- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Nearly 16,000 emails were released Tuesday that had been collected during the first secret investigation into former aides and associates of Gov. Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. Here are a few things to know about the latest document dump in the long-running John Doe case:



This was the third release of emails and documents collected during the investigation that a judge ruled in May must be made public. The first batch was released in August, followed by a second round in September. The latest document dump, nearly 16,000 emails amounting to more than 1 gigabyte of data, includes emails related to government business that were on both personal and work computers of Walker and others in his county office. Messages came from Walker’s then-chief of staff Tom Nardelli, spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin, and deputy chiefs of staff Tim Russell and Kelly Rindfleisch, and others. Both Russell and Rindfleisch were among the six Walker associates and aides convicted as part of the probe. Rindfleisch pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in office for doing campaign work on county time while Russell was convicted of stealing more than $20,000 from a nonprofit group Walker appointed him to lead.



The emails shed more light on how those running Walker’s 2010 campaign for governor worked closely with those in his county office on strategy and responding to media requests. In one Sept. 30, 2010, exchange, in which a reporter is asking for details about how much of his salary and benefits Walker had returned to the county, his campaign manager Keith Gilkes tells Walker’s county spokeswoman: “Do Not Send ANYTHING until Scott specifically oks it.” In a March 16, 2010, email to Russell, Walker discusses keeping county salaries down with the election seven months away “and the press is already in silly season. I bounced it past the dark side and they agree. Any hires I make will be under a microscope and we don’t need a story about a pay raise - for anyone. I am sorry and I know it stinks but there will be time to talk about improvements after Nov 3rd.”



Before the emails even came out, Walker and Republicans questioned the timing given that it’s just two weeks before the election where he faces Democrat Mary Burke. They also pointed to $63,000 in donations that Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, his wife and his campaign had made to Burke. But Abele had nothing to do with when the records were released, said Paul Bargren, the attorney for Milwaukee County who oversaw release of the documents. Bargren said the emails are released as soon as his team of attorneys finishes their reviews. Wisconsin Republican Party director Joe Fadness dismissed Bargren as a “political hack” who was orchestrating the release of the documents close to the election to benefit Burke.



No. Bargren said to date more than half of the material the judge ordered released has been made public, but he didn’t know when the rest would come or how many separate releases there would be before it is all out.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

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