Some key players in the John Doe investigation into illegal campaigning at Scott Walker's Milwaukee County office were present during a similar probe involving legislative staff a decade ago.

Walker himself was an Assembly representative from 1993 to 2002, the same year five top lawmakers from both parties were criminally charged with illegally running political campaigns out of their state offices. Walker was not a target of that probe, which focused on legislative leaders and their staff.

The governor has insisted he is not a target of the current investigation that has ensnared four of his former aides and associates, including Kelly Rindfleisch. She was sentenced Monday to six months in jail for illegal fundraising for the 2010 campaign of then-Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, while working in Walker's county executive office.

Rindfleisch worked at the Assembly Republican Caucus and the Senate Republican Caucus between 1995 and 2001. Those offices and their Democratic counterparts were closed in 2001 after a Wisconsin State Journal investigation earlier that year revealed that top legislative leaders for years had been secretly using dozens of caucus staffers to illegally run private political campaigns.

According to the criminal complaint against her, Rindfleisch acknowledged during the 2002 probe that legislative staffers including herself ran campaigns and raised funds for candidates from their state offices. Rindfleisch also admitted removing campaign documents from the Senate Republican Caucus that had been requested by the State Journal under the open records law.

Keith Gilkes, who managed Walker's 2010 campaign for governor, was cited in emails released by prosecutors Tuesday illustrating coordination between the campaign and Walker's county executive office. Gilkes worked for the Senate Republican Caucus from August 2000 until Dec. 31, 2001, when the four offices were shuttered. Gilkes submitted legal bills totaling $1,905 to the Legislature for reimbursement for legal representation during the caucus investigation, although his exact role is not known.

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(3) comments


He learned to use secret email servers.


And what did Walker learn from the previous scandal? Apparently he learned to surround himself with loyal surrogates willing to take the fall. Apparently he learned to build a wall of plausible deniability..


There never were any blacks and whites. Politics has always been about pushing the envelope. Chvala, Jensen, were essentially doing the same things. Some of those things now are not done. Others continue to be done by politicians on both sides.

The work of politicians is inextricably bound to party and re-election. And we continually shift boundaries.

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