By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. – Talk about making political hay.
In advance of the court-ordered release of thousands of personal emails of a convicted former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when Walker served as Milwaukee County executive, liberal attack group American Bridge on Wednesday morning giddily announced it was launching a new website on Wisconsin’s not-so-secret John Doe probes.
American Bridge, the Hillary Clinton-attached, super political action committee run by former Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse, rolled out the website as a court lifted the seal on Kelly Rindfleisch’s emails.
The announcement of the website follows American Bridge’s breathless “memo” Tuesday reminding members of the media of the scheduled release of the documents. The group need not have bothered: Every outlet from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to the Washington Post seemed to eagerly anticipate the looming distribution of Rindfleish’s emails.
American Bridge’s website — dubbed JohnDoeWalker.com — drives home the point that the left appears to be doing all in its power to connect the name of Scott Walker to the politically charged John Doe investigations which have, to date, found no evidence of any wrongdoing by Walker, a bona fide threat to the Democrats’ quest to hold the White House in 2016.
“Walker has claimed ignorance of his staff’s corrupt actions, but countless questions remain. American Bridge will be taking a close look at the emails to see if they support Walker’s claims, and sharing our findings on JohnDoeWalker.com today and the days ahead,” Woodhouse writes in an email to the media.
Kelly Rindfleisch served as deputy chief of staff for Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. She was the big political fish the first Democrat-led John Doe probe netted in what conservatives have described as a politically driven fishing expedition to go after Walker, who, at the time, was running for governor. She was sentenced to six months in jail on a misconduct conviction for campaign fundraising at the courthouse using a secret email system, according to the prosecution.
The investigation, launched in May 2010 by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, began under completely unrelated allegations, when Walker’s staff discovered discrepancies in a county fund for veterans. County executive employee Darlene Wink, who first found the shortage, was eventually convicted for campaigning for Walker on government time.
Rindfleisch is appealing that decision. Last week, a Milwaukee County judge ordered the release of all of Rindfleisch’s professional and personal emails.
What American Bridge is loath to note is that the first John Doe did not lead to any charges of wrongdoing against Walker. If Rindfleisch’s emails had noted any involvement by the then-county executive, investigators would have brought charges against Walker before a judge closed down the meandering probe in March 2013.
American Bridge and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin have hammered on the latest John Doe investigation, also launched by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, into dozens of conservative organizations. The presiding judge in that probe has quashed several of the subpoenas and ordered the return of property to targets subjected to pre-dawn raids, arguing the prosecution failed to show evidence of alleged illegal campaign coordination reportedly between the conservative groups and Walker’s campaign during the 2012 recall elections.
A civil rights lawsuit filed last week by one of the targets of the latest John Doe, asserts the first probe, like the current probe, was nothing more than a politically driven “fishing expedition” intent on bringing down Walker for his political successes.
“… (T)he Milwaukee County Attorney’s Office decided to use a John Doe proceeding to investigate the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office as a means of influencing the 2010 election in which Scott Walker was a candidate for Governor,” the lawsuit alleges.
American Bridge’s coordinated effort to drag Walker’s name through the mud of an investigation that has not found the governor guilty of any wrongdoing may, in the minds of conservatives, substantiate their darkest suspicions: That the John Doe investigation is part of a national effort to cut the tongue out of conservative political speech, in the mission of taking down Walker. And the timing couldn’t be better, just as the Republican governor gears up for his re-election run, and less than two years before the thick of the presidential primary season.
Contact M.D. Kittle at firstname.lastname@example.org