One Wisconsin Now Blog

February 2012 Archives

A concerned citizen contacted us recently over concerns that state Republican Sen. Joseph Leibham was not being completely forthcoming about his involvement in the GOP "secrecy pledge" to keep the public from knowing the truth about their partisan redistricting scheme.

Concerned Citizen emailed Sen. Leibham's office to ask whether or not Sen. Leibham signed the secrecy pledge; here's Sen. Leibham's reply:

Looks like he pivoted right to some talking points and a plug for his website after the initial denial.

And just to be clear - if you think Sen. Leibham isn't - he most certainly signed what everyone is either calling "pledges of secrecy" or "secrecy deals". Here's a copy of Joe Leibham's John Hancock he put on the secrecy pledge:

Thanks to the concerned citizen for bringing this to our attention. 

The signers of this secrecy pledge assaulted democracy and open government, putting their own political interests before our right to fair elections.

 

They promised, in writing, to sit down and shut up while Republican legislative leaders tried to take away our rights and carve up the state to protect their political power grab.

 

Kelly Rindfleisch, who is accused of campaigning on county time, worked for Brett Davis' unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor. The complaint says she left the campaign in July 2010 because she didn't work well with Dan Morse, who was brought on to do fundraising work the previous month...

But a check of Davis' campaign records shows no payments to Morse for this work...

Mike Browne, head of the liberal One Wisconsin Now, said it looks like Walker was picking up Morse's tab for both campaigns without disclosing it. Browne pointed to emails in Rindfleisch's criminal complaint in which she told a Walker staffer that she had terminated her fundraising contract with Davis because Morse was brought on and was now "in charge."

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

GOP lawmakers pledged secrecy over redistricting

As legislative leaders secretly developed new election maps last year to strengthen their majority, Republican lawmakers were told to ignore public comments and instead focus on what was said in private strategy sessions, according to a GOP memo that became public Monday.

Other newly released documents also show almost all Republican lawmakers signed legal agreements promising not to discuss the new maps while they were being developed.

...

"Public comments on this map may be different than what you hear in this room. Ignore the public comments," the talking points also say.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

We've thought all along that what Scott Walker described as a "voluntary" talk he planned to have with Milwaukee DA John Chisholm wasn't Walker's idea, but Chisholm's.  That's confirmed now.

Read more at Uppity Wisconsin

TO: Interesteds
FR: One Wisconsin Now
RE: Gov. Walker must ask for resignations of Werwie and Davis

According to none other than Gov. Scott Walker, any person he found illegally campaigning when he was Milwaukee County Executive would be asked to resign.

Yet as of today, two high-ranking members of Gov. Walker’s administration – spokesperson Cullen Werwie and state Medicaid Director Brett Davis – continue their state employment. This despite the significant evidence that they knew of, coordinated with and benefitted from the secret campaign operation allegedly run in the Milwaukee County Executive’s Office.

The long-ago resignation of constituent relations employee Darlene Wink for campaigning on county time provides no defense for Walker allowing Davis and Werwie to continue to collect state paychecks.

Surely, Gov. Walker has read himself, or at least been briefed on, the 50-plus page criminal complaint against his former Deputy Chief of Staff and campaign fundraiser Kelly Rindfleisch.

Surely he is aware of the evidence presented that Rindfleisch, Werwie as Davis’ Lieutenant Governor campaign’s manager and Davis himself as the candidate were in frequent contact with each other regarding his campaign.

In fact, the criminal complaint reveals that while Rindfleisch was employed by Milwaukee County and retained by the Davis campaign, she exchanged emails with Davis at least 300 times. In total, she sent or received nearly 1,400 e-mails related to campaign fundraising during regular business hours.

Davis and Werwie directed and supervised the activities of their contract campaign fundraiser Rindfleisch. They were fully aware of her position as an employee of Milwaukee County, and yet did nothing to discourage or stop her alleged illegal activities. Their actions, regardless of whether they are prosecuted, do not demonstrate the type of character one would want in top administration posts.

If Gov. Walker continues to fail to abide by his own policy by not asking for the immediate resignations of Davis and Werwie it, sadly, seems to confirm that he remains more concerned about getting caught illegally campaigning than getting to the bottom of serious allegations of abuse of the public trust and treasury.

Perhaps even more ominous is the appearance, if not the reality, that the continued public employment of individuals interviewed by prosecutors and alleged to be intimately involved in the criminal activities under investigation amounts to the payment of hush money.

As an elected official entrusted with the legal operation of his office and responsibility for the actions of his employees, the buck stops with Scott Walker.

To maintain any credibility in the face of this deepening scandal and mounting questions about his involvement, Gov. Walker must act consistent with his stated ethics policy.

Gov. Walker must see to it that Davis and Werwie’s state employment ends now.