The John Doe investigation swirling around Scott Walker in Wisconsin has begun to become a factor in his recall election. The labor-backed progressive group We Are Wisconsin has called for the resignations of two current Walker staffers, who exhibited some of the same behavior that drew indictments for former aides.
The group called on Brett Davis, a candidate for Lt. Governor in 2010 and currently a Walker Administration official, and Cullen Werwie, the Governor’s spokesperson and campaign manager in 2010, who has cooperated with the investigation, to resign. We Are Wisconsin reasons that they also worked on the gubernatorial campaign of Walker in 2010 while working for taxpayers in the Milwaukee County executive’s office, the precise charge against Darlene Wink and Kelly Rindfleisch, who received indictments last week. We Are Wisconsin quotes Walker as saying:
Had we been aware of anyone else who violated the…policy [against campaigning on taxpayers’ dime], we would have taken the same action [that we took against Darlene Wink and requested their resignation].
In the complaints against Wink and Rindfleisch, they coordinate constantly with Werwie and Davis, in a series of email communications. Yet Davis and Werwie made no effort to stop Wink and Rindfleisch from their activities.
We Are Wisconsin executive director Kristen Crowell said in a statement, “These new developments in the growing corruption probe of Scott Walker’s office represent a new level of misconduct that disqualifies at least two of his top-level Administration officials, and – if he had any knowledge – Scott Walker himself. By Scott Walker’s own stated standard, he should immediately demand the resignation of anyone with knowledge of the criminal activities that occurred just feet from his own desk – including two of his top current Administration officials – and offer the public a full account of what Walker knew and when did he know it.”
So we’re at that phase of the scandal. There’s been plenty of smoke around Walker already. In fact, in this interview with the Chicago Tribune, Walker appears to give away the fact that he has spoken with investigators:
Walker also sidestepped questions about a spreading corruption investigation that has led to the arrests of some of his former top aides from his tenure as Milwaukee County executive. The governor declined to say whether he had hired his own criminal attorney, saying his campaign was fully cooperating with prosecutors, who had asked him to refrain from such comments.
How else would they ask him to refrain from comment if he hadn’t spoken to them?
Walker held the lead in the first round of head-to-head polling in the recall election. But the opposition is just starting to make the John Doe investigation, and the sea of corruption around Walker, into an issue.
UPDATE: Mary Bottari has a great piece alleging that a secret email system set up in Walker’s old Milwaukee County executive office attempted to skirt the ban on taxpayer-funded campaign work by making available a router which county employees could use with their personal laptops.