The case was curious from the beginning. As Thompson’s attorney, Stephen Hurley, noted, the state worker was a civil servant hired during Republican Gov. Scott McCallum’s tenure, making Thompson’s supposed bias toward Doyle seem improbable; she didn’t profit from the contract; no one else was named in connection with her supposed fraud; she didn’t name names or plead to a lesser charge to save herself; and the contract did, indeed, go to the lowest bidder, as is required. So where’s the crime?
But other factors bothered us. Why was Thompson charged with federal crimes? As we noted in a news article last summer, Thompson’s attorney argued that “at best, the evidence demonstrates a violation of the applicable sections of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.”
It also seemed curious that Thompson was tried in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee. She lived and worked in Madison and was a state employee, and the fact that Adelman Travel’s headquarters is located in Milwaukee has nothing to do with the case. Even though then-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard helped to investigate the case, they declined to bring charges. But Biskupic, a Bush appointee, did, even though it really didn’t have anything to do with his jurisdiction. At the time of the trial, we wondered whether Biskupic truly believed he had a strong case, which would cause one to question his competence, or whether he knew that there really wasn’t a case but succumbed to Republican political pressure.
But now, after weeks of news about Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, we may have an answer to our questions. Feeling the political pressure, Biskupic first tried to find the massive voter fraud that the Republican Party and the Journal Sentinel, along with their talk-radio friends, screamed was rampant in the city of Milwaukee. They even provided hundreds of names of “illegal voters” that Biskupic attempted to track down. After spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, he found that there was no rampant voter fraud.
So Biskupic, in an attempt to satisfy his bosses, then went after Georgia Thompson. To destroy an innocent woman’s life was no problem for Biskupic if it could be used to help defeat Gov. Doyle. Once Georgia Thompson was charged, the Republican Party, the Journal Sentinel and the right-wing talk-show hosts used this indictment to try to make Doyle look corrupt.
Now Biskupic is at it again. He has indicted Dennis Troha for illegally channeling donations to Doyle. Once again, the political target of Biskupic is being tried in the press, on the front pages of the Journal Sentinel, which has already decided that Doyle is corrupt and just needs the right case—or perhaps the right prosecutor—to prove it.
The real question is why Biskupic hasn’t investigated Troha family contributions of tens of thousands of dollars to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and President Bush. Rep. Ryan received more than $50,000 in campaign contributions from the Troha family. The only difference is that Paul Ryan actually introduced special-interest legislation for Troha, signed by Bush, that substantially increased the value of Troha’s business. Ryan provided a clear quid pro quo and he should be investigated and perhaps indicted. Ryan, of course, denied he knew this was happening; however, when a congressman introduces special-interest legislation for a major contributor, what is he thinking about? If Biskupic is really trying to ferret out corruption, why isn’t he investigating Ryan, where there is actually a smoking gun of corruption? But, wait a second, isn’t Paul Ryan a Republican?
Friday, April 13, 2007
Details of the the Wisconsin US Attorney Scandal
From the Shepherd Express on the Georgia Thompson case: