ICYMI: What is Scott Walker’s Price for Silence?

Jul 06, 2014

The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that the Walker administration bypassed civil service protections in appointing Cindy Archer, a longtime Scott Walker aide implicated in the first John Doe criminal corruption probe, to her latest six-figure state job.
Archer neither interviewed for, nor was a finalist for, the top IT position at the state public defender’s office, where she is making $113,459 annually — a salary 31 percent higher than her predecessor and 11.7 percent higher than her previous salary.

While serving in Walker’s County administration, Archer was part of a group of high-level campaign and official business insiders — to include Walker himself — who traded emails on a secret email network designed to conceal illegal activity.
Scott Walker has long maintained that he had no knowledge of the illegal activity carried out on his behalf, stating repeatedly that he “expected everyone to follow the law and made that clear publicly and privately.” However, in emails on which Scott Walker was copied, Cindy Archer openly contemplated the obstruction of open records requests from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Walker’s rival in the GOP primary, Mark Neumann.
In a message to a group consisting of Scott Walker, top Walker aides in the county executive’s office, and Walker campaign strategists, Archer suggested that, “While I think we need to be responsive to O’Donnell park requests, we may be responding too quickly with our cost estimates for DPW and Neumann requests regarding SKW. If the group has some guidance on how much of a priority to make these requests, it would be greatly appreciated…”
Archer also suggested to the group that the administration and the campaign coordinate the release of what could potentially be unflattering information to Scott Walker regarding the Milwaukee Behavioral Health Division.
State and federal law enforcement officers previously conducted a raid at Archer’s home in connection with the criminal corruption probe, seizing items that included computer equipment.
This is Archer’s fourth high-paying, and controversial, job with the state. After serving as Walker’s second-in-command at the Department of Administration, Archer was appointed in August 2011 to a position at the Department of Children and Families, at a 65 percent pay increase over her predecessor. [1]

Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that, according to email records obtained through the state’s open records law, several top Walker administration officials were contemplating changes to the state’s century-old civil service rules — potentially paving the way for even more political patronage.
“That someone who openly contemplated criminal activity on Scott Walker’s behalf on an illegal secret email network now has a six-figure job making IT decisions at the state defies all logic and belief,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “This hiring, that bypasses civil service protections, lays bare the kind of blatant political corruption we’re more used to seeing to the south of us in Illinois. Scott Walker is clearly buying the silence of one his longtime cronies and he’s using the taxpayers’ money to do it.”
[1] Scott Walker’s ‘budget repair bill’ allowed several dozen civil service jobs to be filled by political appointment rather than by a competitive hiring process. Some in those positions – notably former top Walker aide Cindy Archer – have received hefty raises under the new system. Archer, for example, made nearly 65 percent more than the previous legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [‘Archer profited when job shifted from civil service to appointment,’ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 09/17/11]