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.


Related Articles

19 thoughts on “UPDATED: Walker aides conspired to engage in illegal vote caging?

    1. I can’t find it now, but if I recall correctly, Bice had an article about really serious disagreements in the D.A.’s office about whether to charge Walker.

      It will be interesting to see if the statute of limitations comes into play. As long as the U.S. Attorney didn’t know what the Milwaukee County D.A. knew, they may be able to prosecute.

      These are just the emails from the John Doe. AFAIK, the JS wants all the emails released.

  1. As I understand it, “caging” is using voter registration rolls, public record, to send postcards into heavy Dem districts. When a post card gets returned, undeliverable, they know that person no longer lives at that address.

    Sounds like they didn’t catch any voter fraud.

  2. Walker wasn’t charged because our lovely and talented state attorney general, J. B. Van Hollen, is also a Republican. Do you notice that Van Hollen isn’t running for re-election? Even he knows the jig is up!

  3. Walker wasn’t charged because he is “too big to fail”. He and his top aides are above the law; just as the Republican politicians in the re-districting scandal that destroyed evidence on computer hard drives, ordinary rules of law that apply in 49 other states, DO NOT apply to Scott Walker & his Republican henchmen in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is open for CORRUPTION, not for business.

    Walker and every top Republican official in Wisconsin are ABOVE THE LAW. They are above the scrutiny of the Federal Government as well. There is nothing that you, I, or anyone else is going to do to change that. Anyone who wants clean government needs to relocate to some other state than Wisconsin.

  4. You mean Walker was doing the reverse of ACORN. Walker deserves an award. You got a Democrat DA that looked into all this and did not touch Walker. You better go pick another issue. They just toppled 30 Lenin statutes and US Senate is flipping to GOP. That would be the end of Obama.

    1. Snooty,

      There’s a difference between “probable cause,” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      If you think stealing from veterans is ok, you’re not a “righty.” Do you want Tim Russell…. out of prison? Are you against “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime?”

      Maybe D.A. Chisholm expected Rindfleisch or Russell, or someone else to flip on Walker? By the time Mr. Chisholm figured out they wouldn’t, he set up other John Doe’s with bi-partisan support to look into stuff he had not had the time/resources to pursue. Does that explanation work better for you?

  5. This has to be one of the dumbest conclusions yet reached by you crazy lefties.

    It’s a shame that nobody seems to have even bothered going to the link provided in the article to look at the variety of things ‘caging’ refers to inside of a campaign. If someone had, they would find this:

    “Caging is a generic term that describes the sorting of returned direct-mail pieces sometimes to process contributions, and sometimes to weed out unprofitable addresses.”

    Inside Republican circles ‘caging’ operations are quite plainly the process of handling campaign contributions. That is a top priority particularly in late October as checks are flying in and money needs to be turned around for TV buys, etc.

    It is quite evident that their call for ‘detail oriented’ volunteers ‘with laptops’ involved handling the tidal wave of late money coming into the campaign. In fact by late October, a voter caging operation wouldn’t even be practical for a November election.

    1. Fred, if you’re right then why isn’t Walker and his staff saying that?

      Fred, any ideas when the GOP donors will start using credit and debit cards for donations, as opposed to checks?

      1. Agreed, while there are two definitions of caging, Walker’s team would simply have stated which applied if they were in the clear. Notice they never say they were clean, they simply state, “nothing new here”. The question is why are Republicans OK with corrupt leadership? Do they loathe themselves that much?

    2. Fred, it’s all about context.

      There 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.

      Nice try though.

  6. I don’t know that encouraging GOP donors to use credit cards makes much of a difference. Credit card deposits have to be reconciled and donation limits have to be checked. Going to electronic transactions doesn’t eliminate bookkeeping and campaign finance compliance issues. Also, the banks get a percentage of every donation and that adds up.

    For Emma and Zach: Nobody in the Walker camp has to set the record straight on caging. If there was a trail that led to a smoking gun, there would have been an indictment.

    While the governor has a lot of people on his team, I don’t believe it would be possible to hire enough staff to answer the flurry of empty charges and bizarre allegations dreamt up by his opponents.

    Just because you guys can imagine it, doesn’t make it true or even plausible.

    1. Fred, President Obama and his DOJ appreciate your support.

      The economy since 2008 has been a smoking gun, and no Wall Street CEO has even been indicted.

      Going to electronic transactions automates book keeping which is why everyone does it. Your excuse-generator needs a tune-up.

      Walker’s bad for the Republican party. The laws against marijuana are a text book example of job-killing-government-regulations,” and the nanny state. There’s no excuse for Republicans or conservatives not to be leading the charge to legalize it. That doesn’t mean we endorse people using it, but it’s a responsible way to lower the costs of state and local government.

      If Gov. Walker wasn’t paralyzed by the news coverage he’s getting, he’d understand that pot legalization is one of the few headlines he can grab, that won’t include “John Doe” questions.

  7. 1. I see that the progressive has now updated their post, recognizing that when ready fully these emails are not about voter caging, but the process of caging donations, i.e. processing, coding and entering the data.

    2. I don’t know what the point is of this whole discussion of checks vs credit card donations. I assume they take both methods. The fact is different donors prefer to give different ways. I don’t know of any campaign, dem or republican, that doesn’t take a significant amount of checks for donations. Just check with Mike Tate and his crew to confirm that.

    1. Leo, here’s the update you’re referencing.


      Please explain to me if you have software to process checks, why you still call the reconciliation process “caging.”

      I get that Walker got some high powered lawyer this week to threaten the Progressive. I don’t get why four years ago Gilkes called processing donations “caging.” Can you explain that?

      Gilkes is asking them to come in on Saturday. Thanks to unions, that’s not part of the work-week. If what Walker’s claiming is accurate, why hide it on the secret router? Why not use normal communication channels?

  8. Why call the process “caging”? Because that’s the term that describes the process. In fact I suspect that the origins of that use of caging predate voter caging and that the phrase “voter caging” may have come out of the earlier usage. See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caging_(direct_mail) for why they would use that phrase. I don’t think any Walker lawyer told the Progressive to update their post. The Progressive doesn’t cave all that easily.

    Why not use normal communications channels? Well it does seem that the email was initiated during the work weeks during which the at least some of the correspondents should have been doing the public’s work. Furthermore, I haven’t read enough to know how the subpoena would have very easily distinguished which emails went through the secret wireless net work. What was likely being captured was a huge part of what was generally sent through personal email addresses.

  9. Okay, so under the most benign of interpretations, let’s say the Walker staff’s discussion of “caging” doesn’t refer to vote suppression tactics but merely to recording donor contributions after hours. But even then, you have campaign operative Keith Gilkes (early on a Thursday afternoon) and campaign operative/Walker deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch writing to other staffers asking them to attend a weekend campaign session. Sure, SHE got nailed for using public resources toward this kind of activity. The rest? Well, perhaps not all of them. Bottom line: They were talking about campaign activity, whether it involved caging voters or caging donations.

    1. Milwaukee man, right on!

      It’s the cover-up and denial that is “the last nail in the coffin” that seals their fate.

      More importantly, it reveals the character and morality of SKW who allowed others to take the fall for his benign approval of blatant campaign illegalities.

Comments are closed.