Friday, February 03, 2012

Walker Administration Emails 2009

Anyone that was reading this blog in 2010 is probably familiar with my struggles in getting records from Scott Walker's Milwaukee County administration. I only received certain records 9 months and hundreds of dollars after requesting them. Even then, they only sent some of them after a reporter questioned them about the long delay. I've repeatedly written about Walker only "turning on the light" for friends, including an anonymous shill blog that may have been run by some of Walker's county staffers.

Some of the records that I did finally receive included a ton of county emails from 2009. Given some of the recent developments and the news surrounding the John Doe investigation, I decided to search those 2009 Walker emails from a new point of reference. FYI, this blog posting may very well turn into the first of a series.

One thing that certainly stood out in the recent criminal complaints was the email from Scott Walker, using his campaign account, to address the Darlene Wink situation with right hand man Tim Russell. After seeing that Walker used his campaign account to discuss county business, I decided to again search my 2009 Walker administration emails for similar examples. I wanted to test whether Walker's intermingling of his campaign email and county business was a common practice.

Please note that the Walker administration used Lotus Notes and the electronic email records that they finally sent me are in that format. Since I don't have Lotus Notes the emails are a bit of a maze of Lotus Notes code and other data. To check out the emails that I am going to reference below, see them HERE. It is admittedly a pain to read but I've tried to make the reading easier by putting relevant information in bold. I've also deleted vast amounts of the Lotus Notes code. If you are interested in the original version with all of the code, let me know. There could be interesting discoveries hiding in that code.

Here is a summary of interesting items that I found in Walker 2009 emails (instances of Walker using his "" email address for county business):

  • The first email chain listed in the above linked doc appears to be Walker sending a response to a Public Policy Forum draft report on the county budget. Walker seems to be sending it to his county staff. But he sends it to their private emails along with the business emails for Keith Gilkes (his campaign manager) and RJ Johnson (someone that served his campaign as a consultant). If I'm following this right, it then looks like he then forwarded that message from his campaign email to his county email.

  • There are at least two examples of Walker forwarding Wispolitics emails from his county address to his campaign address. Both examples include prominent reporting on Walker's campaign for governor. One mentions the RPW convention in 2009 and that Walker won the straw poll and the other mentions his "very special announcement" from April 2009. I'm wondering if the county paid for the Wispolitics reports, exactly how could he legally forward them to his campaign email? Is that giving something of value from the county to his campaign? Does it violate Wispolitics policy against forwarding their products to others?

  • An email that appears to be from Cynthia Archer to Walker at his campaign email address (and copying other staff...including Walker campaign consultant RJ Johnson). In that email she spells out their various "options" after a greatly anticipated arbitration hearing. It looks like Walker then takes that Archer email and forwards it from his campaign account to his county account.
Again, what is up with this mixing of county issues and campaign emails? Am I the only one that finds such free email usage suspicious? Did these emails happen before the establishment of the secret network that has been described by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office?

NOTE: When requesting the email records, I only asked them to go from April - June of 2009. So these emails only represent a sampling from those 3 months.


Lisa Mux said...

The short answer to your last question is: Nope.

Anonymous said...

Shorter answer:


Cindy K. said...

Well I'll be. It appears you have found the smoking gun.

No, I'm not surprised. No, I don't necessarily like it. But you may have just unexpectedly shot the timeline way up on this "investigation."

I listen to reason, remember? I can't see anyway Walker untangles himself this time. County resources are documented as used to further his campaign - that's what some of that code says.

It will be interesting to see who picks up on this one. I'm going to hold back until next week just to let it all percolate.

Cory Liebmann said...

I am certainly not a lawyer nor am I an expert in email technology. But these are just things that I personally found questionable. I guess posting this was my way of letting those questions percolate.

Cindy K. said...

Well I spent a few years elected and it certainly blows through any training I had on the matter.

Nick said...

Part of me is disturbed by this. I would be particularly troubled if emails were sent through a non-government email system in an attempt to hide government business from FOA requests.

I am far less concerned about forwarding email from government systems to non-government systems. For one, this is often times done by folks so that it can be read from Blackberrys or other mobile devices. I suspect this is why some emails were forwarded to both government AND personal addresses of an individual. It was not malicious in nature, but was intended to go an address that Scott Walker knew was reachable by a mobile device.

Of course, from a technical perspective, if you reply from a personal address, that reply may not be on a government server, and that reply would not be available to FOA, which is a problem.

My gut feeling is that the actions taken were done not in order to hide anything, or out of malice in any way, but rather to get around problems with older technology (government email not being available on Blackberry's, etc). But that's just my guess.

Cory Liebmann said...

with the news that walker has hired one criminal defense and one real estate attorney...maybe i should take a closer look at the 2009 real estate emails.

Cindy K. said...

Unless the mobile device was paid for by taxpayers.

Are these modified in any way? Some of the header seems to be missing. Are there others?

Cory Liebmann said...

yes i took out a bunch of the code to make it easier to read. i have one version that has the full code that came with these email chains.

I will post that one on my sribd page and put a link in the comments here. give me a few mins

yes i have a boat load of emails from April-June of 2009. There are others that raised flags that I am still trying to figure out.

Cory Liebmann said... this one i just copied and pasted...the only edits that i did was 1. put lines in between different email chains and 2. I think I cut down the content of the wispol emails because they were super long.

But the code parts should all be there in this version.

Anonymous said...

Can you see if Chisholm might be interested in the emails?

Cindy K. said...

Nah. Give 'em to Bice. It'll work faster.

Anonymous said...

I found a Free Download of a Lotus Notes viewer here -

(Sorry if this is spammy, I'm a real person but thought this might help)

capper said...

Cory, you might not realize this yet, but you just might have become a hero to the unions, or at least to Milwaukee County workers.

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I'm with you - give 'em to Bice and let him run with it

Anonymous said...

RJ Johnson (who is also part of the email chain) is still being paid by Walker for consulting during the recall campaign. He's received at least $80,000 so far.