- 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.

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