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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A day before Republican Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin, law enforcement authorities served search warrants at his office in Milwaukee (where he served as county executive), his campaign office and the houses of his top aides.

After assuming office in 2011, Walker pushed through his conservative platform, which included limiting public sector unions and implementing broad tax cuts. As Walker’s policies gained him national attention from the Republican Party, questions about his campaign were pushed to the back burner.

Until now.

On Wednesday, the first documents giving context to the investigation into Governor Walker were made public. They haven’t explicitly linked Walker to illegal activities, but they have provided a behind-the-scenes look at the offensive conduct of the governor’s staff.

Perhaps most shockingly, the documents show that Walker staffers traded emails making fun of horrific conditions at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Facility. News reports at the time showed workers there filed false claims to hide mistakes, and let a patient with a history of violence and sexual assault move around the facility unsupervised. Staffers weren’t worried this would hurt Walker in the polls, however. “[N]o one cares about crazy people,” one staffer wrote to another.

The mentally ill weren’t the only minority group used as a punchline by Walker’s aides.

Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s former deputy chief of staff, received an email that compared welfare recipients to dogs. The paradoxically ungrammatical email explained that dogs should be allowed to receive welfare because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who the r [sic] Daddys [sic] are.” Rindfleisch responded: “That’s so hilarious and so true.”

Other top aides to Walker also shared their offensive sentiments.

Thomas Nardelli, Walker’s former chief of staff, forwarded a chain email that makes light of a “nightmare.” In the nightmare, someone wakes up to discover he is “black, Jewish, disabled, HIV positive, and gay.” The joke ends when the person in the nightmare realizes he is a Democrat — the worst affliction of those described in the email.

Ironically, Scott Walker was concerned about county employees with a “varied lifestyle.”  A doctor who was previously an underwear model received scrutiny from Walker’s administration, for example.

The doctor, who worked at the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, had her past career as a thong model discovered after Nardelli “MySpaced” her. Nardelli wrote to Walker that it was recently discovered the doctor “has a checkered past and has done some modeling work.” Nardelli continued: “It isn’t pornographic, but it is quite suggestive (I’m told — I don’t know her name). He [sic] apparently models thongs and wasn’t forthright in sharing that with staff prior to her hire as an hourly paid MD.”

“Get rid of the MD asap,” Walker wrote back.

And finally, the emails suggest that Walker knew his staff was breaking the law during his gubernatorial campaign. An investigator for the Milwaukee County district attorney testified before a secret hearing that email evidence proves Walker knew staff members were using personal computers and a secret WiFi network, while being paid by the county.

They set up the secret network so they could work on their personal laptops to plan his campaign for governor — all while being paid by taxpayers as staffers to the county executive.

Cynthia Archer, Walker’s administration director, said in an email that she uses her “private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW [Scott Walker] and Nardelli.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • TZToronto

    Anyone surprised?

    • Independent1

      I guess what suprises me is that 54% of Wisconsinites say the state is headed in the right direction. I’m surprised that Walker can still be hiding all his nefarious activities.

      • wiprotester

        I can’t believe it either. Maybe not enough voters went to the polls? There are plenty of us who can’t stand the guy here in WI.

        • daniel bostdorf

          Learn the lesson of the Ukraine….rise up and take back your state…

          • wiprotester

            Tried that in 2011. Thousands of us. Every day. Nice how the governor of the state thumbed his nose and ignored those constituents. Of course he had no interest in anything but the Koch machine and emulating he hero, the gipper, If we would all protest again I’d be there.

      • daniel bostdorf


  • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

    When you hire staff, you hire people that are qualified to do the job and you feel will fit into your operation. Perhaps Mr. Walker needs to examine the type of work environment he has nurtured. These individuals apparently believed it was okay for them to send racists e-mails from their work computer, while working for a government official. If we are judged by the company we keep (as our parents would say), than what does it say about Walker who has allowed a hostile work environment towards particular groups of people.

    • stcroixcarp

      In addition, Walker dropped out of college because he had cheated on a student government election. He was apparently born an ass hole.

      • 4sanity4all

        And he had the temerity to “get rid of” a Doctor who modeled underwear? Which, while interesting, is not immoral or unethical. I am so glad that this information is coming out, about his staff and their secret e-mail accounts, and doing political work on the clock. I hope it destroys Scott Walker’s political career, as he has destroyed the careers of so many working people in his state.

        • stcroixcarp

          Scotty ran as a family values kind of guy. That said, one of his appointees and campaign advisor embezzled $44,000 from a disabled veterans organization that Walker arranged for him to head. This man is in jail. This felon’s live in lover, an employee of the State Department of Education, was charged with soliciting sex from an underage boy. Walker is against gay marriage, but it is apparently ok to cohabit and commit felonies together and or separately! This is just another example of Walker’s hypocrisy and failure as an administrator.

      • plc97477

        And then got worse the older he got.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Walker sets the tone of his administration….”head of the fish rots-so the body soon follows.”

  • howa4x

    This is a mirror to what is going on with that other rising GOP star Christie who claims that all the scandal on the GWB was done without his knowledge. Both Governors created the climate where this kind of behavior was acceptable or staff would have never took liberties like this. So even if we buy the claims that neither governor knew of this wrongdoing by their closest staffs then we need to conclude that both are either extremely poor judges of character or oblivious to what their administrations were doing. Do we really want that kind of incompetence in the White House?

