In unprecedented move, Justice Michael Gableman asks for reconsideration of Kelly Rindfleisch appeal

In an unprecedented move, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman has asked his colleagues to reconsider their 6-0 decision not to hear an appeal in the conviction of Kelly Rindfleisch, a former close aide to Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milwaukee County Executive.

A Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is asking his colleagues to reconsider their decision not to hear an appeal from a former aide to Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

Justice Michael Gableman on Thursday filed his request to the other six justices in the case of Kelly Rindfleisch. The request was dated Wednesday and sent both to the justices and attorneys in the case.

Gableman’s brief filing didn’t list a reason for his request and he did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press.

You may remember Kelly Rindfleisch was convicted of Misconduct in Public Office in 2012 after an investigation revealed she was engaging in political work on behalf of then-Lieutenant Governor candidate Brett Davis while working on taxpayer time for Milwaukee County. Notably, evidence showed Rindfleisch engaged in copious amounts of illegal activity during her time as one of Scott Walker’s closest aides, which given the fact that she had knowledge of the infamous caucus scandal, resulting in Rindfleisch being ordered to testify in exchange for not being prosecuted as part of the caucus scandal, which involved widespread illegal campaign activities on state time among legislative staffers.

Justice Gableman’s unprecedented request to have the Wisconsin Supreme Court revisit their decision not to hear the appeal of Kelly Rindfleisch seems to me to be yet another example of the lengths conservatives in Wisconsin are willing to go to in order to protect one of their own. It’s clear to any reasonable, rational person that Rindfleisch was guilty as hell of the crime she was convicted of, but I suppose her conviction is nothing but an albatross around Gov. Scott Walker’s neck as he prepares to run for president, so it makes sense that conservatives would work to overturn her conviction.

Scott Walker makes it clear how little he cares about the mentally ill

This is absolutely disgusting.

Gov. Scott Walker missed the deadline Monday to name all members to a new board to oversee mental health care in Milwaukee County.

Walker named seven of his 11 appointments but needs more information before he can name the other four, according to Laurel Patrick, his spokeswoman.

It’s worth noting Gov. Walker has had months to make his selections to these very important positions, but apparently he’s been really really busy:

Absolutely no one should be surprised that Gov. Walker failed to name all members to the new board to oversee mental health care in Milwaukee County, given the general lack of regard Walker demonstrated for the mentally ill during his time as County Executive, not to mention the disdain towards the mentally ill demonstrated by his closest aides, one of whom (Kelly Rindfleisch) once referred to county mental health facilities as “the loony bin” and also claimed “no one cares about crazy people.”

Sister says convicted ex-Walker aide’s life is ruined

Cry me a river…

The sister of Kelly Rindfleisch, the former deputy chief of staff for Scott Walker, has launched an attack on Milwaukee County prosecutors, accusing them of ruining Rindfleisch’s life with their John Doe investigation.

In a letter to the editor of the Baraboo News Republic, Anne Hollinsed said her sister can’t get a job because of the probe. Sources have said Rindfleisch is now the subject of a second investigation.

“Kelly’s life has been ruined by the hatred of Scott Walker in this state,” Hollinsed wrote in the Friday letter. “She can’t find employment because of the overreaching single felony conviction she received by a Democratic judge.”

She concluded: “The overreach in this case is alarming and downright scary when a government worker can be convicted of something so miniscule to satisfy the agenda of those who’ve made political warfare their top priority.” 

Two things stand out about this:

  1. First of all, Kelly Rindfleisch plead guilty to the crimes she was accused of, so it’s not as if she was “railroaded” on patently false allegations. In my experience, truly innocent people (especially those who can afford high-priced lawyers like Franklin Gimbel) don’t plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.
  2. It’s also important to keep in mind that the only person to blame for Kelly Rindfleisch’s conviction is Kelly Rindfleisch. Rindfleisch absolutely knew that engaging in campaign-related work while on the clock at a taxpayer-funded job was illegal, given her role in the caucus scandal, and blaming anyone else for her current predicament is simply an attempt to divert blame away from the guilty party.

