While much of the coverage in Wisconsin’s recall election has focused on Gov. Scott Walker’s role in cutting bargaining rights for public workers, few have a clear picture of the brewing corruption and campaign finance scandal involving missing charity funds and secret negotiations with Walker staffers. We’ve made a user’s guide.
Walker Has Already Formed A Legal Defense Fund
In recent months, Scott Walker transferred $160,000 in campaign contributions to a legal defense fund whose purpose he refuses to discuss. The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) states that “an elected official can only establish a legal defense fund if they, or their agent, are under investigation for, charged with, or convicted of violations of Wisconsin’s campaign finance and election laws.”
The “Operation Freedom” Fiasco
When $11,000 in donations for Operation Freedom, an annual event honoring veterans, was found to have disappeared during a time period when Walker was serving as Milwaukee County executive, an assistant DA in Milwaukee, Bruce Landgraf, filed a petition for a secret “John Doe” investigation.
Why Was The Investigation So Secretive?
In May 2010, the Milwaukee County prosecutors only opened a secret John Doe criminal investigation after Gov. Scott Walker’s office stonewalled them. The hope was that the veil of secrecy would encourage cooperation.
Who Has Already Been Indicted?
Pictured here is Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s political appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission, under investigation for embezzling $42,232 from the Military Order of the Purple Heart between 2006 and 2009, in which he acted as treasurer. Other indicted aides include Tim Russell, Darlene Wink, and Kelly Rindfleisch.
The Aide’s Secret E-mail System
Tim Russell, former deputy of staff to Gov. Scott Walker, set up a secret e-mail network that permitted government staffers to avoid being caught campaigning illegally for the then-Milwaukee County executive.
The FBI Raids A Walker Aide’s House
In February 2011, federal agents ransacked the house of former top Walker aide Cindy Archer. They wanted to know whether Walker aides had been using taxpayer money and time and computers to anonymously post pro-Walker propaganda on the Internet.
Wait, How Many Aides Have Been Granted Immunity So Far?
So far, 13 aides have been granted immunity in the John Doe investigation.