Emails Suggest Walker Aides Ran Illegal Vote-Purging Scheme

Editor's note: Upon further research, the emails referenced in this story appear to relate to the use of software called "Complete Campaigns," which is a "back office" program for processing campaign donations, and not a voter "caging" scheme. The Progressive regrets this error.

Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker's top aides possibly engaging in an illegal scheme to "cage" Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.

On page 15,037 of WalkerDocs 1, an email exchange between Walker staffers Kelly Rindfleisch and Nicole Simmons spells it out pretty plainly.

"If you come this Saturday I can show you how to cage," Simmons writes. "That will be priority on the weekend."

Another email, on page 1,321 of WalkerDocs 2, shows Walker's chief of staff Keith Gilkes ordering Rindfleisch, Fran McLaughlin and Dorothy Moore to bring friends who can help with the caging effort. Here's a screenshot.

"We need cagers for this Saturday, we will have plenty to get caught up on," he wrote in an email sent Oct. 21, 2010. "Please bring friends that are detail oriented and can put in some solid hours."

Walker's aides were also following news about the voter caging efforts, illustrated on pages 14,565 and 14,936 of WalkerDocs 1. They shared one article in particular: The Milwaukee Courier's Oct. 2, 2010 article titled, "GOP joins with Tea Party in illegal effort to steal election."

Outside tea party groups bragged in 2010 that they were joining RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Republican Party to cage voters for Scott Walker, although Priebus denied the charge.

Photo: "Senior man stealing a ballot box," via Shutterstock.