Governor Scott Walker (R-FitzWalkerKochStan) failed in his attempt to get in front of the release of nearly 28,000 pages of documents in the Kelly Rindfleisch John Doe trial by making a brief statement prior to their release and then conveniently leaving Wisconsin for the National Governors Association meeting. His staff said he would not be available to the media while in Washington DC and didn't respond to media inquiries after the release of the documents made front page news across the state and nation. The documents released raised questions about Walkers knowledge of and involvement in the secret email system as well as the tone set in his office where staffers felt comfortable enough to forward a few blatantly racist emails.
Naturally, he downplayed the documents claiming they were "old news" trumped up by Democrats "who wanted bad things to happen to Wisconsin". If you're late to the party you can catch up here in Part 1 and here in Part 2
As the proverbial turds hit the fan, Walker did get caught by a reporter as he rushed into a meeting. Being late Friday, it wasn't reported until today, the least read newspaper of the week.
"The only comment I am going to say about all of this, on all of this, because I am not going through 27,000 pages of stuff, is that a Democratic district attorney looked at all that information and interviews ... and ultimately issued charges against the people that they did and concluded that legal process as of March last year," Walker said.That's right, folks. Not being charged with a crime is equal to complete exoneration of any wrongdoing whatsoever. Nothing to see here. Move along.
"They didn't find any other action to bring that forward and so that's the end of it. So I am not going to go back and relive all these things."
He went on:
"Again, a district attorney in a county led by a Democrat reviewed all this information," Walker said. "I am probably one of the most scrutinized elected officials in the country."That's right. Claim it's a partisan effort. Ignore the fact that the judge overseeing the original John Doe Probe was a Republican, too. Dismiss the whole things and, by all means, keep attacking Democrats to deflect criticism of yourself and your actions.
Walker added, "We are confident going forward. What I think ... with the DNC, with others both within the state and across the country, they desperately want something negative to happen in Wisconsin."
Will he hold a presser like Chris Christie to answer questions?:
"No, because I am done," Walker said. "The difference is he (Christie) was just at the beginning of his process. This has been done. Your paper and others have reported on it. You are basically getting a splash because political opponents of mine want to draw attention to something that has already been resolved as of last March."Keep repeating "this is old news". Ignore the fact that you're never answered questions about it during the probe itself. Well, that's not quite true. When he was asked about it he claimed it was secret and kept repeating that he was the son of a preacher and former Eagle Scout.
Walker DOES need to answer all those questions he never answered in the first place and those that have come up as the documents were read for the first time.
Here's my short list of questions that need answering:
You claim to not know about the secret router and private email system used to circumvent Open Records Laws.
If so, why were you communicating with your County Executive staff using your campaign email rather than your official County email address? And why were you addressing your communications to both your campaign and County Executive staff at the same time?
Tell me more about the email you sent at the time the media was reporting Darlene Winks resignation for blogging pro-Walker comments during work time. Your email said "We cannot afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, etc." And how did you get the response back that said the router was down and that Kelly Rindfleisch had it in her "bag". It seems like you knew enough about the laptops, website blogging and other illegal activity that was going on to send an email to shut it down when the cat was out of the bag. And why did you send that email to Tim Russell who wasn't even on your staff at the time (he was your appointee to head the housing authority).
You claim to be unaware of any wrongdoing or lawbreaking.
You were in the State Legislature at the time of the Caucus Scandal where there were serious consequences for the use of Legislative staff for campaign work which is illegal in Wisconsin so you should be well aware of our laws. Taxpayer facilities and taxpayer paid staff are to be doing the publics business and not campaign work or fundraising. Yet you set up a daily conference call between your campaign and your County Staff during official office hours to coordinate public statements, the handling of any issues that might arise, the response to questions and there were many comminications throughout the day between your staff and campaign.
Considering how you micromanaged every aspect of both your campaign and public office, how could you be unaware of what was going on all around you and within feet of your desk particularly when your campaign was actively working with and giving orders to your official staffers both during the daily conference call and throughout the day?
And here are some new questions
What kind of tone did you set in your office where your office staff felt comfortable enough not just to get some laughs over racist emails they received, but forward them on to others?
The flurry of emails by your staff after the death of that young man killed by yet another chunk of concrete falling from the O'Donnell parking structure and the several incidents (including one death) at the Mental Health Complex focused exclusively on keeping the stories out of the press to prevent any political damage to you. Was anyone ever the least bit concerned about the victims who were injured or died?
I'll be waiting for those answers. We're all waiting.