Last week, Cynthia Archer became the third high-level Walker aide to have a computer seized in an ongoing John Doe investigation of political corruption. If you count Tom Nardelli, she is the fourth Walker ally and appointee with ties to the investigation. As has been the case from the beginning, she joins the long list of people who claim to “know nothing,” – including Scott Walker. Someone knows something, and they are talking as the John Doe investigation rolls on. It may be weeks (or months) before all the details are known; but the information available already connects key players with a commonality of purpose. That purpose is shared by Governor Scott Walker himself, and could likely bring the investigation directly to the Governor’s Office. Darlene Wink was just the tip of the iceberg, as her emails likely led investigators to the major players in the investigation. All of whom share Scott Walker’s passion for privatization and de-regulation – first for Milwaukee County, then for the State of Wisconsin.
Tim Russell - Russell’s computer was seized at the end of August, 2010. Russell was the Milwaukee County Housing Administrator, whose employment with the County ended amongst a swirl of accusations of cronyism and political favoritism. More importantly, he had been Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee Campaign Manager, and Walker Assistant Chief of Staff – behind Nardelli. Russell had been with Walker since his 2002 County Executive campaign, Treasurer for the Milwaukee County GOP, and a fierce advocate of Walker – Specifically, his privatization and consolidation of Milwaukee County Government.
Tom Nardelli – After serving as Walker’s Chief of Staff as Milwaukee County Executive, the former Aldermen received a generous position as the Administrator of the State Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services – under the re-organized Department of Commerce. Even upon Nardelli’s departure, questions arose over whether the Walker Milwaukee County Administration had properly preserved records as required by law. While in the Walker Milwaukee County Administration, Nardelli was a staunch advocate of the Greater Milwaukee Committee/Smart Government. Inc. proposal to privatize Milwaukee County Government. A view which Walker promoted and embraced while County Executive. Nardelli has also “lawyered up,” claiming no knowledge of impropriety. Nardelli abruptly resigned his post earlier this year. Under the new Administrative Rules Laws, Nardelli would have had significant impact on relaxing regulations for Builder’s Associations – a significant Walker Campaign Contributor.
Cynthia Archer - Had served as Walker’s Director of Administrative Services in Milwaukee County. Under Walker’s Milwaukee County, she was a point person in developing County Budget proposals and had full knowledge of Scott Walker’s agenda as County Executive. A loyal supporter, she followed Walker to Madison, becoming one of the top appointees in the Department of Administration – Deputy Secretary Of the Department of Administration. Under the new Rulemaking Laws, she would have had broad authority to affect current state policy toward business and development. Her sudden departure to Children and Families, along with her continued paid medical leave of absence remains unexplained. Archer, as with all others implicated, claims to know nothing.
The largest commonality between all these players is their committment to Scott Walker’s agenda – both as County Executive and Governor – of a “pay to play” game of favorable legislation and rule making to benefit Corporate Contributions. More specifically, the ability of the State to push Municipalities into Privatization of Services through “fiscal stress test” legislation, and “transparency” legislation. Exactly the type of Legislation being covertly worked on by another law firm, Foley and Lardner, and exposed several months ago.
At the time, sources at Foley and Lardner and The Greater Milwaukee Committee stated that the legislation would be forwarded as part of a broad municipal government reform in May or June. As the Summer wore on, the interest in the media of this legislation waned as nothing was introduced. In fact, as of today, nothing resembling this type of Legislation is even in Committee. It is important to note that this initiative was so important to Scott Walker, he spoke about it on the campaign trail, even prior to becoming Governor. Lobbyists arranged meetings regarding this Legislation prior to Walker even taking the oath of office. Today, sources at Foley and Lardner, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and Smart Government Inc. are virtually mute to the subject. The only statement being that “there is no activity on this legislation.” No longer denying its existence, they are merely stating the obvious. Why would Scott Walker and his allies leave one of his key initiatives, a passion he pursued even while County Executive, just die on the vine?
The answer may be found in the complexity of the ongoing John Doe Investigation. In Scott Walker’s “pay to play” world as County Executive, now Governor, the promise to Corporate sponsors of access to County and State services may have been too good to pass up – and too good for Walker to miss out on. The positions Walker placed his key Lieutenants in were perfect for executing the types of rules and policies Corporate thugs would have paid good money for. All they are missing is the Legislation to create the standards for “fiscal stress” – which is nowhere to be seen, as Walker’s Lieutenants dive off his sinking ship like rats.
If the Investigation is focused on this type of communication while Walker was County Executive, it will surely reach him – as he well knows. One does not hire an expert (and ethically challenged one, at that) in Steve Biskupic without having something to hide or defend oneself from – especially for $60,000. If legal communications and records were preserved, as required by law – we will see the search party surely come to Scott Walker, as it did for Rod Blagojevich. Walker’s passion and zeal for cronyism, privatization, and his overreaching agenda are consistent with the actions of his Lieutenants in Nardelli, Archer, Russell, and Wink. Walker has abandoned his dream of Municipal Governance reform for a reason. The John Doe Investigation brings it too close to Scott Walker…
The Captain always goes down with the ship.