UPDATE: Walker required signed ethics statement after raid

UPDATED Wednesday, February 26, 2014 --- 3:22 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Gov. Scott Walker started making his top agency officials and staff members sign a pledge that they wouldn’t do illegal campaign work during regular business hours, just two months after law enforcement officials raided the home of one his aides.

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Walker started requiring signatures on the “Ethics Policy and Professional Code of Conduct” beginning in November 2011. Evenson said the timing had nothing to do with the Sept. 14, 2011, raid.

“That’s entirely unrelated,” Evenson said. The written code of conduct was developed by Walker’s new chief of staff, Eric Schutt, to formalize the existing policy, Evenson said. Schutt started as chief of staff three weeks after the raid.

FBI agents and other law enforcement officials raided the Madison home of Walker aide Cindy Archer as part of the investigation into illegal campaign work by employees of Walker’s office when he was Milwaukee County executive.

At the time, Archer was on paid sick leave from a state job in Walker’s administration. Prior to taking that job she had worked three years as one of Walker’s top aides in his county executive office. Archer currently works in the state public defender’s office.

Neither Walker nor Archer was charged as a part of the investigation that concluded last year. Six other Walker aides and associates were convicted on a variety of charges, including two for doing illegal campaign work while working in Walker’s county executive office in 2010.

Interest in the case has been renewed with the release last week of 28,000 pages of emails and other documents collected during the investigation. Walker, who is running for re-election and considering a 2016 presidential run, has denied knowing about any illegal activity and refused to address how much he knew about county workers doing campaign work during regular business hours.

In one email released last week, sent March 22, 2010, Archer told Walker’s deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch that she could consider herself part of the “inner circle,” adding that she frequently uses her private email account to communicate with Walker.

Walker said Tuesday that when he became governor he created a “clear distinction between things that are political and official.”

Since the beginning of his administration Walker has had a policy prohibiting campaign work while on state time, which included training and information provided by the state ethics board, Evenson said.

The written policy spells out that no campaign work is allowed in state buildings or using state resources during normal working hours. It also lists 14 specific campaign activities that are not permitted, including fundraising, preparing campaign advertising and working with campaign volunteers.

According to the policy, failure to adhere to the terms can result in the employee being fired. No one has been disciplined for campaign-related violations, Evenson said.

Schutt, who Evenson said pushed for the written policy, replaced Keith Gilkes as chief of staff 10 months into Walker’s term. Gilkes resigned to work for Walker’s campaign as efforts to recall him from office began to take shape. Gilkes was Walker’s campaign manager in both the 2010 election and recall campaign, and he was looped in on many of the emails collected during the investigation.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 25, 2014 --- 10:32 a.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he has created a "clear distinction between things that are political and official" in the governor's office.

It was blurred lines between political work and official government operations that motivated a three-year investigation into Walker's Milwaukee County executive office. Walker's deputy chief of staff was convicted of misconduct in office for going campaign work on the taxpayer dime.

Walker wasn't charged in the probe. The release last week of 28,000 pages of documents collected during the probe are leading to a new round of questions about illegal campaign work going on in Walker's county executive office.

Walker said Tuesday that he now carries one cellphone for official state business and one for personal use. And Walker says his governor's office staff undergo ethics training.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 --- 11:08 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- One of the hottest conversation topics in Wisconsin politics over the past week has been what people are finding in searches of thousands emails exchanged by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign staff and those who worked for him when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Liberals and conservatives alike have been hunting the documents for their names as well as political friends and enemies.

Some of the searches are for curiosity's sake. But operatives from across the political spectrum also are scouring the 28,000 pages of documents to find items they can use to attack or defend the state's most polarizing political figure.

Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said it was "like winning the lottery" for people doing opposition research on Walker.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014 --- 8:05 p.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says thousands of internal documents released publicly this week are "old news."

Walker also added that while that investigation is closed, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's problems are "just beginning."

Both Republicans are considering 2016 presidential runs.

Walker addressed the issue for the first time publicly during Saturday's meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington.

The released documents suggest Walker's former aides routinely mixed campaign and official Milwaukee County business. Walker was the county executive at the time he was running for governor. Six former aides and associates have been convicted, but Walker has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

State and federal authorities are probing the Christie administration for dayslong traffic gridlock at the George Washington Bridge, possibly to retaliate against a political adversary.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
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UPDATED Friday, February 21, 2014 --- 6:33 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker has denied knowing anything about illegal campaign activities in his previous office as Milwaukee County executive.

But about 28,000 pages of staff emails collected during a district attorney's investigation and released this week present a picture of Walker that clashes with the impression of a top official above the daily fray of his office. They appear to show a hands-on manager in close touch with his staff and carefully tending his public image.

The emails could provide ammunition for political opponents challenging Walker's candor as he runs for re-election this year and as he weighs whether to make a presidential bid in 2016.

