Two former Walker aides charged with illegally doing campaign work

The Milwaukee County Courthouse. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Two former Walker aides charged with illegally doing campaign work

By the WTMJ News Team. CREATED Jan 26, 2012 - UPDATED: Jan 26, 2012

Attached is Ms. Wink's plea agreement with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

MILWAUKEE - Two new sets of charges have come down Thursday against two former staffers for now-Governor Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive.

Darlene Wink faces two misdemeanors of political solicitation by a public employee.  She worked as a constituent coordinator for Walker.

Wink reportedly raised money for Walker's gubernatorial race at county taxpayers' expense. The criminal complaint alleges the 61-year-old broke the law when she spent county time campaigning for Governor Walker.

The complaint alleges, Wink organized an event she styled 'Happy Birthday Scott'...a fundraiser for Walker's gubernatorial candidacy.

Wink was to appear in court Thursday to answer to those charges, but has reached a plea deal with the Milwaukee County's District Attorney's Office. As part of the agreement, Ms. Wink may have to pay restitution, but the state will not recommend confinement for her cooperation.

Ms. Wink has agreed to several different terms and conditions, and she may be called upon by the state to be a witness in the case against Mr. Tim Russell.

Former Milwaukee County housing director Tim Russell was charged with one misdemeanor and two felony theft charges for taking more than $10,000 from a business.  He worked for Walker when he served as Milwaukee County executive.

Kelly Rindfleisch faces four charges of misconduct in public office.

Rindfleisch, 43, was then-County Executive Walker's deputy chief of staff.

The complaint alleges that Rindfleisch illegally worked on Rep. Brett Davis' campaign at taxpayers' expense. Rindfleisch allegedly set up a private e-mail account and operated the account from the County Executive's office. 

The complaint says the e-mails were for both political campaigning and office work.

TODAY'S TMJ4 asked Milwaukee election lawyer Mike Maistelman about today's charges. Coincidentally he represents another person in the John Doe case on completely different charges. Maistelman has not commented on that that case but he is familiar with the law as it applies to today's allegations against Wink and Rindfleisch.

He argues the law is clear and most government employees understand.  "What it says it that you can't do politcal work or fundraising in a govermental building while you're working," said Maistelman.

The DA is refusing to comment further on this nearly 2 year John Doe investigation. As of Thursday, Gov. Walker had not been accused of any wrongdoing.