Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Doyle Administration is 45,000 Strong

That sounds high, but it's what you'd need to believe if you're going to buy the latest spin from the right that Georgia Thompson is -- in the words of one prominent conservative blogger -- "a relatively high-ranking member of the Doyle Administration."

It seems the GOP charges against Doyle have come full circle. When Thompson was initially indicted, she was accused by the right of being a high ranking member of Doyle's administration. That accusation was largely put on hold during the trial, perhaps because there was hope that actual evidence would be found linking Thompson to Doyle. Since nothing came to light at trial, some conservatives are choosing to return to the false accusation that Thompson is a part of Doyle's administration and, therefore, at least implicitly connected to the governor.

The fact is Thompson and the 45,000 other civil servants who currently work in the state government are not officials who are part of a particular administration. Civil servants remain a part of the state government regardless of who occupies the governor's mansion. And, as it happens, Thompson began her tenure in state government while Republican Scott McCallum was in office.

What's more, even the prosecuting attorney in the case, Steven Biskupic, said the case was about "Georgia Thompson and Georgia Thompson alone." And that highlights the really interesting facet of the conviction -- no known motive. Biskupic himself called the case "unique" and "difficult" because of this fact. I think that's putting it delicately.

In the end, the conviction proved Marquette law professor Michael O'Hear right. On the eve of the trial, O'Hear said: "The fact is, the sentences are so tough in the federal system, the best way to get any sort of a break on the sentence is to plead guilty and cooperate. Very few defendants are willing to roll the dice. Even some with very excellent defenses are just not willing to take a chance, because trials are kind of random."

Random is certainly how it appeared. Late last week even conservative commentators thought, based upon the case the prosecution presented, that Thompson would be acquitted.

And the fact that Thompson now faces up to 20 years in prison (although she'll likely get much less), the loss of her job, and a permanent felony record shows pretty clearly that if there were any other names to name, it's highly likely they would've been named by now. It's this point that some people still need to accept.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teh investigation is still ongoing. Georgia Thompson was just the beginning. Biskupic did not have to show his whole hand to get a conviction. How many more people will be willing to hold out for Doyle? Not many is my guess...

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Let's review the facts.

Thompson was indicted five months ago. In the meantime, no one else has been indicted or even seriously linked to the case.

Now the trial has taken place and there is still absolutely nothing significantly linking anyone else to the case.

How long do you think Biskupic is going to supposedly hold out on this? What could possibly be his reasoning for doing so?

Plus, by going to trial, Thompson was risking a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, her job (which she probably would've lost regardless), and a permanent felony record. Your argument (along with the GOP) is that she willingly faced all of this for someone who there is no evidence she ever even met, all to protect $10,000 in campaign donations and a $750,000 state contract?

The GOP is just making itself look foolish and petty by pursuing this issue down a road of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more. Biskupic said today that the investigation is continuing. If the there is nothing else to this case - why would he announce that he still going?

Additionally, after Casino Jim struck the tribal deals in exchange for tons of election cash, he set the tone for his governing style. The public knows he is on the take and this conviction just adds to that perception.

The investigation in NOT over.

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I'm not sure where you're getting your info, but Biskupic said he'd be meeting with Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager and Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard to "discuss matters," according to a JS article.

His exact words were -- "I don't want people to read too much into it, other than we are trying to be careful in what we do."

The WSJ article on the conviction is the only one to make the claim definitively that the investigation is continuing, but that claim isn't backed up by any statements or other evidence.

One of the big questions that Doyle critics haven't been able to answer is why Thompson -- if, in fact, she was encouraged to rig the bidding process by her superiors -- didn't give up any names in a plea bargain before the trial. You honestly think she would go to prison and accept a permanent felony record to protect someone who there's no evidence she's ever even met?

June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She may have tried that angle, but Biskupic didn't offer a plea that kept her out of jail, so she rolled the dice - and lost. Now Biskupic will get the same information from her, plus he has his conviction which will certainly influence others involved to be much more weary of locking horns with Biskupic.