Walker has not been charged in connection with any of the abuses, which involved employees doing campaign work on county time.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
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UPDATED Thursday, February 20, 2014 --- 1:18 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- For more than three years Republican Gov. Scott Walker avoided political fallout from a criminal investigation that ensnared six of his former aides and associates.

But with Walker up for re-election this year, and considering a run for president in 2016, questions are intensifying over how much he knew about illegal campaign activity going on in his county executive office as he launched his bid for governor.

Democrats are trying to use embarrassing emails that were part of 28,000 pages of documents released Wednesday to liken his woes to those faced by other embattled Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

But Walker backers say it's all much ado about nothing given that Walker was never charged with wrongdoing.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, February 20, 2014 --- 6:25 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Newly released records show Gov. Scott Walker's campaign partnered with Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis in 2010 to tap wealthy donors who had already given all they could to Walker.

The move detailed in records released Wednesday was designed to bolster a potential Walker-Davis ticket but it fell apart when Davis lost in the primary.

The behind-the-scenes navigating of Wisconsin's campaign finance laws by Walker staffers was revealed as part of a massive, 28,000-page release of documents that were collected during a criminal investigation into one of Walker's aides.

Walker faces re-election this year and is considering a run for president in 2016. He was not charged with any wrongdoing in the investigation that closed last year with convictions against six of his former aides and associates.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 19, 2014

With the upcoming gubernatorial election this brings up questions about how the release of today's documents could impact Walker's re-election chances. NBC 15 sat down with a local political expert to get his take on Walker's chances.

He says at best, this is a pretty significant pot hole for the governor's future, he can probably get around it, but it's going to take some maneuvering.

They say no press is bad press but according to political analyst Kenneth Mayer, "It certainly doesn't help."

Even though there's nothing new about today emails, they've already been in court and were reviewed by investigators years ago, he says it just shines a light on the fact that there was controversy surrounding the governor before he was ever elected.

"It brings to the forefront of public attention all of the things that have happened over the last couple of years," Mayer tells NBC 15, "It's a bump in the road it's a pothole the likely hood is that he will navigate it, I don't see evidence that this could derail his gubernatorial hopes."

But presidential hopes? Maybe. Mayer says a few years ago when everything happened, he was just a county executive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now, Governor Walker is on a national stage rumored to have White House aspirations. Mayer says this story will probably make it to the cover of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

"That may well be the first time that a lot of people who are not political junkies and who are not deeply attentive to politics, this could be the first real story they've heard about him."

Meaning absolutely anything could be a deal breaker.

"When you're running for president and you're trying to establish a national reputation just about anything that interferes can be a problem and we saw that with Chris Christie."

Although Walker has not mentioned a possible run for president, Mayer adds it will be really telling to see how other 2016 Republican Presidential hopefuls react to these emails.

He says if they think there's something big enough here to knock him out as a potential competitor, they will.

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 19, 2014 --- 3:01 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin state appeals court has released 27,000 pages of emails and hundreds of other previously sealed documents collected during a criminal investigation into a former aide to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The documents released Wednesday include emails Kelly Rindfleisch sent while working as Walker's deputy chief of staff when he was Milwaukee County executive in 2010. Rindfleisch was convicted of a felony for doing campaign work on government time for Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis.

Rindfleisch argued the documents should not be made public. Earlier this month, a state appeals court agreed with The Associated Press and other news organizations in saying they should be made public.

Rindfleisch is appealing her conviction, arguing that the scope of the search warrants used against her was too broad.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

Read documents released in the case

kmrindfleisch Gmail Search Warrant Return

Rindfleisch Search Return and Stipulation

Affidavit in Support of Request for Search Warrant – Darlene Wink

Affidavit in Support of Request for Search Warrant – Wis. Stat. 968.375

Affidavit in Support of Enlargement of Scope of John Doe Proceedings and Application for the Issuance of John Doe Subpoenas

Affidavit in Support of Request for Search Warrants – Information and Records Relating to Tim Russell

Affidavit in Support of Petition for Release of “Paragraph 2″ Data

Affidavit in Support of Request for Search Warrants – Wis. Stat. 968.375

Search Warrant for seizing and searching information and records in Milwaukee County Executive suite of offices

Search Warrant for seizing and searing laptop and desktop computers, financial records, cellphone records, and records relating to remote data storage information at the premises occupied by Rindfleisch in Columbus, Wisconsin

Transcript from the hearing on November 1, 2010, on the State’s request for court orders for the foregoing subpoenas and warrants

Exhibit list and exhibits from the hearing on November 1, 2010 (above)

Exhibits from the hearing on November 1, 2010 (above)

Order permitting use and dissemination of John Doe Information and Materials – Kelly Rindfleisch

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UPDATED Thursday, February 13, 2014 --- 9:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Records from a criminal investigation into a former aide of Gov. Scott Walker's to be released next week include 27,000 pages of emails.

