A former aide to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expected to start her six month prison sentence on Wednesday. Kelly Rindfleisch, Walker’s former deputy chief of staff, was convicted of a felony as a result of the John Doe criminal investigation that resulted in 15 felonies for six of Walker’s staff and officials.
Rindfleish accepted a plea deal for one felony of misconduct in office for fundraising for Walker from her government office during working hours. She is the first person who will serve time in jail in the extensive investigation that did not implicate Walker. But as the governor embarks on a presidential run, the episode is a reminder of the ongoing controversy and investigations into his office.
The John Doe investigation, named such because of its secret proceedings, focused on Walker’s run for governor in 2010 while he was the Milwaukee county executive. While Walker was never charged, the investigation uncovered that his employees were conducting campaign activity on the taxpayers' dime and that Walker and his staff used non-government email accounts to communicate with each other.
Meanwhile, a second John Doe investigation is ongoing that is looking into the potential of illegal coordination between Walker’s recall campaign and outside political groups who are able to raise unlimited amounts of money.
While the evidence is sealed, leaked information revealed some emails that are evidence in the case. In one email, a Walker consultant sent an email to Walker adviser and the head of the Wisconsin Club For Growth that “The Governor is encouraging all to invest in the Wisconsin Club for Growth. Wisconsin Club for Growth can accept Corporate and Personal donations without limitations and no donors disclosure.”
Republicans in Wisconsin call the latest investigation a partisan "witch hunt."
The state Supreme Court is expected to take up the case later this month but the public might find out little about it. The Republican-dominated seven-member court ruled that it would not hold a hearing and that the case would be behind closed doors.