UPDATED: Walker aides conspired to engage in illegal vote caging?

Update #2: As noted in the comments section, the “caging” in question may have referred to other campaign-related activities, and the following Editor’s Note has appeared on the original entry at The Progressive.

Upon further research, the emails referenced in this story appear to relate to the use of software called “Complete Campaigns,” which is a “back office” program for processing campaign donations, and not a voter “caging” scheme. The Progressive regrets this error.

Well this seems pretty blatant…

Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker’s top aides engaging in an illegal scheme to “cage” Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.

On page 15,037 of WalkerDocs 1, an email exchange between Walker staffers Kelly Rindfleisch and Nicole Simmons spells it out pretty plainly.

“If you come this Saturday I can show you how to cage,” Simmons writes. “That will be priority on the weekend.”

Another email, on page 1,321 of WalkerDocs 2, shows Walker’s chief of staff Keith Gilkes ordering Rindfleisch, Fran McLaughlin and Dorothy Moore to bring friends who can help with the caging effort. Here’s a screenshot.

“We need cagers for this Saturday, we will have plenty to get caught up on,” he wrote in an email sent Oct. 21, 2010. “Please bring friends that are detail oriented and can put in some solid hours.”

UPDATE:To put these emails in their proper context, keep in mind that there absoluvely was a concerted effort here in Wisconsin on the part of conservative groups to engage in illegal vote caging prior to the 2010 election, as I wrote about HERE and HERE.

UPDATED: Did Scott Walker know about secret computer network in his County Exec office? You bet he did!

It’s getting harder and harder to believe Scott Walker had absolutely no knowledge that multiple members of his County Executive staff were engaged in illegal political activities on taxpayer time while sitting less than 25 feet from Walker.

After all, here’s what Cindy Archer, formerly a top aide to Scott Walker, wrote of the private email account she used “quite a bit to communicate with SKW [Walker] and Nardelli.”

Walker knew

It stretches credulity to believe that Cindy Archer used her private email account “quite a bit” to communicate with Scott Walker (ostensibly during work hours) and yet Scott Walker had absolutely no knowledge that Archer was accessing an “off the books” network set up to avoid the scrutiny of Wisconsin’s open records laws.

UPDATE: Here’s another email sent mid-day by Fran McLaughlin, another close Walker aide, to Scott Walker, Tom Nardelli, and Keith Gilkes and RJ Johnson from Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

Walker definitely knew

And just in case you were wondering, the “CE” mentioned at the bottom of McLaughlin’s email stands for “County Executive,” as in Scott K. Walker.

UPDATE: Why are so many of Scott Walker’s aides fond of racist “jokes?”

In December 2013, Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s reelection campaign announced it had fired deputy finance director Taylor Palmisano after it was revealed Palmisano had made a number of racist comments on Twitter prior to being employed with Walker’s campaign.

In case you’ve been stuck under a rock today, over 27,000 pages of documents compiled during the first John Doe investigation and then used to prosecute of close Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch were made public in their entirety, and there’s some very very interesting stuff in those documents.

For instance, earlier today, The Progressive noted a highly racist email forwarded by former Walker Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli to undisclosed recipients, and I’ve been made aware of an email sent to Kelly Rindfleisch by paralegal Kelly Teelin, who works in the Madison office of law firm Michael Best & Friedrich. Here’s the text of the email sent to Kelly Rindfleisch by Kelly Teelin, which included the note, “This is good!” from Kelly Teelin:

This morning I went to sign my Dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said, “Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare”.
So I explained to her that my Dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who the r Daddys are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care, and feel guilty because they are dogs.
So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify.
My Dogs get their first checks Friday.

After receiving the email, Kelly Rindfleisch responded to Teelin, adding “That is hilarious. And so true.”

