February 20, 2014 12:01 am -

cbn_walker_facebook_120405a-615x345I can give you 27,000 reasons why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker may give Chris Christie – at least in the near term – a run for his money:

More than 27,000 emails were unsealed Wednesday after a years-long investigation into Scott Walker’s campaign for Wisconsin governor. And, for the first time, Walker has been directly tied to a secret email system that members of his staff used to coordinate his gubernatorial campaign while Walker was Milwaukee County executive.

Among the pile of emails, it was found that Walker also used his campaign email to conduct county executive business. In June 2010, Walker emailed the conservative radio host Charlie Sykes and encouraged him to get information on Democratic groups from his office. “Ask [my official office] and we would be happy to send over the info,” Walker wrote.

Needless to say, news outlets and liberal blogs have been sorting through the messages, and there’s already been paydirt. Little things like Reince Priebus playing favorites during the 2010 Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial primary…

In a July 1, 2010 email, released Wednesday among thousands of documents related to the John Doe probe of Scott Walker’s former aides, Priebus tips off Walker — then Milwaukee County executive and a candidate for governor — to his primary opponent’s planned line of attack.

The subject line of the email, sent about two months before the Sept. 14 primary, reads, “Neumann Confidential.” Walker’s primary opponent was former congressman Mark Neumann.

In the email, copied to political consultant RJ Johnson, Priebus alerts Walker that “Neumann will be looking at two areas very soon — the county debt and how it is calculated — something about ‘mortgaging the future’ and why Walker dropped out of college.”

… moderately embarrassing things like a racist chain e-mail

The chain email reads:

In the nightmare … I am a homosexual, and on top of that with a Mexican boyfriend. Oh, my God … Black, Jewish, disabled, gay with a Mexican boyfriend, drug addict, and HIV-positive!!! …

Say it isn’t so!!! I can handle being a black, disabled, one armed, drug-addicted, Jewish homosexual on a pacemaker who is HIV positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, lives in a slum, and has a Mexican boyfriend, but please, Oh dear God, please don’t tell me I’m a Democrat.

The correspondence from Thomas Nardelli, then Walker’s chief of staff, to his deputy Kelly Rindfleisch was revealed by Democratic research group American Bridge 21st Century on Wednesday after the Wisconsin Court of Appeals released more than 27,000 pages of emails and documents as part of a now-concluded “John Doe” investigation into the future Wisconsin governor’s tenure as county executive. Six former Walker aides and associates have been convicted in connection with the case.

… to this dodge to avoid the “official” e-mail system

“Consider yourself now in the ‘inner circle,'” Walker’s administration director, Cynthia Archer, wrote to Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch just after the two exchanged a test message.

“I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW and Nardelli. You should be sure you check it throughout the day,” she wrote, referring to Walker by his initials and to Walker’s then-chief of staff, Tom Nardelli.

Court documents have previously showed Walker’s aides set up a secret wireless router in the county executive’s office and traded emails that mixed county and campaign business on Gmail and Yahoo accounts. The email from Archer made public Wednesday is the closest link yet between that system and Walker.

… to more tasteless racism

In April 2010, Michael Best & Friedrich paralegal Kelly Teelin sent Rindfleisch a photo of four dogs and a joke about someone whose dogs qualified for welfare because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddys are.”

Rindfleisch wrote back: “That is hilarious. And so true.”

… to a completely sexist firing

In April 2010, Scott Walker and his staff realized they had a potential problem on their hands that would require them to quietly fire a woman who appeared to be completely competent at her job. The issue was that she had a checkered past: She used to be a thong model. … Walker learned about the problematic former thong model on April 5, 2010, when Nardelli emailed him about a woman who was hired as a doctor at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, which provides treatment for mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual disabilities.

… to emails that strongly suggest Walker knew that his campaign was engaged in illegal coordination with outside groups.

A now-closed probe by Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm (D) resulted in a 2012 felony conviction of Kelly Rindfleisch, who served as deputy chief of staff to then-County Executive Walker, as well as convictions against several other former Walker staffers. … Investigators in the probe found that Thomas Nardelli, Walker’s chief of staff in the County Executive Office and later his administrator of Wisconsin’s Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services, emailed Rindfleisch and other Walker county and campaign staffers in 2010 from his private Yahoo address. The email said that Walker asked that they conduct a daily 8:00 AM conference call to coordinate efforts and and responses to “events of the day,” as good coordination would help resolve issues before they blew out of proportion. Walker’s 2010 campaign manager, Keith Gilkes, wrote back with a call-in number for the daily call. Wisconsin law prohibits public employees from political activity while on the job.

And there’s a whole lot more. American Bridge summarizes the big takeaways from day one of dredging the document swamp:

  1. Scott Walker’s claims that he didn’t know about his staff’s “secret email network” have fallen flat: Walker consistently received traffic from it. His days of plausible deniability are over.
  2. Walker’s staff were brazen about conducting campaign fundraising on government time.
  3. From pay-to-play scenarios to insensitive emails about the O’Donnell Park tragedy, the tidbits below are just the tip of the iceberg in uncovering the truth about Scott Walker’s involvement in the corrupt actions in his office.

Their site has links to the worst of the Walker e-mails.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.