WI: CCW - The first domino that leads to Doyle has fallen...


PDA






AJ Dual
June 13, 2006, 11:29 AM
"Of course, she was acting on her own", and risked prison as a mid-level paper-pusher in state government, just for the hell of it. :)

She seemed genuinely shocked at the verdict. I guess Doyle dosen't have as much pull with the Feds as she was told... Methinks she should have talked. Now if she tries to get a deal on sentencing, she risks proving that she comitted perjury. However, the FBI is still interested in the case.

There's still a slim chance she'll sing in exchange for a sentencing recomendation and a perjury immunity agreement...

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=434798

Official convicted in travel deal

She acted on own, Doyle says, but case may be election issue

By STEVE SCHULTZE
sschultze@journalsentienl.com
Posted: June 12, 2006

A federal jury on Monday convicted a state procurement official of fixing a travel contract for a contributor to Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign, adding a potentially explosive issue to the race for governor this fall.



Doyle and his top aides stressed that the two felony convictions represented an isolated instance.

"It is clear that Georgia Thompson acted on her own, and that no other state employee was involved," Doyle said in a statement.

"As I have stated before, I have zero tolerance for ethical lapses in government. When public servants abuse the public's trust, they forfeit their rights to continue in the state's employ."

Thompson will likely be fired, pending a required review of her case, Doyle officials said.

U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said after the verdict that the case was about "Georgia Thompson and Georgia Thompson alone." She was found guilty of manipulating the travel bidding to "cause political advantage for her supervisors" and bolster her own job security.

Biskupic said the team that investigated the case, which included him, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, would meet soon to discuss matters.

He declined to say whether any other Doyle administration officials or others would now be targeted.

"I don't want people to read too much into it, other than we are trying to be careful in what we do," said Biskupic, an appointee of President Bush's.

Like Doyle, Lautenschlager and Blanchard are Democrats.

Steve Bablitch, Doyle's top government aide, said at the federal courthouse in Milwaukee that his own in-house inquiry into what Republicans dubbed "Travelgate" found no evidence that any of Thompson's bosses at the Administration Department urged her to steer a $750,000 contract to Adelman Travel Group of Glendale last year. Doyle canceled the contract after Thompson's indictment in January.

State Republican Party Chairman Rick Graber, however, was quick to go on the attack. He said Thompson's trial "showed how far this administration is willing to go to reward political cronies and campaign donors."

U.S. Rep. Mark Green, Doyle's Republican opponent, refrained from direct criticism of Doyle and renewed his support for a ban on campaign contributions from officials of companies seeking state contracts.

No 'play for pay' allegations
The case against Thompson, 56, of Waunakee, did not include any direct allegations of "pay to play" - that the contract was a reward for contributions. Still, Biskupic noted in court Monday that the thousands of dollars given by Adelman executives around the time the contract was awarded were part of an overall picture.

Adelman executives donated $20,000 to Doyle's campaign in the months around the March 2005 contract award.

Graber said Doyle owes voters a better explanation of his involvement and that of Marc Marotta, the former administration secretary who is Doyle's re-election campaign chairman. Marotta said last week that he would be out of the country on business Monday and unreachable for comment.

Testimony at the trial showed that Doyle and Marotta had separate meetings with Adelman executives before the contract was awarded, and that Marotta's office was in phone contact with Adelman officials when key issues on the contract were being decided.

Bablitch, however, said no evidence was presented "that the governor had anything to do with this."

He predicted that the case would have little impact on voters, who he said would pay more attention to Doyle's record on cutting the state deficit without raising taxes, improving education and improving the state's business climate.

Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist, said the trial could contribute to a perception problem for Doyle.

"I think Doyle has a problem in that tainted money has been coming up for him repeatedly," Franklin said. "Some of that has been fair and some of that hasn't been fair, but politics isn't about fair."

Franklin said any damage was minimized in that nothing in the trial implicated Doyle or any of his political appointees.

Thompson was a civil service hire in 2001 under then-Republican Gov. Scott McCallum. She has been described as somewhat apolitical. She testified that no one pressured her to help Adelman win the contract and that the process employed to select Adelman saved the state money.

Thompson appeared shaken after the verdict and declined to speak to reporters. Her attorney, Stephen Hurley, also would not comment on the outcome. Biskupic said he expected Hurley to appeal the convictions.

Thompson's sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 22. She faces up to 20 years in prison, but federal guidelines will likely recommend a far lesser term, Biskupic said.

During closing arguments Monday, Biskupic labeled Thompson a liar.

"She lied; we know she lied," Biskupic said, noting that Thompson's story in court differed from what several prosecution witnesses recalled her saying.

Thompson used political considerations to alter the process to steer the contract to Adelman, according to Biskupic. Although she was one of seven members of a committee that evaluated proposals, she engineered a move to take "best and final" offers that resulted in a reversal of the outcome, Biskupic said.

No charges against Adelman
Omega World Travel of Fairfax, Va., had initially scored higher than Adelman.

"It couldn't have worked better (for Adelman) if they had had one of their own employees on that committee," Biskupic told jurors.

No one from Adelman has been charged in the case.

