Every national politician in the country is going to be peppered with questions about what they think of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail controversy. This morning is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s turn. Walker didn’t hold back–he told the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack:
"It’s a logical assumption that the secretary of state is talking about highly confidential classified information. How can she ensure that that information wasn’t compromised. I think that’s the bigger issue—is the audacity to think that someone would put their personal interest above classified, confidential, highly sensitive information that’s not only important to her but to the United States of America. I think is an outrage that Democrats as well as Republicans should be concerned about.”
As McCormack notes, Walker’s attack shows quite a bit of chutzpah, because he himself got caught running a secret e-mail network for his inner circle of advisers when he was Milwaukee County executive. In their illuminating book, More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsin, Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, reporters for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, provide the details.
In May 2010, the Walker administration asked a constituent services coordinator named Darlene Wink to resign, after a Journal Sentinel columnist caught her posting online political comments supporting Walker while she was supposed to be working on the taxpayers’ dime. As Stein and Marley write,
When the Wink story broke, Walker’s deputy chief of staff, Kelly Rindfleisch, quickly dismantled a private Internet router set up in her office, which was twenty-five feet away from Walker’s. During her few months on the job, she had been using the secret router and a laptop—both separate from the regular county system—to trade electronic messages with Walker’s campaign staff and raise money for state Representative Brett Davis, a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. With attention suddenly on Wink, who had also used the router, Rindfleisch stuffed the device into a credenza in her office. “I took the wireless down,” she wrote in an e-mail to Tim Russell, who had served as Walker’s deputy chief of staff before Rindfleisch. Russell, then working as Walker’s housing director, had initially set up the router for Wink and Rindfleisch to use, prosecutors alleged.
Walker e-mailed Russell that night, telling him he had talked to Wink and felt bad about what had happened. “We cannot afford another story like this one,” Walker wrote to Russell. “No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the work day, etc.”
As Walker emphasizes to McCormack, prosecutors never charged him with any wrongdoing, though two of his aides were convicted of doing political work while on the county payroll. And Walker obviously wasn’t privy to sensitive classified information, as Clinton was. Still, the similarities are pretty uncanny, and Walker’s willingness to attack Clinton anyway is a good illustration of his aggressive political style.