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New charges in John Doe investigation allege pattern of illegal fundraising among Walker aides

Charges filed Thursday in the ongoing John Doe investigation into former and current aides of Gov. Scott Walker allege a pattern of illegal fundraising and what appears to be a systemic avoidance of campaign laws by Walker's inner circle.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm charged Kelly Rindfleisch, 43, with four felony counts of misconduct in public office and Darlene Wink, 61, with two misdemeanor counts of political solicitation by a public employee. Both worked for Walker during his time as Milwaukee County executive, and both are accused of fundraising activities while at their taxpayer-funded jobs.

Also in the complaints made public Thursday were accusations leveled toward Walker's close associates, including the use of personal laptop computers and an unofficial "secret email system" to solicit money for the campaigns of Walker and Brett Davis, who was running for lieutenant governor. Investigators say they kept the system hidden from all but a close group of Walker's insiders.

But perhaps most notable in the complaints is an email from Walker to a longtime top aide discussing the resignation of Wink, who left her county job after admitting to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she frequently posted political comments online during working hours. "We cannot afford another story like this one," Walker wrote about the Wink story. "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."

Walker was not available Thursday for interviews to clarify what he meant in the email.

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