Hopefully Republican Gov. Scott Walker will finally start taking some responsibility for his role in the hiring Kelly Rindfleisch and Tim Russell, both of whom have been charged with felonies as a result of the ongoing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County.
New research obtained by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin reveals that Scott Walker alone was responsible for the hire and promotion of Tim Russell and Kelly Rindfleisch, two key figures in the John Doe criminal corruption probe that has, to date, charged six close Walker aides and supporters with 15 felonies, resulted in two convictions and required Scott Walker himself to establish a criminal defense fund.
Personnel records obtained through an Open Records Request from the Milwaukee County Department of Human Resources show that Scott Walker was solely responsible for hiring Kelly Rindfleisch and Tim Russell, and for their subsequent promotions to increasingly trusted, responsible and lucrative positions in the Walker administration. Russell, charged with embezzling charitable contributions intended for wounded veterans and families of fallen military servicemembers and using the money, in part, to finance illegal corporate contributions to Scott Walker’s campaign, is well known as a longtime aide and adviser to Scott Walker who served in a number of roles in the Walker administration, including Deputy Chief of Staff. Scott Walker alone signed off on Russell’s hire with the County – available to view here.
Rindfleisch’s hire to the County Executive’s office, however, has been wrapped in suspicion. In court documents released in the criminal investigation into Rindfleisch’s alleged felony misuse of public office, Walker’s then-Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli stated that he had been unaware of the circumstances of Rindfleisch’s hire to the office he ran. Rindfleisch stated that she was hired to the office to do political work on Walker’s campaign, under the direction and supervision of Tim Russell.
There never really was any doubt in my mind that Scott Walker – and Scott Walker alone – was responsible for hiring Tim Russell and Kelly Rindfleisch, and now we’re seeing proof that it was Walker’s decision to bring both into his County Executive office to serve as part of his “inner circle.”