Keith Gilkes resigns as Gov. Walker’s chief of staff

Move along….there’s absolutely nothing to see here!

In the latest sign Gov. Scott Walker is preparing for a recall effort, his chief of staff is leaving the governor’s office to work on his campaign.

Keith Gilkes ran Walker’s campaign last year, helped lead his transition and has served as chief of staff since Walker’s January swearing in. Gilkes will return to his political consulting firm on Oct. 8.

Gilkes disclosed his plans to top Walker aides during a cabinet meeting Friday at a Madison hotel.

Gilkes’ resignation as the John Doe investigation currently underway in Milwaukee County has taken a turn for the interesting, with a law enforcement search of longtime Walker aide Cynthia Archer’s Madison home, as well as the revelation Walker administration spokesperson Cullen Werwie received prosecutorial immunity in the John Doe investigation along with an executive from Wisconsin & Southern Railroad

Gilkes isn’t the first high-level Walker administration official to resign under curious circumstances, as Tom Nardelli, who served as Walker’s chief of staff when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, resigned his high-level position in the Walker administration only days after accepting it, citing “misgivings” about the position as well as “other little things” related to the internal operations of his former state agency as reasons for his departure.

Despite the curious timing of his resignation, Gilkes said his departure was not related to Milwaukee County’s ongoing John Doe investigation.

As my good friend Ed put it, this sounds a lot like a rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic, and quite frankly I’m surprised Keith Gilkes left Scott Walker’s administration before Cullen Werwie.


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8 thoughts on “Keith Gilkes resigns as Gov. Walker’s chief of staff

  1. This may or may not be an issue. It probably will amount to nothing against the Gov. Napoleon. Here is the larger issue:

    The DHS is proposing to cut Badgercare services that could effect hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites. These cuts are brutal.

    From Marge Pitrof:
    “Secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services Dennis Smith Friday released his agency’s plan for reducing Medicaid spending in the state by more than a half-billion dollars. The Legislature and Governor Walker ordered the cuts as a means of helping balance the state budget.

    The department has not yet released an estimate of how many people would lose coverage under its plan, but has stated that no one making less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level would be impacted.

    The changes include: prohibiting people from receiving Medicaid assistance if they have access to an employer-based health plan, requiring young adults to join their parents’ plans rather than BadgerCare Plus and providing services only to Wisconsin residents.

    In order for all those changes to occur, Wisconsin would need waivers from the federal government. “

  2. Zach, excellent post, thanks.

    From WISN: “Gilkes, 34, hinted the timing was linked to promised efforts to recall Walker over his push for sweeping changes that stripped away almost all public union collective bargain rights.

    Read more:

    This JS headline was written by an editor, “Gilkes to leave Walker’s staff to head campaign for expected recall attempt”

    Except for this, “In an interview, he said he would serve as lead adviser to Walker’s campaign, but would also take on other clients for campaign work. He said he would not go into lobbying.” none of the reporting confirms editor’s headline. It reads more like Gov. Walker gave Gilkes one week of notice.

    The fact that Gilkes is “returning to the private sector,” and “would also take on other clients for campaign work,” may imply that Gov. Walker, “can no longer protect his own.” A reasonable take away imho is that as a result of working for him, his staffers have become so “kryptonite” that he can’t “place,” them on wingnut welfare. That makes it a lot tougher for him to hire quality people.

    Another rumor is that Gov. Walker will use the GOP legislature to block the recall. If that’s true, and it certainly sounds like Gov. Walker, Gilkes isn’t going to be getting any money from a recall campaign that doesn’t exist.

    Worth what you paid for it.

  3. Hmmm, another day, another youngster political lifer leaves the Walker nest. Gilkes is either 1. corrupt and being moved out to keep the heat off of Walker (see Cynthia Archer) or 2. Getting out before the thing completely crashes and burns.

    But Gilkes is yet another example how this administration may be OK at the campaigning/ propaganda game, but they aren’t so good at that governing thing. Remember, Gilkes was the guy who ultimately had to sign off on having “David Koch” call the guv back later without checking to see if it was really David Koch.

  4. Another day and another resignation. This is starting to become entertaining. I can’t help wondering whose phone is tapped and who is wearing a wire. In those fleeting nano-seconds of self-doubt Fearless Leader may be contemplating the same thing, along with:

    How can God be letting this happen to me? What happened to the damned prayer shield? Was God really speaking to me or am I just nuts? Will people ever find out that I cheated on my Eagle Scout merit badges, that I didn’t really help an old lady to cross the street, but pushed her under a truck instead? The blood…the rich red blood…Paul Ryan is the only one I can talk to about this…only he understands.

    Pay to play is the name of the game in the Walker administration. Gilkes, as Chief of Staff, would know which lobbyists met with Walker –off the record– and when they did so. As Walker’s campaign consultant he would also have worked with Walker staffers while they were on the public dime. If Gilkes hasn’t received a subpoena already I’m sure he’s expecting one.

    It’s an excellent time to escape from the bunker. Be sure to take along hard copies of information that you can trade with the D.A. and lawyer-up boy!

  5. All that or Walker’s looking to the future. In it he sees a recall. Gilkes would be his point man in recall defense but cannot do so as Walker’s chief of staff. Walker already has enough problems with his staff ‘doing campaign work” on state time. So Gilke needs to be out in front of this and not as state staff.

    I think Walker’s feeling some heat. Or maybe it’s another b.s. smokescreen to punt one his “job creation bills” (withawholebuncha’otherstuffinit) through the goal posts.

    Yeah, I know. Call me cynical, paranoid, whatever….

  6. What’s ironic to me is that for all their talk about how corrupt Gov. Jim Doyle was, this John Doe investigation has gotten closer to Scott Walker than any investigation of Jim Doyle’s administration ever did.

  7. This all feels to me like the “local yokels” are getting the heave-ho so that Scooter can bring in the national guns. If we thought Kloppenburg/Prosser or Pasch/Darling was ugly, we were shockingly naive.

    WI is the national stage for the corporate coup. Scooter, like Ohio’s Kasich and NJ’s Christie, are nothing more than grunts. But if they fall…

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