The year long John Doe investigation into GOP Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s aides comes closer to the big fish with the latest charges and the DA says more charges are a comin’. As all of this looms around the embattled governor, he also faces an imminent recall. With two weeks left to go, the recall campaign against Walker has reached the minimum amount of signatures needed to recall him.
Tick tock, tick tock.
Facing criminal charges of embezzlement from a veterans charity and theft from two conservative campaigns, Tim Russell wasn’t just the person Walker appointed to be in charge of the money for a veteran’s charity, but it turns out he was one of “Walker’s top lieutenants as he moved in and out of campaign jobs, posts in Walker’s county office, other county jobs and his own real estate business.” He is described as part of Walker’s close inner circle and one of his most trusted confidants.
Russell was charged with criminal embezzlement charges for stealing money from a charity for veterans families that Walker put him in charge of, in addition to charges that he stole money from two conservative campaigns.
One of the details to emerge from the investigation into the latest embezzlement debacle surrounding Walker is that his close aide Tim Russell had lost his home to foreclosure and was facing economic troubles. A pause as we digest the Walker Republican solution to the massive economic stress facing Americans right now: Government can’t help you, but you can help yourself to government’s money and the money of charities meant for the children of our troops who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
You can guess the rest, but just to say we did the irony thing: Russell was at one time paid 52k a year for his work at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority which ended abruptly for “personal reasons” in 1993. Russell also worked as a bank loan officer (this makes him one of those people who knew better but still got a mortgage he couldn’t afford; you know, the poster child for the Republican policies that punish “entitled” Americans who didn’t know any better and got had by a mortgage loan officer or company’s predatory lending policies).
Russell later went on to be paid 80k + a year by Walker in various development jobs, one of which was Housing Director. Russell was fired from his job at the county in December of 2010 as soon as Walker’s replacement took over. The Journal Sentinel reports:
“He was basically a political operative of Scott Walker” who “meddled” in various supervisory campaigns, said former Supervisor Richard Nyklewicz Jr. “I really didn’t think very highly of him as a county employee,” Nyklewicz said.
Russell’s domestic partner Brian Pierick (yes, he’s a gay conservative who worked to further the agenda of political Dominionist Scott Walker) also faces charges for enticing children. “Pierick was charged Thursday with luring a 17-year-old Waukesha boy to send cellphone pictures of the boy’s genitals in 2010. Russell was listed as a co-conspirator in an unsuccessful attempt to lure the boy to Russell’s van for a sexual encounter, but Russell was not charged in that case.” Pierick is currently employed at the School Improvements/Grants Education for Homeless Children and Youth for the state of Wisconsin.
In case you aren’t sick yet, how does surfing for child porn under the name “Walker04” hit you? In the child enticement criminal charges filed, investigators note: “This is further confirmed by the fact that Special Agent Petersen was able to forensically identify specific “usernames” as associated with specific images, in some instances. These include usernames such as “Walker04” and “TRussell,” on information and belief were created by Timothy Russell and/or Brian Pierick for use on their computers and other devices.” Pierick replied to a Craig’s List ad seeking a man to play the role of the “father” to the his “little boy.” It gets a lot worse but this is a family website, so I’ll leave delving any deeper into the inevitable results of conservative repression for others.
Tim Russell is described by insiders as “polarizing.” But don’t let that alarm you, even though these are the exact same words used to describe Scott Walker. Surely, conservatives who steal from charities for the children of our fallen warriors, surf for child porn under their dear leader’s name, lose their home to foreclosure even though they worked as a mortgage officer at one time and were the director of housing under Dear Leader, and have been described by almost everyone but Walker as one of his few close confidants, completely sell the fiscal and social policies and alleged beliefs of conservatives. Rah rah troops, rah rah gays are sinners, rah ray let them eat cake, rah rah entitled Americans who bought houses they couldn’t afford, rah rah anti-cronyism, rah rah more criminal charges…..
Conservatives are claiming that these charges are the John Doe investigation, but that doesn’t make any sense. The John Doe investigation has already landed a Walker donor with felony convictions, another person was taken to jail, and still others had their computers seized. No doubt prosecutors are following the money. The fact that they have managed to find so much criminal activity surrounding Walker is at best certainly not an endorsement of his judgment or ability to lead a tight ship. At worst, it means the investigation is centered not on Walker’s aides or his campaign, but on Walker himself. Scott Walker clearly doesn’t play by the rules; that much is clear. His sense of entitlement and egregious abuse of laws and rules play out in all aspects of his work; from taking all of the files while leaving his County Supervisor job to taking illegal donations from the same company in two different elections to skirting process and law to “pass” his agenda to his aides and donors ethical problems, this guy is a hot mess of a governor. And we haven’t even addressed the failure of his fiscal policies, which is what fuels the recall against him.
The recall efforts against Walker have been wildly successful; in a month they have managed to collect the required 500,000 plus signatures. Recall activists want to get another 200,000 plus signatures in the next two weeks for safety and as a show of strength.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.