Six people associated with Walker's staff--integral, trusted people in Walker's office and campaign--were convicted in crimes brought to light in the recently concluded Milwaukee County John Doe probe into illegal activities in Walker's County Executive office.
But that doesn't mean he gets a free pass.
Actually, if you believe Walker's previous stance on "corrupt" political allies, Walker should be out of a job. In 2006, when a Doyle staffer was merely charged (and subsequently cleared) of improper political actions, Walker spouted in a press release (thanks Daniel Bice) that:
"...corruption can infiltrate all areas of government. Unfortunately we have a Governor and administration that condones unethical and illegal behavior. The people of Wisconsin deserve better. Today’s indictment provides further confirmation that the Doyle administration is damaged and must be removed from the Capitol."
In announcing the closure of the current John Doe probe into actions by Walker's staff, Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm, who's been overseeing the investigation, gave this ringing endorsement of the virtue of those not charged (my emphasis added): "...all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded." Not saying he's a murderer or anything, but--beyond a reasonable doubt--isn't that how O.J. Simpson got off?
And Walker's not Eagle-Scout-squeaky-clean here. Far from it. After all, he hired these guys. And some of them came with already quite tarnished resumes--including pretty much the same things they were eventually convicted of while working with Walker in his County Exec role. Who'd have thunk it?
Kelly Rindfleisch, of course, was a state Republican legislative staffer from 1995-2001 who admitted she (and others) "ran campaigns and raised funds for candidates from their state offices. Rindfleisch also admitted removing campaign documents from the Senate Republican Caucus that had been requested by the State Journal under the open records law." WSJ Um, now she's been convicted of pretty much doing the same thing on Walker's watch.
That's who you hire to be your Deputy Chief of Staff? Gosh, if there'd only been an inkling she was capable of doing something like this when Walker had hired her.
And Tim Russell was also hired to be a Deputy Chief of Staff, among other numerous, trusted posts. To be fair, Russell hadn't ever previously been granted immunity nor had he been charged with anything criminal, but Russell, one of Walker's closest political allies, had questions raised about his past employment history, including his "reported termination from a previous position at the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) for illegal use of a department credit card for his personal use."
Wow. If there had only been a sign to possibly foretell Russell's current conviction for skimming veterans' funds for his personal use.
Of course, you can't fault anyone in Walker's house for campaign fund contributor William Gardner, the guy convicted of illegally funneling money to Walker's campaign through his employees, right?
Oh, um, wait a minute. It turns out the very same William Gardner was convicted of making illegal contributions to Walker's County Exec campaign years before, essentially by funneling it through his own daughter!
And the Walker-backing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel even questioned the wisdom in having a Republican Party official, Darlene Wink, on Walker's County Executive staff.
Not exactly stellar hires, are they?
To top it all off, since these convictions have occured, Walker hasn't even said, "I trusted the wrong people." He has taken no ownership, whatsoever, for these questionable (and now convicted) hires. Instead Walker is "reminding" the media that his office started (although likely subsequently stonewalled) the investigation. He has wrapped it all up by saying “The biggest thing is I’m pleased that the process is complete so we can move forward.”
And, so, Governor, we move forward.
But it's certain that we do so without your integrity intact.
Articles for more info: JS Online, Wisconsin State Journal, WisDems, Cognitive Dissidence