The release of some 28,000 documents from the now-concluded “John Doe I” investigation into Scott Walker touched off a media frenzy Wednesday, and not just in Wisconsin. Here’s your guide to watching it.
The documents were released at 9 a.m. by the state Court of Appeals from the case of Kelly Rindfleisch, a former aide to Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive. She was convicted in 2012 of illegally doing campaign work on publicly funded time and the probe snared five other Walker aides and associates as well on various charges.
The governor himself was never charged, however. The Wisconsin State Journal’s Dee Hall provides excellent background on the case.
But the high level interest, of course, is about what the emails might reveal about the governor (whose 2012 recall campaign is reportedly under scrutiny in a second John Doe probe). Many news sites have made the emails available online and you can watch a steady feed of revelations on the State Journal’s live blog, The Progressive’s live blog or by following #walkerdocs on Twitter.
Most of those tweeting with that hashtag are journalists or left-leaning bloggers and commentators, though the conservative Right Wisconsin occasionally jumps in with tweets like this:
“Breathless sufferers of Walker derangement syndrome ignore/forget prosecutors had #walkerdocs for years, found no reason to charge him”
One of the most interesting findings so far, discussed by both Hall and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is that a judge expanded the John Doe probe on the day before Walker beat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to become governor in 2010.
It’s no surprise that major state newspapers like the State Journal have made the documents available online, as well as politically focused ones like Wispolitics and The Progressive, but it’s noteworthy that the Washington Post has done so as well, an acknowledgement of Walker’s all-but-announced 2016 presidential campaign and the fact that he is seen as a serious candidate by many, including the Democratic National Committee.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to more accurately describe the relationship between Walker and those convicted as a result of the John Doe probe. Three were aides, one was a Walker appointee, one was a campaign donor and the sixth was the boyfriend of one of the aides.