A former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and two others were arrested Thursday as part of an ongoing criminal probe that revealed two of the men stole money intended for veterans and families of U.S. soldiers who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ongoing investigation is looking at whether some of Scott Walkers staffers engaged in political activity on taxpayer time. Tim Russell had been with Walker as a campaign and county aide since 2002 was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor count of embezzlement.
Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee to the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission was charged with five felonies of theft and fraudulent writings by a corporate office. In a press conference Thursday, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm accused Kavanaugh of stealing more than $42,000 that was intended to provide for families of Wisconsin soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for wounded vets. Russell raised the donations at an annual event for veterans called Operation Freedom.
But instead of giving that money to Wisconsin vets, Russell transferred more than $20,000 into his personal accounts and used the money to pay for Caribbean and Hawaiian vacations, funded a political trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the organization of a presidential campaign.
Also charged and tied to Walker were Brian Pierck who was charged with two felony counts of child enticement and exposing genitals in a public area. Those charges emerged from the investigation after computers were seized.
Walker’s office had no comment on the charges.
Photo from WisPolitics.com via flickr.