Scott Walker and the New John Doe Emails: “GOPFRAN” aids the coverup of O’Donnell Park tragedy

What follows is part three in a series of guest blogs by Graeme Zielinski, who is reporting on the latest developments in the Milwaukee County John Doe investigation of Scott Walker.

Littered throughout the recent release of emails relating to the John Doe, which show that Scott Walker was the mastermind of a political coverup following the collapse of a county parking structure, which killed a 15-year-old boy in 2010, is Fran McLaughlin.

She was the communications director for Scott Walker and her emails describe a remarkable tale of cynicism and gives the lie to Republican and right-wing radio bullshit about caring about taxpayers.

In the batch of hundreds of emails (just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total Doe records) “GOPFRAN,” as McLaughlin called herself from her personal email, acted as an expediter of the political coverup. The park collapse occurred in the midst of a heated primary between Walker and Mark Neumann, the oddball perennial candidate who is beloved by many in the “blow-up-the-abortion-clinics” base of the Republican Party.

In the batch of Doe emails released last week, I counted more than 30 purely political emails with McLaughlin, who would discuss plans to evade Open Records laws, plot media strategy and keep Walker’s unified political operation apprised of political news.

She would send emails related to Milwaukee County’s response to the O’Donnell Park collapse to R.J. Johnson, a consultant; Keith Gilkes, Walker’s campaign manager; Jim Villa, a longtime Walker crony who crapped out of County work as a total failure, but who was still plugged in to the Republican Party of Wisconsin; Cindy Archer, who Walker took with him to Madison and whose house was raided twice by the FBI; Kelly Rindfleisch, found to have used her county office as a political fundraising shop; and Tim Russell, who currently is behind bars for Scott Walker crimes resulting from the John Doe investigation.

Tom Nardelli, Walker’s chief of staff, is included almost as an afterthought because, it appears from the latest batch of Doe emails that he was not willing to play the kind of ball that GOPFRAN wanted to play.

Walker has said that a “working group” outlined by prosecutors met in the morning and not on county time.

But GOPFRAN’s emails to this unified political team sent emails during regular working hours as they scrambled in that summer of 2010 to spin attention away from Walker’s disastrous administration of Milwaukee County, and toward other diffuse sources.

It’s a disgusting cover-Walker’s-ass display, and she was paid good money to do it.

GOPFRAN eventually was given some kind of transactional immunity in the John Doe, but she has yet to discuss her lengthy- and highly-involved role with Walker’s illegal political campaign activity, all done with Milwaukee County resources.

The epilogue is just as disgusting: Fresh off crimes with Scott Walker, McLaughlin is currently running the crazy over at lunatic Sheriff David Clarke’s shop. Still getting paid by taxpayers to advance a political agenda that has NOTHING to do with the public good, and everything to do with a narrow ideology of power and cravenness.


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4 thoughts on “Scott Walker and the New John Doe Emails: “GOPFRAN” aids the coverup of O’Donnell Park tragedy

  1. Graeme,

    I think you should refrain from implying that people are criminals and referencing crimes that have not been officially adjudicated unless you use qualifying language such as ” in my opinion” or ” it appears to me”, etc. I don’t think it’s either good politics or good ethics.

  2. Steve, I agree that Graeme gets a little too bogged down in leveling shots at GOPs when they distract from the good info being given (while Neumann was backed by certain goofy elements, it’s not a part of the big story here).

    Regardless of the tone, and because he’s not an official DPW politico anymore, Graeme needs to keep it coming. The dots are pretty easy to connect on these things, and the fact that McLaughlin was given immunity for what she did in Milwaukee County sure makes you wonder what info she gave to avoid getting charged.

    The real question is why isn’t Milwaukee’s media also connecting these obvious dots? HMMMMM?

    1. Jake,

      Unless this story has the legs to turn into criminal charges I think it’s a political dead end that will satisfy only hardcore left/Dem politico’s. We need a different message and a new messenger the next time around or we’re sunk. We run the risk of hammering on this right on up to the next defeat in 2014. Just my opinion.

  3. The reason the JS is not covering the emails in detail is that there are several Catholic execs at the communications firm that are protecting Scott Walker’s ass. The reason? Because Walker has every intention of doing everything he can to ban abortions, ban birth control pills and fund (with taxpayer money) all failing Catholic schools. That’s why. Dig into that, why don’t you? And, while you’re at it, why not make folks aware that no Catholic bishop and no Catholic priest in Wisconsin has ANY garbage. Literally. It’s an effing “miracle”…or perhaps something a tad more sinister.

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