Hurley said no direct evidence proving Thompson had rigged the contract had been presented at her trial, which began a week ago before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa.

Several witnesses testified that after Omega appeared to be the winning bidder, Thompson said that would pose political problems. She also feared having to tell her bosses the winner wasn't Adelman and that the result should be different, according to trial testimony.

Hurley said none of those witnesses, however, could remember exactly what was said. State travel consultant Ian Thomas, who testified that Thompson had said, "I don't know how I'm going to tell my bosses it's not Adelman," later testified that Thompson might have said something about wanting a "local company" to win the contract.

The prosectors' case against Thompson boiled down to "bits and pieces" that misinterpreted events in the most damning light, Hurley said. A common-sense reading of all the facts presented shows she was not guilty, Hurley said.

"Proof is required, not a suspicion," he said.

Doyle campaign aide Anson Kaye said Monday that Doyle would not return the Adelman contributions because only Thompson was involved in wrongdoing.

Patrick Marley and Jesse Garza of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.



From the June 13, 2006 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If you enjoyed reading about "WI: CCW - The first domino that leads to Doyle has fallen..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
FireBreather01
June 13, 2006, 11:50 AM
Even if she doesn't directly implicate Doyle the fact remains that he has created an atmosphere in his administration where behavior like this is commonplace and encouraged - he's sleazy, sleazy, sleazy.

Monkeyleg
June 13, 2006, 05:36 PM
"As I have stated before, I have zero tolerance for ethical lapses in government. When public servants abuse the public's trust, they forfeit their rights to continue in the state's employ."

Yeah, Guv. That's why we want you out of office. We don't like "ethical lapses," either, and you've sure committed a lot of them.

Standing Wolf
June 13, 2006, 06:24 PM
We don't like "ethical lapses," either, and you've sure committed a lot of them.

I believe I'd be more inclined to say Doyle simply is an ethical lapse.

foghornl
June 14, 2006, 08:18 AM
Hizzoner The Guv's name should be Boyle...as in "A big boil on my @@@

:evil: :D :evil: :D

Trip20
June 14, 2006, 09:40 AM
When I daydream... I see Doyle being wisked away in cuffs with that, "I'm not a crook" look on his face....

Wow, that was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye. <sniffle>

pete f
June 14, 2006, 05:48 PM
When are the people ofthe state going to ask for a recall. The man is so crooked, so deceitful, everyday I am at my parents he is dealing with another scandal.

Monkeyleg
June 14, 2006, 06:38 PM
My parents, who are in the late 80's, are lifelong FDR Democrats. My dad claims that he voted for a Republican once, but I don't believe him. ;)

At any rate, they're both fed up with Doyle's corruption and will not vote for him again.

I take that as a positive sign.

Also positive is the fact that Georgia Thompson still has time before her sentencing to cop a plea bargain. Since I don't see anything in what she did benefitting her personally, I really think she's going to do some serious thinking about what 20 years in prison could be like.

Also, did anybody notice that Doyle's campaign manager, Marc Marotta, is out of town and not available for comment? Sort of like back in February when Doyle hid in Afghanistan when these stories were about to break.

Still, though, it makes me sick that this woman is looking at serious prison time for fudging the bidding process for the travel office, while Chuck Chvala is only getting a few months at home. And he extorted $1.14 million from lobbyists.

FireBreather01
June 14, 2006, 09:31 PM
A great observation:
Also, did anybody notice that Doyle's campaign manager, Marc Marotta, is out of town and not available for comment? Sort of like back in February when Doyle hid in Afghanistan when these stories were about to break.

And now this from today's Journal/Sentinel article:
He (Doyle) also said he didn't know if Marotta - then secretary of administration, now campaign chairman - had discussed the contract with Adelman officials when the decision was made to go to a "best and final offer."
I find that quote just amazing because now Doyle is distancing himself from Marc Marotta - his own secretary of administration and campaign manager. Everyone in Madison knows that these two are tied at the hip. For Doyle to 'pretend' that he doesn't know what Marotta has or hasn't done is just ridiculous. It shows the lengths to which Doyle will go to protect himself - that he'd throw a friend in front of a bus if it would help his political career.

cracked butt
June 14, 2006, 10:28 PM
Peg Lautenschlager is looking better and better compared to the rest of the administration- at least she's only a drunk who abuses state vehicle priviladges.:evil:

gc70
June 14, 2006, 10:52 PM
Still, though, it makes me sick that this woman is looking at serious prison time for fudging the bidding process for the travel office, while Chuck Chvala is only getting a few months at home. And he extorted $1.14 million from lobbyists.You can buy better lawyers with $1.14 million than with the gratitude of your supervisors. :evil:

Monkeyleg
June 14, 2006, 11:01 PM
FireBreather01, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Doyle is distancing himself from Marotta. These stories lose their luster quickly; by being unavailable for comment, Marotta won't say anything that can come back to haunt him later.

This is just Classic Political Shenanigans 101: when you're in trouble, be somewhere else. It worked for Nixon when he went to China, and worked for every other president I can think of.

For Marotta, though, foreign travel is not a real option. So where did he go? Cudahy?

If you enjoyed reading about "WI: CCW - The first domino that leads to Doyle has fallen..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!