Friday, January 27, 2006

The Good Old Days of Tommylot

I do not subscribe to the "everybody does it" theory of legal defense. I think DA Brian Blanchard got it right the other day when he said, "That's a confession, not a defense."

But the timing of Jim Klauser's endorsement of Mark Green for governor Thursday provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the Good Old Days of Wisconsin's Camelot, when Tommy the Thompson ruled and James the Klauser was the wizard, and the people all pay tribute.

Herr Klauser was the one they called the Deputy Governor, Thompson's brain, his Karl Rove, if you will. Come to think of it, there are a lot of similarities in the Thompson-Klauser relationship to the Bush-Rove team. A likeable doofus out front, mangling the language, while the boys in the back room run the gummint.

Klauser was Tommy's secretary of the Department of Administration, but under Klauser they called it the Department of All. He had almost absolute power that cut across all state agencies, not just DOA. And he also masterminded and called the shots in Thompson's campaigns.

His official biography at We Energies, where he is now ensconced, says:

Mr. Klauser served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (1986-1996). He was designated Secretary Emeritus by Governor Thompson on Jan. 23, 2001. He was Special Counsel to the Governor from 1994 to 1996. Mr. Klauser has served on numerous boards, commissions and committees; among them -- the Wisconsin State Investment Board, the State Building Commission, the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, the Wisconsin Housing and Development Authority Board, the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission and the Local Property Tax Relief Commission. He was a consultant from 1992 to 1996 for the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association. He served as General Chairman, Thompson for Governor Committee (1986-2000). He also served as Co-Chairman, George W. Bush for President–Wisconsin 2000 and as Chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 Wisconsin campaign. He is the Wisconsin Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
I highlighted one line just to help you out.

That's right, Klauser served simultaneously as DOA secretary and Thompson's campaign chairman. With one hand he awarded state contracts, and with the other collected contributions for the Thompson campaign. (Perhaps not literally. But he certainly oversaw the campaign, including its monumental fundraising efforts.)

Marc Marotta left his DOA job recently and became Doyle's campaign chairman. Do you think anyone would have objected if he just held both jobs at once?

Thompson used to say he had no idea who gave money to his campaigns. But Klauser may have had a clue, since his wife, Shirley, was on the campaign payroll, kept its books and prepared its finance reports. The checks and donor information came to Klauser's house.

Not that there's anything wrong with that???

If you wonder what it was like to do business with the State of Wisconsin in the Thompson-Klauser era, here's a look at how it all worked.

Again, nothing Tommy did excuses any wrongdoing by anyone else. But, as he cashes Klauser's check, Mark Green might want to dial down the sanctimony just a notch.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Christopher Robin said...

Funny how you lambast Sykes for the choice "spot" for race baiting.
Doesn't seem much different than the Herr Klauser comment.

I noticed a couple of things not the least of which is that Thompson returned the money. There was no indictment and a 10k donation doesn't buy as much under Doyle.

Your right though saying everyone else does it is a confession. Now if Doyle would do the same imagine how much money could be saved by not having to go to trial.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Xoff said...

Excuse me if you think I was baiting the Aryan race.

Friends and enemies alike called him that.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Libby Johnson said...

Who is David Blanchard?

If you are talking about the Dane County District Attorney, I think you mean "Brian" Blanchard.

He's a democrat...I would have expected you to know him...

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Xoff said...

I have corrected the name. Thanks.

Whether Republilcans or Democrats, I try to have as little contact with district attorneys as possible.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Christopher Robin said...

hopefully you are less successful as Doyle


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