To the Telegram:
Gov. Scott Walker has many claims to fame in his 16 months in office. He along with the Republican-controlled legislature slashed funding to education, weakened laws that protect the wetlands, used $36 million from the federal government that was to go to homeowners to balance a budget that is supposedly “balanced.”
Nine state agencies gave out bonuses or raises to 218 employees to the tune of $765,195. The Milwaukee Journal stated: These bonuses come as the state faces a $143 million shortfall and after state workers took pay cuts through provisions in the collective bargaining law.
Other deeds of the governor and legislature would require several more pages.
One claim to fame for the governor is not widely known. Walker is the only governor in Wisconsin’s history to set up a legal defense fund. Let me give a brief history of the “John Doe” investigation and a legal fund. A John Doe investigation is a secret probe in which authorities can compel witnesses to testify and turn over evidence. This investigation began in May 2010, while Walker was Milwaukee County Executive. Six people who worked with him while he was Milwaukee County Executive have been charged with a total of 15 felonies and three misdemeanors.
Darlene Wink, a former aid, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor political corruption charges in February. Her sentencing has been delayed because she agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in ongoing investigations of other close associates of Walker.
On Feb. 22, four felony misconduct in office charges were filed against Kelly Rindless, his former deputy chief of staff.
Tim Russell, Walker’s deputy of staff and longtime friend, and Kevin Kavanaugh, Walker’s appointment to the Milwaukee County Veterans Service Commission, are charged with stealing more than $63,000 intended for veterans and their families. The money was spent on Caribbean cruises and renewing Walker-for-Governor websites. The pair faces multiple felony charges.
The home of Cindy Archer, a former top-ranking aid to Walker, was raided by the FBI last year.
The John Doe inquiry has broadened its focus to bid-rigging or other misconduct.
Authorities are also investigating a secret email network used during his time as county executive. This secret email system was established to hide activities that directly benefited his career and to evade transparency. The FBI, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and others are involved in the investigation.
Walker has retained criminal defense attorneys who specialize in representing criminal defendants and grand jury targets and owed $55,000 — through Dec. 31 — to two law firms. These attorneys bill at a rate of more than $1,000 per hour. Recently, $60,000 was transferred to the legal defense fund.
Wisconsin statutes allow government officials to seek contributions to defense funds only if they are being investigated or charged with a violation of either campaign finance or other election laws.
The above information is something to consider June 5 when you go to vote.