Another huge setback for a Republican governor with ambitions for 2016: Some 27,000 emails were released yesterday relating to a probe that led to the arrest and conviction of former aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and some of them could prove highly damaging. Some key facts, as per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post:
- The emails link Walker, then county executive, to a secret email system used by his taxpayer-funded staff to break campaign law by communicating directly with his 2010 campaign for governor during business hours. "Consider yourself now in the 'inner circle,'" his administration director told another county employee. "I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW and Nardelli," she wrote, referring to Walker by his initials.
- The emails show that Walker appears to have been "aware that laptops were being used in the county executive's office for accessing things on non-county networks," the chief investigator says, a sign that use of the private email system was widespread.
- Several highly racist emails were forwarded among Walker's staff, including one recounting a "nightmare" of waking up "black, Jewish, disabled, gay with a Mexican boyfriend."
- Walker ordered staff to get rid of a doctor at the county's Behavioral Health Division who had worked as a thong model. "Get rid of the MD asap," Walker wrote after being told the modeling wasn't "pornographic, but is quite suggestive."
The Walker affair hasn't received as much attention as Chris Christie's traffic jam scandal, though both feature GOP governors with "national profiles and national ambitions, allegedly using their public office to boost their political standing, all the while distancing themselves from the work their staffs sullied themselves with," writes Emma Roller at Slate
, predicting the emails will haunt him through next year's tough re-election fight and beyond.