There were multiple references in testimony that Georgia felt political pressure from above. While she denied it, the jury clearly believed all the others. Where did this pressure come from? The food chain is short and Marotta is in the crosshairs.

At first he stated he never discussed the contract with Adleman. Then the FBI lists multiple phone calls between Marotta and Adleman..oops.

Then today, Doyle comments that he does not know if Marotta talked to Adelman or not - the CYA is starting.

Biskupic holds all the cards and Marotta almost out of chips...

June 13, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I guess we'll need to wait and see.

But, at this point, I'm not buying the line that Biskupic wouldn't offer Thompson a good enough deal to interest her -- the prosecution's case wasn't that strong. Even some conservative commentators thought the jury was going to bring back an acquittal based upon what the prosecution presented. If Biskupic thought he could get Doyle or even Marotta out of it, I'm sure he would've given Thompson a pretty sweet deal.

In your version of future events, Biskupic does indeed have all of the cards. But there is an equally plausible version that says he's got nothing...except, that is, a prison sentence to recommend for a civil servant who acted alone.

June 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people claiming she acted alone have a (D) by their names. The jury is starting to talk and they beleived that she did not act alone - that she was pressured.

And as for the conservative pronosticators that though she might get off - none of them were actually in the court room. The ones that were, jurors, took only four hours to basically laugh off the defense's case.

I don't know what Biskupic has or doesn't, but from what I have seen, there is just too much out there for this thing to be over.

Remember, the jurors and now the media think Doyle and Marotta are involved. The Dem supporters can calim "she acted alone" all they want. Blood is in the water...

June 14, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Like I said, we'll need to wait and see.

But, just to clarify, those jurors you refer to is actually one juror -- and his story is being told by a talk radio host with a big "R" after her name.

The right has done this before with jurors in high-profile cases. Mark Belling had a juror on his show after the tire-slashing case in Milwaukee this past winter who assured listeners everyone on the jury was ready to convict when the prosecutor pulled the plug and offered a plea bargain. It turned out that other members of the jury contradicted this claim to various news media outlets in the Milwaukee area -- according to them, the jury was deadlocked and a mistrial was likely if a plea deal wasn't reached.

June 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be clear - the jury convicted her in four hours. They did not buy her story - obviously. The only people spinning here are the Doyle supporters. Claiming that there was no evidence that political pressure was involved is simply ridiculous. Testimony that was found credible by the jurt completely contradicts that.

There just are not many people out there who believe Doyle. The process was rigged and they got caught. In today's article in teh MJS - Omega also states that fees were added to their bid to inflate their numbers to get Adleman closer on the raw numbers.

This whole thing stinks - and to say that GT was out to save the taxpayer's money does not pass the smell test.

Doyle's interivew this morning was a disaster. But it was encouraging to actually see the media apply some pressure.

June 14, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

We can keep going round and round on this if you'd like, although I don't think there's much point considering neither of us is aware of exactly what the prosecution has planned next (if anything).

But the fact is the jury convicted Thompson based upon her actions -- they didn't need to answer the why question in order to reach a verdict in 4 hours. In fact, the why question is immaterial to the charges against Thompson (although it's very pertinent to any connections to higher-ups). It was Biskupic himself who said the case was "difficult" and "unique" because the why question wasn't answered (to verify, see my link to the WisPolitics Courtwatch blog in the post).

June 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is true - but the why is in regard to why she felt the need to help her bosses - not why did she manipulate the scores. It was clear that she did it to gain favor with her bosses.

Did she do it under orders? That is the part that was left unclear. I say yes. I think most people will come to the same conclusion. Why would this non-political person manipulate the scores? Logic would tell you that she was told to.

But you are right - we will have to wait and see on the specifics of the investigation. However, the media won't wait - so all of the stem cell press releases in the world won't distract from this case.

June 14, 2006  

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