MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- After thousands of emails were released on Wednesday, February 19th from the private Gmail account belonging to Kelly Rindfleisch -- a former aide to now-Governor Scott Walker, both political parties are trying to use the information contained within them to their advantage -- but what are the advantages, and what will this mean politically for Gov. Scott Walker moving forward?
Kelly Rindfleisch served as Walker’s Deputy Chief of Staff in 2010 when he was County Executive. She is one of six people convicted of crimes in connection with a secret John Doe investigation led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
In 2012, Rindfleisch was convicted of felony misconduct in public office for doing campaign work on county time. That case revealed that Rindfleisch, whose office was located two doors down from the future Governor, was using a laptop and wireless internet router that were not connected to the county’s computer network to do campaign work during the workday. She was convicted in October of 2012 and sentenced to six months in jail, but that sentence was placed on hold while she appeals.
More than 26,000 emails are contained in the massive PDF files unsealed Wednesday.
"This is very exciting for political insiders. In politics there's a line, what did he know and when did he know it," UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee said.
Lee says the Democrats on the national level will try to use the information against Gov. Walker's possible presidential aspirations in 2016.
"We have to understand he might have that magic, and so the Democratic Party thinks that through. If they can injure him early rather than late, then it's to their benefit," Lee said.
On the same day these emails are released, the Republican Governors Association is countering with the release of an attack ad on Walker's gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Mary Burke.
"So in a sense, it sort of calms the waters," Lee said.
Either way, Lee believes Walker has shown that he has the ability to navigate through adverse situations.
"Scott Walker's a very disciplined politician. He knows how to tiptoe through the tulips," Lee said.
Lee adds that while the release of these emails is a big deal today - looking ahead to November, or to the 2016 campaign could mean something very different.
"Right now, it looks like those emails and the attacks on him won't deflect him from his political career. But in politics, six months is a lifetime. Who knows what might happen," Lee said.
Lee says he believes Democrats nationally are trying to use this information to knock Walker out early because insiders believe he has a clear path to the presidency.
On the other side, he believes Republicans are trying to change the narrative and define Mary Burke before she can define herself.