Timothy D. Russell, a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker, was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison and five years probation for stealing more than $21,000 from a veterans organization that Walker named him to lead.The veterans group previously handled the funds themselves without any problem, but then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker insisted that the funds be placed with Milwaukee County which was highlighted in Russells trial.
Milwaukee Circuit Judge David Hansher imposed the sentence, saying he found insincere Russell's apology and acceptance of responsibility for stealing from a nonprofit chosen to administer Walker's annual Operation Freedom veterans picnic at the zoo.
"There is also no true regret, remorse or repentance," Hansher told Russell. "I find that you don't even have any shame."
In response to questions from Hansher, Russell said Walker in 2009 had ordered the management of the event switched from the Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post to the Heritage Guard Preservation Society to continue Operation Freedom after Walker left the county executive's office.Russell clearly didn't cooperate with prosecutors who were interested in why the Milwaukee County Executive insisted on the veterans group money being placed in County hands when there was never a problem with the group handling its own financial affairs. The reason for this requirement is still unknown.
Hansher pressed Russell to say who besides him had persuaded Walker to make the change, which put Russell in control of the funds raised for Operation Freedom. But Russell said only that he had participated in the decision, without naming anyone else.
He defended himself at his trial by insisting that the money he took was compensation for his time managing the groups money and coordinating the event despite the fact that these matters were done inside a taxpayer funded Milwaukee County office and on a taxpayer funded salary which were already compensating him for his "work".
He also tried to get off on probation rather than prison time by claiming to be the sole caretaker of his grandmother (untrue) as well as being a first-time offender.
He was taken into custody immediately after sentencing (there's a nice picture on the first diary link) and becomes the third Scott Walker top aide to be convicted and sentenced.
Late last year Kelly Rindfleisch, who succeeded Russell as deputy chief of staff at the county, and eventually plea bargained with John Doe prosecutors, was sentenced in November to six months in jail and probation for doing political fundraising while at her county job. And just a short time ago Darlene Wink, Walker's constituent services director at the county, was sentenced in January to a year's probation on a (plea bargained in exchange for her cooperation with the prosecutors) misdemeanor charge for doing campaign work 2009 while at her county job. Those political activities were made possible by the installation of a secret router that enabled communication on private email accounts and pro-Walker comment posting on newspaper blog sites without the required mandatory archiving required of those transactions.
This is the last of the charges in the over 2 year John Doe Probe to be completed. The John Doe is still ongoing, but no recent activity has become public and no new charges have been filed.
Russell should consider himself lucky to have ONLY been charged with the theft and not for the political work he did on the taxpayers dime like his associates Reindfleisch and Wink were. It was Russell who installed the secret wireless router that enabled Walker aides to do political work in County offices and on County time. He similarly did political work like opposition research while on the job receiving a quite substantial taxpayer funded paycheck.
Despite the fact that there wasn't a trial, some tantalizing bits have surfaced, including an email Scott Walker made to Tim Russell about a wage increase that would be given after he was elected Governor.
As Milwaukee County executive, Scott Walker hinted in 2010 that a top aide could receive better pay if Walker were elected governor, a new document shows.Oh, poor baby. He only received a 3.4% at a time when Milwaukee County workers got ZERO to 0.5% wage increases on their quite a bit less than $75,866 per year salaries.
The aide, Timothy D. Russell, later came under investigation and never landed a state job. But when Russell complained to Walker that his March 2010 raise of 3.4% was smaller than he wanted, Walker said they could revisit the issue after the election.
“We are 7 months from the election and the press is already in silly season. … I am sorry and I know it stinks but there will be time to talk about improvements after Nov 3rd,” Walker e-mailed Russell, referring to the day after the November 2010 election.
The email was mentioned in a document a prosecutor filed in court last week as part of his sentencing recommendation for Russell.
Walker and Russell had their exchange over Russell’s pay just two months before prosecutors launched a secret John Doe investigation of Walker aides. Walker won the 2010 race for governor, but Russell – who by then was caught up in the probe – did not get a job with the state.Governor Walkers new state political appointees received very generous wage increases over their predecessors nearly doubling their salaries in some cases, but salaries for his Milwaukee County staff that did not follow him to the Governors office were not adjusted.
Justice is served. Late, less than what I'd want, but it's there. Personally, I wanted trials and not plea bargains for these 3 Walker aides. I wanted juicy revelations of the shenanigans going on in Walkers office. I wanted to know more about the secret wireless router, the email exchanges, and the on county time pro-Walker blog posting that was going on.
Most of all, I want to know how Scott Walker didn't know that this was going on just feet from his desk and inside his own offices and by the staff he hired.
I want to know it all.
Scott Walker wants to be re-elected Governor. We all know that. And he's going to do that by pretending to be a moderate. He's been all over talking about how he's not going to do Right to Work (for less) or other extremist legislation. And he's now promising ... you guessed it ... tax cuts!
That's right, folks. Step right up and get your tax cuts that you'll see sometime after April, 2014, just in time to make Scotty Walker look pretty good in the eyes of cash-strapped voters.
Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans who control state government have said for weeks they are committed to cutting income taxes, but until Tuesday they had not provided precise details on how much it would affect the state budget. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told reporters it would be at least $300 million to $350 million over two years.
Naturally, nobody's talking about how they're going to pay for that in the We're Broke State and certainly nobody is going to mention that the very rich and entitled are going to be raking in vastly more than the average $200 per year savings of the average taxpayer, but those are just details. The same details that got everyone drooling over the Reagan and Bush tax cuts that threw a few nickles at the common man while handing over boatloads of cash to those at the top.
Yup, courting voters, rewarding donors, and screwing his enemies. It's the Walker Way.