Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014

Thoughts on Kelly Rindfleisch’s John Doe Emails

By Lisa Kaiser
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I know I shouldn’t make predictions, but it’s hard to resist not contemplating what will turn up in the documents to be released next Wednesday in the case of Kelly Rindfleisch

Rindfleisch, you may remember, was a top Scott Walker aide when he was Milwaukee County executive. At the same time—literally—she was fundraising for Walker’s preferred lieutenant governor candidate.

After much ado, Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to misconduct in office. Her appeal of that plea deal is what had led to the release of documents.

So let’s go back to the beginning.

According to prosecutors, Rindfleisch exchanged more than a thousands emails in a few short months of county/campaign work.

Just a handful of those thousand has been released, and, obviously, they’re incriminating—incriminating enough to get Rindfleisch to plead guilty to a crime

From what we’ve seen in the Rindfleisch case and the O’Donnell Park case, Scott Walker and his top campaign aides were routinely copied on county emails. His campaign staffers even directed the county’s response to the O’Donnell Park tragedy—even going to so far as to tell Rindfleisch to make sure the office was scrubbed of incriminating documents!

And as one attorney told me way back when, if Walker is copied on any of those emails combining county and campaign work, “He’s toast.”

As we’ve seen, Walker wasn’t toast and he didn’t get burned. The district attorney closed the first investigation without charging Walker. Or, for that matter, the campaign aides copied on those emails—including R.J. Johnson, who was Walker’s campaign advisor and, apparently, the spokesman for Wisconsin Club for Growth at the same time.

Now, with the knowledge of the existence of John Doe 2, we know that the district attorney was playing a longer game. I’ve always thought that Walker wasn’t charged in the initial John Doe because the second one—the one the governor’s allies are trying to stop—would yield larger crimes.

I can’t predict what, exactly, will be in those emails released next week. But I’ll bet that Scott Walker’s name is all over them.

 

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