A former top staffer to Gov. Scott Walker pleaded guilty to one felony for asking for campaign funds while being paid by the government.
On Thursday, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David approved the plea deal reached between Milwaukee’s district attorney’s office and Kelly Rindfleisch, who was deputy chief of staff to Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.
Rindfleisch had originally been charged with four felony counts of misconduct, but the plea deal cut this down to one.
This was part of the ongoing John Doe investigation that has led to some staffers in Walker’s office being charged for misconduct. One lower-ranking staffer, Darlene Wink, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses.
Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said although nothing has specified Walker as the target of the investigation, Walker may still have to deal with the investigation despite the plea deal.
“This conviction of Kelly Rindfleisch doesn’t end the investigation for people higher than her, including Gov. Walker,” Heck said. “I don’t think he ought to be breathing a sigh of relief.”
Heck said the prosecutors have been “tight-lipped” about the cases, the timeline and the targets of the investigation.
The plea agreement released yesterday did not specify Rindfleisch was required to cooperate in future cases.
However, Heck said the letter did not rule out that she would no longer be cooperating.
“The assumption would be Rindfeisch wasn’t acting alone, and she was acting in collaboration or at the direction of other individuals,” Heck said. “My guess, and it is only a guess, is she may have pleaded to a lesser charge in return for more information.”