Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Stinging Slap of 2007: Wisconsin

Today, we'll look at the consequences of the Rove Republican Racket in Wisconsin.

Former Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic went after a Wisconsin state employee in 2006 to try to smear the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle, who was running for re-election. She was unfairly prosecuted and convicted.

In 2007, the conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court with a stinging slap.

The Wisconsin State Journal wrote in April of 2007:

A federal appeals court last week slapped down a controversial fraud conviction with a swift, blunt decisiveness almost never seen in the legal system. The ruling struck a blow to the credibility of the Milwaukee-based federal prosecutor who brought the case, and to other investigations related to campaign fundraising by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, said former prosecutors and other legal experts.

The investigations have not led to any charges against Doyle or his aides. The federal prosecutor, who was appointed by President Bush, and the state attorney general, a Republican, say they are continuing...."It will be strongly worded," Van Wagner, a Republican, predicted of the judges' written decision. "It's a statement to the government that you never had enough to get out of the starting gate."Donald Downs, a political science professor who teaches criminal law at UW-Madison, said he could only think of one other case in which an appellate court had simply freed a defendant rather than sending the case back to a trial court.

The decision certainly will make it more difficult for U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic in Milwaukee to continue his investigation of the Doyle administration, Downs said. "It's a slap at the prosecution, you better believe it," Downs said. "It's embarrassing." Adding power to the ruling, Tuerkheimer said, was the fact that it was made by a court with two Republican appointees and one Democrat. Judge Frank Easterbrook was appointed by President Reagan, Judge William J. Bauer by President Ford and Judge Diane Wood by President Clinton.

Biskupic's counterpart in Western Wisconsin, U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson did nothing political and focused on the law.

In a profile written over the weekend by the Associated Press and posted by the Chicago Tribune, Peterson, who remained politically neutral and has done his job diligently, was even smeared by the Rove-Bush-Cheney Racket. Peterson today continues serving as U.S. Attorney in Western Wisconsin under the Obama Adminsitration.

The AP writes:

Then-President George W. Bush named Peterson the top federal prosecutor in the 44-county Western District of Wisconsin in June 2006. His counterpart in Milwaukee, now-former U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, grabbed the headlines after he brought charges against an aide in Gov. Jim Doyle's administration and his name appeared on documents questioning [Peterson's] performance and loyalty to Bush. A U.S. Justice Department inquiry concluded that despite Bush administration denials, political considerations played a part in the firings of as many as four federal prosecutors. Nine U.S. attorneys in all were fired in 2006.