Here’s the email itself, for your review.

Racist E-mail From Michael Best paralegal to Walker Aide

I’ve long believed you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and in Scott Walker’s case that certainly isn’t saying much.

UPDATE: In my haste to post the original entry, I overlooked another racist email sent by former Walker Chief of Staff Tom Nardelli, as first reported by The Progressive.

On pages 8,921 and 8,922 of WalkerDocs 2, we find Walker’s county chief of staff Thomas Nardelli passing along a racist email smearing Muslims. It is titled, “Tolerance.” Nardelli comments, “After the candidate forum, this will put a smile on your face for certain!”

I am perplexed that so many are against a mosque being built near Ground Zero. I think it should be the goal of every American to be tolerant. The mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.

That is why I also propose, that two gay nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque thereby promoting tolerance within the mosque. We could call the clubs “The Turban Cowboy” and “You Mecca Me So Hot”.

Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork and have an open barbeque with spare ribs as its daily special. Across the street a very daring lingerie store called “Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret” with sexy
mannequins in the window modeling the goods.

Next door to the lingerie shop, there would be room for an Adult Toy Shop (Koranal Knowledge?), its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store, maybe call it “Morehammered”

Governor Scott Walker and John Doe I

An interesting thing happened on the way from John Doe I to John Doe II. Conservative bloggers and Governor Walker apologists continue to state that John Doe I exonerated the governor! HUH?

Exonerate generally means to free someone from blame or fault or that someone convicted of a crime is proven to be innocent. I don’t remember any statements coming out of the first John Doe positively stating that Governor Walker was free of blame or was wrongly accused of anything…when he simply WASN’T accused of anything. So he wasn’t exonerated…the John Doe may have found nothing that was prosecutable or nothing untoward on the governor’s part…but he wasn’t exonerated…that’s not usually a function of a secret John Doe investigation.

from the media:

Milwaukee County prosecutors closed the first John Doe probe without bringing charges against anyone in Walker’s current administration

btw: the release of Ms. Rindfleisch’s emails should prove interesting.

Scott Walker’s deputy chief of staff: “Good coordination will help”

Thanks to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we now have a copy of the presentation given by Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf at the felony sentencing hearing of Kelly Rindfleisch, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.

I’m particularly fond of page 35 of Landgraf’s presentation, which highlights an email exchange between Rindfleisch and Milwaukee County employees Tom Nardelli (Walker’s Chief of Staff), Fran McLaughlin (Walker’s Director of Communications), Cyndi Archer (Walker’s director of administrative services), Tim Russell (Walker’s Deputy Chief of Staff), and Jonathan Myhre (Walker’s Deputy Director of Communications). Also included in the email exchange arranging daily conference calls between Walker’s County Executive staff and his gubernatorial campaign were RJ Johnson, Keith Gilkes, and Jill Bader from Walker’s gubernatorial campaign.

Page 42 of Landgraf’s presentation is also fascinating, as it details an email exchange between Scott Walker (using his gubernatorial campaign email account), Walker gubernatorial campaign staffers/consultants Keith Gilkes, RJ Johnson, and Jill Bader, with Fran McLauglin, Tom Nardelli, and Kelly Rindfleisch from Walker’s County Executive staff included on the email exchange. The email exchange in question pertains to specific wording for a press release issue by Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. Here’s a screenshot:

And just in case any of you reading this were thinking, “yeah, but maybe these folks didn’t realize what they were doing was illegal,” take a look at page 63 of Landgraf’s presentation, in which Kelly Rindfleisch makes it clear that a records request must be done “covertly so it’s not tied to Scott [Walker], the county or the campaign in any way.”

The fact that Scott Walker is directly included in email exchanges between his gubernatorial campaign staff and his County Executive staff (through his email address) seems to undermine Walker’s repeated assertions that he had no knowledge of illegal political work/coordination being done on county time by his County Executive staff.

