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Another Walker Aide Sentenced to Prison in Secret "John Doe" Investigation


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, ethics, dishonesty, crime, republicans, usa, government, corruption, lies, politics, propaganda )

JL
- 667 days ago - prwatch.org
Another top official to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling funds intended for families of veterans



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JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 4:46 pm
PR Watch
Published on PR Watch (http://www.prwatch.org)

Another Walker Aide Sentenced to Prison in Secret "John Doe" Investigation
by Brendan Fischer [1] January 22, 2013 - 2:47pm

Another top official to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker [5] during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling funds intended for families of veterans. The sentencing appears to close a chapter in the ongoing "John Doe" investigation into corruption and misconduct in the Walker County Executive's office, but the book remains open.

Tim RussellTim Russell"You have no true regret, remorse, or repentance," Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher told Tim Russell in announcing the sentence today. "You don't even have any shame."

Judge Hansher's sentence exceeded what had been recommended by Milwaukee Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf.

Russell pleaded guilty to stealing more than $20,000 from a nonprofit that managed funds for Walker's annual "Operation Freedom" picnic for veterans and their families. He had asked the judge for leniency because he claimed at least some of the money was not stolen, but was instead paid out as "consulting" fees and other forms of payment. The judge didn't buy it.

"How naive do you think that I am, and the public is, to believe this?" Judge Hansher asked.
Russell Given Control of Funds so Operation Freedom "Would Remain a Scott Walker Event"

In 2009, Walker shifted financial control of the Operation Freedom funds from the local Alonzo Cudworth American Legion Post, which had been running the event without a problem, to a new nonprofit called the Heritage Guard Preservation Society, which was controlled by Russell.

Russell told the judge that the goal of shifting the Operation Freedom funds from the local American Legion to Russell's nonprofit was so "it would remain Scott Walker's event and not the County Executive's event ... even after [Walker] was no longer County Executive."

Prosecutors noted that Russell held "exclusive control" of the Heritage Guard, and the fraud arose because Operation Freedom funds were not subject to outside audit or accounting. (Similar criticisms have been lodged against the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-public economic development corporation created under Walker which lost track of $12 million [6] in 2012).

Russell was Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff during his time as County Executive, and had been expected to receive a high-ranking job in his gubernatorial administration, until the embezzlement became public. Prosecutors alleged Russell used his political influence to transfer funds to the Heritage Guard nonprofit.
"Brazen Act of Greed"

"In my experience, white collar criminals start small, and get more bold as time goes by," Assistant District Attorney Landgraf said during the sentencing hearing. But Russell's case, he said, was "remarkable because he started big."

Russell used the funds for a Caribbean cruise and a trip to Hawaii. He also embezzled funds to fly to Atlanta and visit then-presidential candidate Herman Cain's campaign headquarters. "I assume he wanted to get involved with the Herman Cain campaign," Judge Hansher observed.

Cain's campaign was led by Mark Block, who had previously directed the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity. If Russell had joined the campaign he would have been in good company -- Block was previously fined and barred for three years from political campaigns in Wisconsin as a result of an election board investigation into illegal coordination between a campaign he led and a non-profit group. Block is also reportedly under investigation [7] for spending $40,000 of tax-exempt charitable funds to pay for Cain's presidential bid. The Center for Media and Democracy filed a formal IRS complaint [8] in the matter.

Russell was handcuffed and taken into custody immediately following the hearing.
John Doe Investigation Continues

Russell is the fourth Walker aide or associate convicted of misconduct in office as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation.

Walker's former Deputy Chief of Staff Kelly Rindfleisch (who succeeded Russell) was sentenced in November to six months in jail and probation for doing political fundraising while at her county job.

Kevin Kavanaugh was sentenced in December to two years in prison after stealing more than $50,000 from Operation Freedom and other funds intended to benefit veterans and their families. Walker had appointed Kavanaugh to the county Veterans Service Commission.

Additionally, Walker's constituent services director, Darlene Wink, was sentenced in January to one year's probation for doing campaign fundraising in 2009 while working in her taxpayer-funded county job.

Judge Hansher criticized Russell for alleging in his pre-sentence hearing that the John Doe investigation, which is overseen by former state Appeals Court Judge Neal Nettesheim, was politically motivated. "I don't think a single person in the state of Wisconsin thinks that Neal Nettesheim would let politics affect how he ran the John Doe," he said.

In the course of the investigation, prosecutors uncovered evidence that Russell's longtime partner Brian Pierick allegedly seduced a 17-year-old boy. Evidence also showed Pierick allegedly used the screen name "Walker04" to procure online porn involving young boys. Pierick has been charged with child enticement and exposing genitals; his jury trial is scheduled to begin January 29.

