veterans.
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