Then-Wisconsin GOP chair Reince Priebus (left) emailed Scott Walker (right) about his 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary opponent.
In a July 1, 2010 email, released Wednesday among thousands of documents related to the John Doe probe of Scott Walker's former aides, Priebus tips off Walker -- then Milwaukee County executive and a candidate for governor -- to his primary opponent's planned line of attack.
The subject line of the email, sent about two months before the Sept. 14 primary, reads, "Neumann Confidential." Walker's primary opponent was former congressman Mark Neumann.
In the email, copied to political consultant R.J. Johnson, Priebus alerts Walker that "Neumann will be looking at two areas very soon -- the county debt and how it is calculated -- something about 'mortgaging the future' and why Walker dropped out of college."
Priebus left the state Republican Party to become chair of the Republican National Committee in January 2011.
Within 15 minutes, Walker forwarded the email to Cindy Archer, a top aide, saying, "Get me all the facts I can get on the debt. Plus, I should go over the POBs [pension obligation bonds]."
Walker was supportive of Milwaukee County issuing $400 million in pension obligation bonds to cover a shortfall in the pension fund. It's a controversial strategy and was ultimately used against him in a campaign ad by Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.
Archer responded to Walker early the next day: "Let's talk this morning about what kind of data would be most helpful to you. My initial thought on this was -- 'I don't really care what Mark Neumann thinks, I care about what the rating agencies think.' We have some excellent quotes from our last rating agency analysis.
I also think I may have some data for you as early as today on maintenance spending."
A call left for Priebus late Wednesday at the press department of the Republican National Committee was not returned. An attempt to reach Neumann was also unsuccessful.
A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report on the emails released Wednesday link Walker more closely to a secret email system used in his office that mixed county and campaign business.
The unsealed emails also included open records requests submitted by the Mark Neumann for Governor campaign to Milwaukee County offices on June 7, about three weeks before Priebus' email to Walker.
One request asked for, among other things, the personnel records of Milwaukee County employees, including Scott Walker and his aides. "The purpose of this request is to uncover information on employees suspected of campaigning for Scott Walker for Governor using Milwaukee County resources or while on Milwaukee County time."
Another asked for any electronic correspondence to or from a host of people that contained such words or phrases as "Neumann," "Republican Party of Wisconsin," and "Reince" or "Priebus."