Perhaps no other governor in our state’s 164 year history has been so intimately connected to so many individuals who have been convicted of engaging in illegal political activity that directly benefited said governor either before or during his time as governor.

Former Walker aide/gubernatorial campaign employee sentenced for felony conviction

For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the third person closely associated with Republican Gov. Scott Walker to be convicted of criminal behavior for violating Wisconsin’s campaign finance/misconduct in public office laws.

A Milwaukee judge sentenced one of Gov. Scott Walker’s former top aides to six months in jail and three years of probation Monday for doing campaign work on the taxpayers’ time.

Prosecutors accused 44-year-old Kelly Rindfleisch of working on Republican Brett Davis’ campaign for lieutenant governor in 2010 on county time while she served as Walker’s deputy chief of staff during his tenure as Milwaukee County executive.

She 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 probation with jail time and promised to not seek restitution in exchange for her plea.

Earlier this morning I noted the FCC complaint filed against WTMJ and WISN alleging those stations gave supporters of Gov. Walker an estimated $1 million in free airtime, while refusing any access to supporters of the other side in violation of federal law, and I can’t help but wonder what kind of outrage we’d be hearing from Charlie Sykes, Mark Belling and their ilk if Wisconsin’s governor was still Democrat Jim Doyle and the person convicted was a former aide

Kelly Rindfleisch Intends to Renege on Plea Bargain

Kelly Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to one count of doing campaign work while working from her county office as an aide for then County Executive Walker. Within twenty four hours her attorney is making noises about appealing the ‘conviction’ and applying her 2002 immunity deal to her 2010 activities. The original Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article can be found here and Capper’s Cognitive Dissidence article here.

Now, why would you cop a plea if you thought you had any legal recourse in a court of law? Isn’t the point of a plea bargain to minimize your punishment and get on with your life for something that is indefensible or where the evidence is overwhelming and you stand not a chance? If you think you can win on appeal, why wouldn’t you roll the dice in court and then appeal when you lose? Or on appeal, is the only crime reviewable the one where you admitted guilt? It seems to me that pleading guilty should pretty much preclude the ability to appeal.

“It’s the court’s view that (appeal) right would be extinguished” by her guilty plea, (Circuit Judge David) Hansher said in court Thursday.

Or can Ms. Rindfleisch’s attorney go court hunting for a more favorable appellate jurisdiction under the recent GOP legislation out of Madison?

On to the by now infamous immunity deal from 2002. Ms. Rindfleisch was essentially given immunity to testify about state legislators and their aides who were doing campaign work while at their state jobs. So she has a clear understanding of what is and what is not permissible under state law.

Which explains why nearly everyone is totally flabbergasted by the stance that the 2002 agreement should be applied forward to the more recent crimes. Even the judge was taken aback enough to discuss it in open court:

Hansher also said he was surprised to see (lawyer Franklyn) Gimbel bring up the immunity issue as a permissible basis of appealing a voluntary guilty plea when he read it in a Journal Sentinel article on the case that broke on JSOnline late Wednesday. The judge said he consulted with several other judges on the point and they agreed with his interpretation

Obviously there have been a number of media articles about this case since it seems to be taking forever to resolve. But I have never seen a comment on any site that suggested that the immunity deal should be applied to the new more recent accusations. I don’t think anyone but Ms. Rindfleisch or Mr. Gimbel would even consider saying it out loud!

And quite frankly, my suggestion, in the wake of a repeated offense of an almost identical nature, would be to rescind the initial immunity deal and charge her with whatever crimes were alleged at the time. To me, it’s not that unlike violating parole.

We’ll see how this plays out. The plea bargain keeps Governor Walker off the stand for the time being. Ms. Rindfleisch will be sentenced November 19th. So this little legal soap opera will continue to be appealed in the media. Isn’t there something in the Constitution about the right to a swift trial? In this case it would certainly help prevent the public’s continued aggravation.