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Emails offer raw, unvarnished view of politics, policy

Emails offer raw, unvarnished view of politics, policy


The emails released Wednesday provide a raw, unvarnished view of how some members of Scott Walker’s Milwaukee County administration and campaign operatives collected cash, talked about minority groups, prepared policy and viewed rivals within their own party.

Among the examples:

• “No one cares about crazy people,” aide Kelly Rindfleisch wrote in response to an email about criticism Walker was facing from his political opponent, Tom Barrett, over problems at Milwaukee County’s mental health center.

• An email from Kelly Teelin, a paralegal at GOP go-to law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, forwarded a joke email picturing four dogs the writer said were set to receive public assistance because they “are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddys are.”

“That is hilarious. And so true!” Rindfleisch replied.

• Walker’s top aide in the county executive’s office, Tom Nardelli, forwarded a message in brightly colored lettering about the “nightmare” of waking up “black, Jewish, gay with a Mexican boyfriend, drug addict and HIV-positive” — and a Democrat.

• A supporter of lieutenant governor candidate Brett Davis scorned fellow Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, also vying for the job, after attempting to sneak a look at one of her fundraisers.

“Rebecca was at the door inside greeting,” wrote Kathleen Kiernan, who helped set up Davis’ fundraising events. “She said ‘I’m surprised to see you two here’... and I replied ‘we came to hear Scott’. She said, well maybe I can win you over. (YUK!...don’t hold your breath)… I cannot see how anyone can take this woman seriously.”

• Rindfleisch wrote an email to Walker campaign manager Keith Gilkes calling Kleefisch “the bane of your existance,” adding, “I’m REALLY beginning to dislike her.”

• Davis campaign aide Emily Loe emailed Rindfleisch to tell her that a municipal judge from Pewaukee, Gary Glojek, wanted to stage a fundraising event, but that “since he’s a judge” his wife’s name “goes on everything.” The state judicial code forbids judges from “personally” soliciting campaign contributions.

The wife, Bronwyn Glojek, wrote to Rindfleisch saying she was worried about a fundraiser she was organizing in the “Rhino Room” at a Pewaukee restaurant. “RINO” is a conservative insult used against politicians seen as “Republicans in name only.”

Rindfleisch replied by saying top campaign officials didn’t see a problem.

• Walker suggested that the county fire a doctor who was hired at the county mental health center without officials knowing she was a former thong model.

“Apparently she’s competent, but even the Medical Director is dismayed that she has a varied life,” Nardelli said, who worried the “suggestive” photos meant the doctor had “a checkered past.”

Walker replied, “Get rid of the MD asap.”

• Walker’s staffers had harsh words for Mark Neumann, his rival in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

“This is so ridiculous that the only person talking about it is mark neumann,” McLaughlin wrote of one proposal. “There should be mandatory drug testing for people who want to run for governor and you can quote me on that.”

In another email, top adviser Jim Villa responded to an email about Neumann delivering signatures against the health care bill, “Is someone going to explain to knucklehead that governor is a state position?”

• Rindfleisch emailed Gilkes about jokingly wanting to take out Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

“How do you not blow a nut with all the lies that the democrats put out,” Rindfleisch wrote. “It makes me wanna get Villa’s uncle mike to make mike tate disappear.”

— State Journal reporters Steven Verburg and Mary Spicuzza contributed to this report.


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Steven Verburg is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal covering state politics with a focus on science and the environment as well as military and veterans issues.

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