Friday, January 27, 2006

Goo-goos get their 15 minutes of fame

All Will Rogers and I know is what we read in the newspapers, and what I know from reading them the last few days is that there are some peculiar things going on.

The State Ethics Board is asked to investigate whether a Dept. of Transportation official violated the law when he sponsored a campaign fund-raiser for the governor. The board does an exhaustive investigation and finds that the DOT employee did nothing illegal. But the chairman of the board offers the gratuitous observation that the board thinks it should be illegal. That's what makes the news. That's an interesting new standard.

Meanwhile, Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has gone far beyond being an advocate for campaign finance reform. He's become part of the investigation, a cheerleader for more charges, and now had some ideas about reorganizing the government, too, apparently to make every position civil service. McCabe in the Wis. State Journal:

Mike McCabe, the head of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, suggested there was a different sort of inertia at work, one of political favoritism. McCabe said the presence of politically connected officials like [Pat] Farley without good qualifications, especially in controversial cases such as the travel contract, undermine public confidence in government.

"They're political people and therein lies the problem," said McCabe, adding that he thinks prosecutors will try to use the heavy penalty Thompson faces - up to 20 years of imprisonment if convicted - to convince her to give evidence against her bosses.
McCabe apparently is the one who told the Badger Herald about the grand jury:

[McCabe] said University of Wisconsin officials told him a federal grand jury is probing the state travel contract given to Adelman Travel Systems of Milwaukee.

"I heard about it from UW officials," McCabe said. "But we've been contacted over the course of a pretty long period of time by FBI agents, state justice department officials and the U.S. Attorney's Office about this."

The authorities have been looking for information on Doyle's campaign contributions from Adelman officials over the past six months, McCabe said, and are also investigating other campaign practices that have raised red flags.

"Obviously in this case, they have reached the point where they feel a federal grand jury is warranted," McCabe said, adding other state-contract awards may also be brought into question...

McCabe said a procurement committee member who was mentioned in an article in the Wisconsin State Journal told McCabe he was involved in the grand jury inquiry.
McCabe bragged to the Journal Sentinel that he has offered records to the investigators -- and reaches his own conclusion:

Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said his organization had given the state investigators records of $43,000 in utility-related donations to Doyle's campaign. McCabe said the state investigators told him they were going to turn the materials over to the office of Milwaukee-based U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic, who is leading the state-federal probe.

McCabe said his group also volunteered records documenting increased donations by SBC executives to the governor's campaign in 2004. The timing of SBC donations to Doyle were "interesting," McCabe said, because the governor later signed a $108 million, five-year telecommunications contract with an alliance led by SBC.

McCabe said state investigators came to him asking for records of campaign donations to aid Doyle's re-election bid. The non-profit Democracy Campaign has the most complete database of campaign gifts of $100 or more to Capitol officials.

"It's not our job to decide if laws have been broken," McCabe said. "It's the job of citizens to decide." He added that he personally believes the campaign cash played too great a role in Doyle administration decisions.
McCabe tells JS columnist Mike Nichols:

The real scandal in Wisconsin is what is perfectly legal," Mike McCabe, the executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, told me. "We have a legalized system of extortion and bribery."
This isn't all, by any means, or even the worst. It's what was relatively easy to grab in a Google search.

McCabe goes a little farther every day to take on the roles of investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.

And the news media just lap it up.

Pretty heady stuff for a guy who used to work as an Assembly staffer (before the cleanup) and got 16% of the primary vote when he ran for the Assembly himself. (Like Ed Garvey, he decided that if he couldn't win, there must be something wrong with the system. In both cases, a little introspection could have gone a long way.)

NOTE: We should not ignore Jay Heck of Common Cause, who runs a strong second, but McCabe wins the whoring off to the media contest hands-down.

Heck, by the way, has a few skeletons of his own. He knows firsthand how sleazy Capitol politics can be. The Wis. State Journal, in 2004:
Jay Heck, former communications director for the Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC), recalled with irony the campaigning he said he and other caucus staff members did during his tenure from 1989 to 1991... "Much of that (campaigning) was done right on state property," Heck said. "You were, essentially, in many cases, the campaign apparatus for the candidates."
Even after leaving the caucus and joining Common Cause, Heck never blew the whistle.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger Christopher Robin said...

So let the character attacks begin.

Just as the Packers script there first 15 plays so do the LIBERALS

Play 1: Pooh-Pooh the story-see Marc Morata-"silly season"

Play 2: Deny anything was done wrong--the claim that the contract saved the state money and kept the contract in the state. I thought that was what we were supposed to do.

Play 3: Deny any knowledge-Doyle I never met the woman.

Play 4: Attack the messenger-Your post.

Future plays to look for:

-Adelman money returned
-Rebid contract
-Proposal of reforms to bidding process proposed by Doyle-Of course they will be useless.
-Political figure in Doyle's inner circle resigns to take the fall.

Much like the Packers the quality of talent doesn't exist and the scripters fail.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Other Side said...

Let's see, Christopher Robin:

1.Regarding Abramhoff: Pooh pooh. Everyone does it.

2. Tom DeLay continues to deny he did anything wrong.

3. The president does not know Mr. Abramoff (lovely pix, though).

4. It's a conspiracy of the liberal media.

5. Newt Gingrich proposes reforms (hah hah, that's a good one).

6. Can you say Scooter Libby?

I think I've covered everything. My oh my...looks like it's straight from the conservative playbook.

At 5:05 PM, Blogger Christopher Robin said...

apparently there isn't much of a differance in the two.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Ragnar Mentaire said...

Well said. Maybe somebody should sue him.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Other Side said...

Christopher're right. Both use the same playbook.

Ragnar're not very bright.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger xoffNOT said...

Xoff - let me get this right.

You have nothing to say about the facts. Your response to Doyle selling our state government to the highest bidder is to personally attack Mike McCabe.

This is pretty pitiful.

I guess there is no defense for Jim Doyle's shanagins. Thanks for making this so very clear.


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