- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Records show fundraising tactics of Wis. governor

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Newly released records show that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign partnered with a Republican lieutenant governor candidate in 2010 to tap wealthy donors who had already given all they could to Walker, a move designed to bolster their potential ticket.

The behind-the-scenes navigating of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws by Walker staffers was revealed Wednesday as part of the release of 28,000 pages of documents collected during a criminal investigation into one of the governor’s aides.

Walker, who faces re-election this year and is considering a run for president in 2016, was not charged with any wrongdoing in the investigation that closed last year with convictions against six of his former aides and associates.

Democrats are hoping Walker could be sunk by the investigation, which has shadowed him for years. But it was unsuccessfully used against him in his 2010 run for governor and recall attempts in 2012 - and it hasn’t hurt his fundraising ability. That gubernatorial race broke state spending records at $36 million, and the recall hit $81 million, largely because state laws limiting donations don’t apply until a recall election is officially set. That allowed Walker to collect checks as large as $500,000 from backers.

The newly released records show how Walker’s campaign was working closely with Republican lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis’ campaign to milk all they could out of Walker’s supporters during his first run for governor, in 2010. The plan eventually fell apart because Davis lost in the primary election. Walker at the time was the Milwaukee County executive.

In one February 2010 email with a subject line of “Damn it,” Walker’s deputy chief of staff in his Milwaukee County office demands that Walker’s campaign manager, Keith Gilkes, provide her with a list of people who had maxed out their donations to Walker.

“Where’s my maxed out donor list?” Kelly Rindfleisch wrote. “Do I have to do everything?”

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Sun, mild weather in Midwest offers new headache

CHICAGO (AP) - Blue skies and temperatures above freezing had giddy Chicago residents basking in the rare sunshine after one of the cruelest winters in recent memory. But there were signs - melting snow, growing puddles - that Mother Nature was about to unleash a whole new miserable on the Midwest.

Flooding.

Weeks of subfreezing weather are giving way, at least briefly, to temperatures in the 40s and 50s, putting many Midwestern cities on guard for flooding, roof collapses and clogged storm drains. Some areas expected a double whammy: warm, spring-like air combined with heavy rains that could compound the problem and turn the big melt into a muddy, damaging mess.

A whole new layer of snow and sleet was forecast to accumulate early Thursday, particularly across Wisconsin, northern Illinois and parts of Indiana, before temperatures rise and change the precipitation to rain, according to the National Weather Service. The warmer temperatures may be accompanied by fog and strong winds that could reach 50 miles per hour.

Landscaping companies’ phones were ringing off the hook Wednesday with calls from homeowners seeking crews to scoop snow piles onto dump trucks and haul them away before basements or streets flooded.

“They’re calling me to say, ‘With this rain coming, where is that water and the snow going to go when it melts?’” said Jodey Schmiedekamp of Countryside Industries in suburban Chicago.

Warnings were issued Wednesday that ice and deep snow could clog drainage systems. In Chicago, street crews were racing to clear catch basins of debris and asking residents to do the same.

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Storm coming, Walker declares state of emergency

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency in advance of a winter storm forecast to hit Wisconsin Thursday.

Heavy snowfall, freezing rain and strong winds are expected. Some areas of west-central and northwestern Wisconsin could get more than a foot of snow.

Walker issued his executive order Wednesday. The order will ready Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin National Guard, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

ReadyWisconsin and the Department of Transportation say travelers should consider limiting, delaying or canceling their travel plans Thursday. Travelers also should check road conditions before leaving home by calling 5-1-1 or visiting http://www.511wi.govwww.511wi.gov . Travelers also should carry an emergency winter weather survival kit in their vehicle.

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Woman indicted in Wisconsin newborn’s kidnapping

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Colorado woman was indicted Wednesday on federal charges alleging that she kidnapped her half sister’s newborn from Wisconsin and left him behind an Iowa gas station in freezing weather.

A federal grand jury in Madison, Wis., returned the indictment charging Kristen Smith with kidnapping, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil announced.

The indictment had been expected after the FBI filed a criminal complaint accusing Smith in the Feb. 6 kidnapping of newborn Kayden Powell. Smith, 31, of Aurora, Colo., has been jailed in Iowa since her arrest, which came hours after the baby went missing.

Federal law enforcement officials will transfer Smith to Wisconsin before an initial court appearance scheduled Friday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Madison, said Myra Longfield, a spokeswoman for Vaudreuil.

Investigators say Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit, Wis., home where her half sister, 18-year-old Brianna Marshall, was staying after giving birth on Feb. 1. Marshall woke up to find her newborn and Smith gone in the middle of the night, and called 911.

Police contacted Smith on her cellphone as she was driving through Iowa and directed her to pull over at the nearest gas station for questioning. An officer in West Branch, Iowa, found baby clothes, a stroller and a car seat in Smith’s vehicle - but no sign of Kayden. Smith denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, but was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant from Texas.

Police searched through Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin for the newborn. Authorities say the police chief in West Branch, Iowa, found him 29 hours later behind a gas station about 500 yards from where Smith was arrested. He was wrapped in blankets inside a plastic storage bin.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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