MILWAUKEE -- Former Milwaukee County worker, Darlene Wink pleaded guilty to charges Tuesday related to a John Doe probe. Wink pleaded guilty in exchange for providing information for another investigation. Wink faces two misdemeanor counts of intentional political solicitation by a public employee and will be sentenced May 15th.
Wink was Governor Scott Walker's constituent services coordinator when he was Milwaukee County Executive. Wink is accused of engaging in fundraising activity for Walker's gubernatorial campaign while in a County building, using County equipment. Wink is adamant that Walker was unaware of the campaign work she was doing on County time.
Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski doesn't believe Wink's claim that Walker knew nothing. "We don't know what the days ahead are going to show, but it's pretty clear that every criminal act performed by Wink, which she pleaded guilty to today, was done for Walker. The people of Wisconsin should be afraid that he has imported this criminal culture to Madison," Zielinski said.
Prosecutors did their part with the misdemeanor charges, and now Wink must do her part. "She's agreed to cooperate fully with any information that the district attorney is looking for. She wants to cooperate fully particularly with the embezzlement charges, and we'll see where the investigations lead from there," Defense Attorney Peter Wolff said. Additionally, as part of the plea deal, prosecutors are free to argue for probation or fines versus jail time, but ultimately, the sentence will be up to a judge.
On Friday, Governor Walker voluntarily agreed to meet with the Milwaukee County district attorney regarding the John Doe Investigation. So far, the meeting has not happened. Walker has said the following regarding the John Doe investigation and the charges against Wink: "I had a clear and defined expressed policy that individuals who worked for me in my office or in my cabinet, or for the County at that time were prohibited from using County time or County resources for political purposes."
So far, charges have been filed against five people as a result of the John Doe Investigation. It is unclear at this time whether Wink will assist in their prosecutions. Without this plea deal, Wink would face a maximum of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.