Scott Walker's John Doe Scandal: Then and Now

Feb 26, 2014

It’s been eight days since the release of 27,000 emails and court documents related to the first John Doe investigation and Wisconsin still has zero real answers from Scott Walker. Since Walker won’t talk or answer the tough questions, we’re revisiting comments he’s made about the investigation in the past and comparing them to what we know now after reading thousands of pages of unsealed documents.

On January 20, 2012, Scott Walker was asked direct questions about new charges brought against two county staffers in the John Doe investigation. As the targets of the probe got closer to Walker’s county executive office, WISN-TV’s Kent Wainscott asked Walker how he couldn’t have known there was a secret router system for campaign work and that staffers were doing campaign work on county time just a few feet from his office. “All of this happening so close to where you were sitting, how could you NOT Know this was going on?”

Walker’s reply referenced Darlene Wink, his former constituent services director found guilty of engaging in campaign work for Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial race while on county time. “When we found out about Darlene Wink it was very clear. Within hours of finding that out we took action. We asked her to resign,” says Walker.

Email records show that Walker called for Wink’s suspension – not her resignation – after Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Bice’s inquiry into her online activity on May 13, 2010. Just hours later Walker suggests keeping Wink involved on “Operation Freedom” in order to “protect the interests” of the county executive’s office. On June 5, almost a full month later, Wink emailed deputy chief of staff Tim Russell about $11,000 missing from the program’s fund referring to Kevin Kavanaugh – a Walker appointee. Wink’s email shows she was still involved with the “Operation Freedom” program in June, directly countering Walker’s statement that Wink was asked to resign hours after her illegal activity was revealed.

If Scott Walker’s office took action to fire Darlene Wink within hours of discovering she violated the terms of county policy, why did Walker call for her suspension? Why was Wink still involved in Operation Freedom almost a full month later? And why did Walker not tell the truth about how his office handled the aftermath of Wink’s illegal activity in his interview with WISN-TV? 

Scott Walker has been misleading the press on exactly what he knew about the details of the John Doe investigation for too long. Wisconsin deserves answers. It’s time for Walker to come clean about his break of the public trust and tell the people of Wisconsin exactly what he knew about illegal campaign coordination and when he first knew it.