Messages Shine Light on County Executive Walker Private Email System

Feb 20, 2014

Emails released Wednesday are giving the public a rare look inside a politician’s office.

Governor Scott Walker
Credit Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The 27,000 electronic communications between former County Executive Scott Walker’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Kelly Rindfleish, and a host of personnel describe how Walker cabinet members and others addressed campaign, constituent and other issues.

The messages were part of a John Doe investigation.

It ended with no charges filed against Walker, but six aides and associates were charged with crimes.

Chris Murray is a political science lecturer at the Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington.

He says, in some ways, the emails released yesterday may resemble those of many other politicians.

“People are sometimes not as a careful in the language that they use when they are more private, than more public verbal conversation,” Murray says.

The electronic messages released yesterday indicate Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker may have been aware of the existence of a secret system, designed to shield communications from possible open record requests.

Murray says that could present a challenge for Walker.

“If that’s the case then it’s no longer staff people mixing official duties and campaign duties, now it’s the person at the top,” Murray says.

John Doe investigators apparently combed through the emails and ultimately chose not to seek any criminal charge against Walker.

Murray says the release of the emails is the subject of front page coverage in today’s editions of the Washington Post and New York Times.