Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ScottforGov Open Records and Timing

Scott Walker's longtime campaign & county aide Tim Russell was arrested on January 5th and charged in Milwaukee County Court. Many people have speculated about this event and about the ongoing John Doe investigation. Just last week I asked a number of questions myself . However there was one particular thread that I didn't list at that time, so I'd like to submit it for consideration now.

On pages 19 and 20 of Tim Russell's criminal complaint it states that he paid for some of the following Walker-related domain names: variations of "scottforgov", "scott4gov", and "MilwaukeeCountyExecutiveScottWalkerForGovernor". As most online observers know, those are domains related to the former Walker shill blog. The anonymous people on that shill blog spent all of their time publicly worshiping at Walker's feet or attacking anyone that they perceived as an opponent.

While the ScottforGov blog was still active there was much speculation about the anonymous authors and exactly who was behind it. Tim Russell's criminal complaint now seems to suggest that he was involved in at least some way. We also know that shortly after Walker aide Darlene Wink admitted to posting political comments to blogs on county time that she resigned from her longtime position in Walker's administration. Very shortly after that resignation the ScottforGov blog was taken down. The timing of that event caused many to openly wonder if Wink and other administration officials were involved with the Walker blog. As far as I know, that suspicion was never totally confirmed but you certainly can't blame people for wondering given the timing and circumstances.

Although the administrator of the ScottforGov blog took down the site, here is a screen cap sampling of its content. Notice that a number of these blog postings appear to have happened during normal work hours.

Now scroll down to the entry entitled "Neumann slithering around for dirt". This posting from what seems to be the administrator of the site bemoans the fact that Walker critics filed open records requests (ORR's) with his office. They specifically name One Wisconsin Now, yours truly and several others. The ScottforGov blogger states that they know about some of these other ORR's because they submitted an ORR for all other ORR's.

I don't have a copy of the above cited records request from the ScottforGov blog but I do have an earlier records request that they sent to Walker directly. It was originally sent from "" on 9/28/09 at 10:34 a.m. The request was initially handled by Darlene Wink and the request was fulfilled in less than two hours. Based on these email records it appears that the Walker administration not only responded quickly to the request but that they also provided the records at no cost. Compare that to how they have handled requests from critics.

The important questions:
  1. If Tim Russell paid for the domains that pointed to this blog, did he also provide content for it? Did anyone else in the Walker administration?
  2. Some of these blog postings happened during normal work hours. Were any of them done by Walker administration officials on county time?
  3. Were Walker administration officials essentially requesting records from other Walker administration officials? If so, who knew what?
  4. Did the records requester at "" receive extra fast, free and otherwise special service?

I have enough information to ask these important questions but I'm hoping that someone can find the actual answers and then make them public.

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