If you missed the big news yesterday you can read it here.
The news was sooooo big that Chris Hayes did his first All In segment on this topic on MSNBC.
Sadly, I'm not able to embed the segment even using MSNBCs old video (it won't even play there), but you can see it here.
In brief, yesterdays revelations were Walkers readily apparent knowledge that his County Executive Office staff were using private email accounts with a hidden router to prevent archiving mandated by Open Records law in order to perform fundraising and campaign work during work time when they should have been doing Milwaukee County business. Also revealed was that Walker himself was using his campaign email account to communicate not just with his campaign staff, but his County Executive staff, as well and that a daily conference call occurred between his County Executive Office staff and campaign staff to coordinate activities, how to react and respond to any problems, and public statements among other things.
And then there were the racist email that were forwarded. Not just racist, but blatant racism. Comparing welfare recipients to dogs and another that described the nightmare of being black, Jewish, gay, and disabled being better than being a Democrat. Just yuck, but these folks just kept forwarding the hate along and adding their own enjoyment of the email contents. You can see the actual emails at those links along with the comments as they were forwarded.
And there's more on the racist emails here.
I have long talked about how political gain is the #1, #2, and #3 consideration for Scott Walker. I've seen it first hand. The emails, however, give real proof to this.
Last year emails revealed how Walker colluded with his staff to keep the death of a young man as quiet as possible before his election as Governor. The teen was killed when a slab of concrete fell on him in a county owned parking garage where several people had been injured by falling concrete previously. They feared that the death might open scrutiny on why needed maintenance wasn't being done on County owned buildings and structures. Their entire concern was about the possibility of damage to the campaign with no concern over the fact that a death had occurred.
This batch of emails tells a similar story about concerns for preventing damage to Walkers political ambition after a series of horrors occurring at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.
Nothing so preoccupied Scott Walker — and those who served him as campaign or county staff aides in 2010 — as a burgeoning crisis at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, a review of thousands of emails gathered as part of a criminal probe shows.Once again, Walkers political ambition trumped the sexual assaults by patients on patients and even the death of a patient at the facility that had been subjected to many budget cuts over the years. There was no concern about the incidents themselves, only to political damage control.
As with other issues, Walker's county staff regularly collaborated with his campaign staff in determining how to respond to issues, including sexual assaults of patients at the complex, security lapses there and controversial remarks by the county's mental health administrator that Walker aides unsuccessfully sought to suppress.
Walker played an active role in how to publicly respond, even when he insisted on staying in the background.
"We need to continue to keep me out of the story as this is a process issue and not a policy matter," Walker wrote on March 27, 2010.
In this exchange, Walker was careful to send the email to personal accounts — not official county email accounts — of his county staffers.(bolding is mine)
His advice was a combination of practical and political.
"We need to be 100% certain that everything is working and that all state and federal regulations are in place," Walker wrote.
He also directed mental health administrators to "keep us in the loop on all issues going on at BHD," referring to the Behavioral Health Division.
And Walker suggested reaching out to Journal Sentinel editorial writers, noting: "The next problem will be editorials and this can nip it in the butt."
Remember how Walker said he knew nothing about the secret router and private email accounts in use by his County Executive staff? Yes? Well, how then did he seem to know all about it when it came to communicating with his staff on political damage control on the incidents at the Mental Health Complex?
There was a rapid exchange of private emails after an insensitive comment was made by the Administrator for the Mental Health Complex and political damage control was again the only thing anyone worried about.
Gilkes, Walker's campaign manager, told Rindfleisch: "We won't be commenting at all." Rindfliesch emailed back that Walker wasn't likely to comment and that "it's not really (Walker's) place" to weigh in on Chianelli's remarks.Yup. Prevent blowback on Walker. Even a lawyer for the County was prodded into action by the head of Walkers campaign in an email to Walkers Deputy Chief of Staff:
An effort through a lawyer hired by the county to handle patient abuse claims might help to discourage further comment by supervisors, Rindfliesch wrote. A Journal Sentinel reporter "doesn't get any traction if he can't get anyone to say anything," she said.
