After a nearly five-year criminal investigation that resulted in 15 felonies for six of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s staff members, one of them will begin their prison sentence this week. Former Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly Rindfleisch will turn herself in on Wednesday and start serving her six month prison sentence for a felony count of misconduct in office.
The investigation that led to Rindfleisch’s conviction was dubbed the John Doe Investigation because of its secret proceedings. It began in May 2010, centering around the actions of Walker staff members during his time as Milwaukee County Executive and 2010 run for governor. The investigation led to charges ranging from illegal fundraising to theft from a veteran’s group.
Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to one felony count of misconduct in office for raising money on county time for Brett Davis’ failed bid for lieutenant governor. In addition to her six month prison term, the former Walker aide, was sentenced to three years probation.
This isn’t the only investigation into Walker and his staff. In 2012, another John Doe investigation began after questions arose about connections between Walker’s recall campaign and the super-PAC supporting him. Information from the investigation has been leaked and says his campaign was coordinating with his PAC, a serious violation of campaign laws. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in that case later this month.
Walker has managed to escape the investigation he and fellow Republicans are calling a “witch hunt.” That’s the term Republicans always use when they are caught being the corrupt, scumbags that they are. Instead of ever admitting to anything, the GOP plays the victim card; it’s their modus operandi.
Walker claims that he had no idea that his staff members were committing crimes. If you believe this, I have a bridge to nowhere in Alaska I’d be happy to sell you. Rindfleisch wasn’t his only deputy chief-of-staff to be charged with a felony. Former Deputy Chief of Staff Tim Russell pleaded guilty to stealing more than $27,000 from Heritage Guard Preservation Society, a group that helps veterans and their families. Russell was Walker’s right hand man and Walker still claims he had no idea what was going on.
It sounds just like his fellow Tea Party friend, Governor Rick Scott of Florida claiming he had no idea the company he was CEO of was stealing millions of dollars from Medicare. Unbelievable.
Walker has gotten away with everything up to this point, but should he declare for the presidency, the skeletons are going to be found. We can assume that Scott Walker has a long history of shady dealings that goes beyond what the press has revealed. A second investigation is pending, this time into a far more serious allegation of a $1.5 million illegal campaign contribution from John Menard, Wisconsin’s richest man. In return, Walker reined in the already weak environmental protection agencies and regulations that would interfere with Mr. Menard’s profits. That cannot be the only incidence of illegal quid pro quo and this is certainly not the end of the Scott Walker story. Justice is coming for one of the worst scumbags American politics has ever produced.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.