    • 4sanity4all

      Exactly. We are all adults, and we know that while the words may not have been spoken, the expectations were clear. Staffers knew what they were expected to do, but provided their boss with deniability, knowing that if they were fired as a sacrifice, they would be picked up in another job down the road. Very subtle and hard to prove, but I hope investigators keep digging.

      • daniel bostdorf

        You are dead on…

    • daniel bostdorf


      “Both Governors created the climate where this kind of behavior was acceptable or staff would have never took liberties like this.”

      “head of the fish rots-so the body soon follows.”

  • wiprotester

    Walker is so deplorable. And what some unethical low life staff he had – and not just one or two people. Although one can’t always be proven guilty by association it’s pretty clear that sw was aware of the e-mail account and what the staff were doing with their time. If this many staff members were so racist, arrogant, uncaring and snotty it tells us the culture of sw’s work group and staff and he was at the helm so… I’d love to see him in an orange jumpsuit but he’s so slippery he may evade being convicted of anything. A long time ago he had a large sum of money paid out to his attorneys-now we know why.

    • Barbara Morgan

      He is also the only Governor in Wisconsin history that has set up a defense fund. He did this back in 2012. I read an article on facebook yesterday that said he had just deposited $85 thousand dollars of campaign money in that account. Isn’t that illegal, shouldn’t campaign donations go in a campaign account? The same article showed what some emails that were released for the public to see Friday said and after reading some of them I am trying to figure out how any one can claim that he didn’t know what was going in his office and didn’t know about the secret email account used by office staff and campaign staff both of staffs working out of his county executive office. He like Christie is a person has be in complete charge and as Ed of the Ed show said that no one in Walker’s executive office wiped their nose without him saying they could. Walker left town Friday after emails from the secret email dump was released and refused to answer any questions about those emails

      • daniel bostdorf

        Humm…interesting post!

    • daniel bostdorf


  • sigrid28

    What are we to think of voters who decided NOT to recall Walker when they had the chance? If recalling him would have set a bad precedent, what kind of precedent do these indecencies and campaign indiscretions set? Wisconsin voters, many of them in the racist Republican base, have only themselves to blame for the abuses of Scott Walker and his administration. Their beautiful state is being over-run by moneyed interests tied to the 1%, who seem intent on taking it over as their winter and summer playground, while disenfranchising and driving out populations they look down upon. The same pattern is evident in Michigan.

    The GOP won’t admit to believing in climate change, but the wealthiest Americans are now the only ones who can afford to live and vacation in the pristine lake districts of Wisconsin and Michigan, which even now resemble gated communities. They know they will be well-situated when temperatures threaten Red States in the South and fresh water becomes scarce. Ironically, it is low-income, uninformed, racist voters in the Republican base–who soon will not be able to enjoy these states themselves–who are carrying out the designs of the rich Americans who are taking over Wisconsin and Michigan, with the help of Republican governors and legislatures.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Allow me a very rare flippant response….it may answer your question and I hope you see how it relates:

      “What are we to think of voters who decided NOT to recall Walker when they had the chance? ”

      Wisconsinites eat too much cheese and dairy products.

      It causes Altzheimers like symptoms and other brain chemistry problems that can cause mental health issues.

      Read more here:

      • 4sanity4all

        Dan, I know you are being witty, but please see my comment above.

        • daniel bostdorf

          ok—you trumped me!

      • sigrid28

        In the same spirit (a-hem), might I suggest that beer drinking, rather than milk drinking alone, may have taken its toll on voters in Wisconsin. The state is–and was–dotted with scores of fine little breweries, and several magnificent ones that have made the state famous.

    • 4sanity4all

      I was in Wisconsin for a while when the dark money was funding constant, and I mean constant TV ads, drilling home the point that recall elections are disenfranchising the people who voted (Walker) into office. I think that one appealed to many liberal, thoughtful Wisconsinites. Also, the full extent of his evilness was not yet known. Then there were the incessant dark money ads about guns. Yes, the whole “coming to take your guns away” B.S. Wisconsinites are outdoor loving hunters, you can’t swing a cat there without hitting a stuffed deer head. And then there were the “taker” mentality ads, with Scott Walker bragging about how he lowered taxes. But no word at all on how defunding the public schools and taking away tenure rights from unionized teachers was hurting their once excellent educational system. And not a word about how unfair his union crushing was to other public workers. By the time the smoke cleared, Walker had survived. Not long after, the extent of the harm he did to the state became evident, but it was too late. They were stuck with Scottie. I can’t wait until the next major election in Wisconsin. I think that now that the secret e-mail accounts have come to light, along with the ‘political work being done on work time’ thing, as well as the bigoted comments tolerated by Walker, people will see him in a different light. Their job creation figures are way lower than Walker bragged they would be, so a lot of unemployed people will have time on their hands to get out the vote. Against him.

    • Independent1

      If you didn’t see Walker’s recent interview on Fox you may find this link of interest:

      OMG! Scott Walker Gets Grilled on EmailGate – On Fox News! (And MORE Big Time News)

  • docb

    Yes, and he recruited, hired, and supported them to keep his secrets…That speaks volumes!