A state appeals court judge last week ordered the emails and 434 pages of other documents to be released in the case involving Kelly Rindfleisch. She worked as Walker's deputy chief of staff in his Milwaukee County executive office before he was elected governor in 2010.

Rindfleisch pleaded guilty in 2012 to doing campaign work on government time.

The emails and other documents are to be released on Wednesday. The appeals court said Thursday they will include the 27,000 pages of emails and other documents. Walker said earlier this week he does not know if any emails he sent are included in the release.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 11, 2014 --- 5:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he doesn't know if any of his emails will be included in thousands of messages prosecutors collected from a former Milwaukee County aide that are set to be released next week.

Prosecutors seized the emails from Kelly Rindfleisch, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to doing campaign work at her Milwaukee County government job. She was one of six people convicted following a secret John Doe investigation into Walker's former aides and associates when he served as Milwaukee County executive.

A state appeals court has agreed to release the emails on Feb. 19 at the request of The Associated Press and other media organizations.

Walker said Tuesday he's not sure if any of his emails will be included in the release.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, February 10, 2014 --- 4:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Thousands of emails and other documents uncovered during a secret investigation into a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker will be released Feb. 19.

A state appeals court judge issued an order Monday setting the release date after Kelly Rindfleisch's attorney declined to review the emails to remove private information.

Rindfleisch's attorney Franklyn Gimbel also says he will not ask the Supreme Court to review whether the documents should be publicly released.

Rindfleisch was sentenced in 2012 to six months in jail after pleading guilty to doing campaign work for Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis while working for Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, February 10, 2014 --- 9:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former aide to Gov. Scott Walker will not take any further action to block the release of thousands of documents uncovered during a secret investigation.

Franklyn Gimbel, the attorney for former Kelly Rindfleisch, said Monday that she will not ask the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review a state appeals court ruling last week saying the documents should be released.

Gimbel on Friday also declined the court's offer to review the emails and request that specific documents containing private information be kept secret. Gimbel says there were tens of thousands of documents and going through them all wasn't worth the time or expense.

Rindfleisch was sentenced in 2012 to six months in jail after pleading guilty to doing campaign work while working for Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 4, 2014 --- 6:01 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin appeals court judge has rejected a request from a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker to keep her emails private.

Kelly Rindfleisch had asked the court to keep her correspondence secret while she sought to have her conviction overturned.

Rindfleisch was sentenced in 2012 to six months in jail after pleading guilty to doing campaign work on county time. Rindfleisch worked for Walker while he was the Milwaukee County executive.

Appeals Judge Patricia Curley denied Rindfleisch's request Tuesday but said documents containing private information, such as medical information, could be kept secret.

Rindfleisch has 30 days to request that specific documents remain sealed.

Her defense attorney, Franklyn Gimbel, says the ruling imposes a heavy burden on Rindfleisch. He says he's reviewing whether he can appeal the decision.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, November 19, 2012 --- 3L41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Milwaukee judge has sentenced one of Gov. Scott Walker's former top aides to six months in jail and three years' probation for doing campaign work on the taxpayers' time.

Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of misconduct in office in a deal with prosecutors.

She faced up to three-and-a-half years in prison and $10,000 in fines but prosecutors recommended jail time rather than prison and promised not to seek restitution in exchange for her plea.

Judge David Hansher stayed the sentence pending appeal.

The 44-year-old Rindfleisch served as Walker's deputy chief of staff during his tenure as Milwaukee County executive in 2010.

Prosecutors accused her of working on Republican Brett Davis' lieutenant governor campaign on county time.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Monday, November 19, 2012 --- 7:25 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Milwaukee judge is set to sentence one of Gov. Scott Walker's former top aides for doing campaign work on the taxpayers' time.

Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of misconduct in office in a deal with prosecutors.

She faces up to three-and-a-half years in prison and $10,000 in fines when Judge David Hansher sentences her Monday afternoon. Prosecutors have said they won't seek restitution and will recommend jail time rather than prison, but the ultimate decision will be up to the judge.

The 44-year-old Rindfleisch served as Walker's deputy chief of staff during Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County executive in 2010. Prosecutors accused her of working on Republican Brett Davis' lieutenant governor campaign on county time.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 --- 7:05p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker has lost her bid to have her felony misconduct case moved out of Milwaukee.

Kelly Rindfleisch is charged with four counts alleging she did extensive campaign work in 2010 while working in a taxpayer-paid job for Walker in his last year as Milwaukee County executive.

Rindfleisch claimed her true residence was in Columbus in Columbia County and sought to be tried there instead.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/H9fgSJ ) that Judge David Hansher ruled Friday the alleged crimes happened in Milwaukee County, so she should stand trial there. Her attorney says they'll probably appeal.

Rindfleisch served as policy adviser and later as Walker's deputy chief of staff. She quit shortly after he was elected governor.

Her tentative trial date is Oct. 15.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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