"Just do me a favor and tell him that we are getting the crap kicked out of us by the County Board," Gilkes wrote. "At some point I would like him to stop being a lawyer and think political for a change and let us fight back."This was a lawyer paid for by the taxpayers being utilized by Walkers campaign as if this was all perfectly fine. In another email, a private lawyer who worked for Milwaukee County was used to try to persuade the managing editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to not report on the Administrators remarks.
Walker also turned to his pals in RW radio to speak directly to the public which enabled him to have a friendly "interviewer" who will always ask the "right" questions and provide supportive back up and agreement with whatever is said.
Of course that Administrator was later demoted and then fired - all done quietly after the fact.
Rindfleish happily emailed that there would be no impact on Walkers bid for Governor over the incidents:
Yep," Rindfleisch replied. "No one cares about crazy people."The callous disregard for anything other than political gain is stunning.
I'm sure there's plenty more to come. I'll update as more information becomes available as the nearly 28,000 pages of documents are reviewed.
Already? I just posted this and I've already got an update. Scott Walker is already doing what he does best when bad news comes out: hiding from the press.
Hidden in a blog post (of course! posting this for people to read might make Walker look like the coward he is) is news that Walker WILL NOT take questions on the John Doe while in Washington DC today for an event with the National Governors Association.
His only comments on the Doe was a brief statement yesterday prior to the release of the records.
OMG! Looks like Walkers campaign chief ghost wrote an editorial about the Mental Health Complex using the name of the brand new administrator Walker appointed:
Keith Gilkes, the campaign manager, wrote Walker's staff with a copy of the column, noting, "We switched the order up a bit and warmed up the opening. It is more compassionate in the front end — we left out the $$$ on this version."And even worse the new administrator (hired to replace the one who made an insensitive remark that angered Walker) was told that all her work would be done by the deputy director of the Mental Health Complex so she wouldn't have any work to do! Incredible.
The column promised reforms in response to a series of sexual assaults — including of one woman who became pregnant while she was a patient at the facility. The column appeared in the newspaper on Aug. 28, 2010, under Lyday's name.
The hits just keep coming as the Journal-Sentinel summarizes important points and background information:
From cats to campaigns, political rivalries to petty gossip, documents unsealed Wednesday provide a four-year-old window into the world of Scott Walker and his closest aides.The national media with their extensive coverage on this story is forcing local news to escalate coverage that would normally be unreported or consigned to their online blogs.
It was a crucial moment in their careers.
Walker, then Milwaukee County executive, was in a race for governor.
And his aides sought to deliver that prize even as they navigated the often balky machinery of county government.
Here are some of the take-aways from previously secret emails that bounced among Walker and his self-proclaimed "inner circle."
Walker — who the emails reveal thought "9 out of 10 requests (from reporters) are going to be traps" and ordered his county aides to generate “positive and bold stories” — scrambled Wednesday to dismiss the download of emails and legal documents as “old news.” A particularly defensive governor griped about all the attention to the emails and documents, saying: “These people are naysayers who want things bad to happen in Wisconsin so they are going to be circling again today. It’s exactly what’s wrong with the political process that they’re hoping for something bad to happen in Wisconsin. It’s not.”That's right. When the news is bad, just buy lying TeeVee ads.
At the same time, the Republican Governors Association — which is chaired by Christie — made a six-figure television ad buy in Wisconsin to protect the governor’s position in a 2014 re-election race where polls show him leading but with support levels below 50 percent.
Just a note that I'm experiencing (AGAIN!) internet issues since last night. It's a very, very slow connection that doesn't let me access much unless it's at a crawl. TWC does note that EarthLink is having "issues" when I attempt to call (pre-recorded message), but no information about how soon this will be fixed.