Learn more about this complicated case, the players, the charges and the convictions in Sourcewatch. [5]
Center for Media and Democracy 520 University Avenue, Suite 260 Madison, Wisconsin 53703
Phone: 608-260-9713 Fax: 608-260-9714
Source URL: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/01/11948/another-walker-aide-sentenced-prison-secret-john-doe-investigation

Links:
[1] http://www.prwatch.org/users/35275/brendan-fischer
[2] http://www.prwatch.org/topics/ethics
[3] http://www.prwatch.org/topics/politics
[4] http://www.addtoany.com/share_save?linkurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.prwatch.org%2Fnews%2F2013%2F01%2F11948%2Fanother-walker-aide-sentenced-prison-secret-john-doe-investigation&linkname=Another%20Walker%20Aide%20Sentenced%20to%20Prison%20in%20Secret%20%22John%20Doe%22%20Investigation
[5] http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Scott_Walker
[6] http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/wedc-hires-outside-help-after-losing-track-of-millions-of/article_dc5d27a6-3b38-11e2-b25e-0019bb2963f4.html
[7] http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/03/11402/feds-scrutinizing-mark-block-cmd-requested-investigation
[8] http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/11/11111/cmd-requests-irs-investigate-charity-accused-fronting-private-jets-presidential-c
 

Terry V. (30)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:33 pm
And Scott Walker gets to remain Governor :(
 

JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:35 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
 

Mitchell D. (130)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:41 pm
It seems evident, from the article, that Scott Walker has phenomenal judgment, that if the Attorney General of Wisconsin wants to find criminally minded folk, he needs only to keep and eye on Walker's appointees.
Where is Walker in all this?
Like someone else recently commented, "What a bunch of maroons!" as per Bugs Bunny.
 

JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:54 pm
I did read in an article that Walker had been named a person of interest, or something like that, in this investigation.
You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week.
 

Angelika R. (144)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 5:58 pm
He should have drowned in the Bermuda Triangle on his cruise trip! Glad that jerk is locked up! Wisconsin gang..
 

JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:00 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last week.
 

Ellen G. (345)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:09 pm
"Ah Yes", we here in Wisconsin get all the political whack jobs.
 

JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 6:40 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Ellen because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:23 pm

Maybe it's a toss up, which is worse? Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida or Texas, there are really dirty politics going on here. Just think when Walker runs for re-election (you know he will) he can say he was not indicted, that about wraps up his bragging rights.
 

JL A. (272)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 7:29 pm
I hope we can eventually add the word "yet" to those bragging rights: You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.
 

David C. (29)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 11:50 pm
sentenced to just two years in prison for embezzling funds intended for families of veterans, just two years---you get longer then that for calling a police-officer a name in parts of the US.
 

Lynn D. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:14 am
Two years isn't long enough, he should have to serve time in a Military Service for a couple of terms for stealing funds from Veterans!
 

Jodi Ashley (2)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:40 am
Everyone and everything connected to Walker should be considered tainted goods. 2 years is not long enough fir this piece of crap. Does any really believe that Walker had no part in or knowledge of all his appointees dirty dealings?
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:11 pm
I can't even find the words to describe how much I loathe people who would steal from the Vets.
 

JL A. (272)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:50 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Theodore because you have done so within the last week.
 

Roni Jo Patterson (4)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 4:48 pm
Whatever it takes we must rid our nation of right-wingers.
 

Dandelion G. (387)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 5:22 pm
Some of the smaller fish are starting to be held accountable, now I hope the justice will continue up the food chain. As the saying goes, where there is smoke there is fire and Walker is surrounded by a lot of smoke.
 

JL A. (272)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 6:13 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Dandelion because you have done so within the last week.
 

Ana Passos (2)
Monday January 28, 2013, 4:00 am
Agreed Lynn.
 

JL A. (272)
Monday January 28, 2013, 7:39 am
You cannot currently send a star to Ana because you have done so within the last week.
 

Christopher Fowler (84)
Monday January 28, 2013, 9:09 am
It has become clearer every day that the GOP is nothing but a bunch of corrupt criminals that need to be removed from office.

Walker gave control of monies, that were intended to help vets, into the hands of someone who could not be trusted with it.....all for the purpose of his own personal grandstanding.

Walker had no business doing that as the group that was running the charity was running it without a hitch. I would not doubt that Walker knew, full well, that the money was being taken away from the vets that it was supposed to go to help.
 

JL A. (272)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:39 am
You cannot currently send a star to Christopher because you have done so within the last week.
 
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