Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Preview of tomorrow's front page story

I assume we'll see this story on the front page tomorrow morning.

Why the front page? Well, the Journal Sentinel has run five -- count 'em, five -- page one stories about the issue, not to mention one on the front page of the Metro section and an editorial. (See the list below.)

Now that the Ethics Board has found no wrongdoing, the paper will undoubtedly want to correct the record.

State Ethics Board clears DOT official

Madison - The state Ethics Board today issued a report clearing a political appointee of Gov. Jim Doyle of any wrongdoing for inviting state road contractors to a Doyle fund-raiser, but the chairman of the board said it should be illegal for appointees to organize such events.

The report was issued the day after Georgia Thompson, a civil servant in Doyle’s Department of Administration, was indicted for allegedly defrauding the state by awarding a contract to Adelman Travel, whose CEO donated the maximum allowed $10,000 to Doyle around the time the contract was being considered. Craig Adelman previously had never given more than $1,000 to a governor or candidate for governor.

Today’s report said Deputy Transportation Secretary Ruben Anthony Jr. did no wrong by inviting dozens of consultants who vie for $100 million in state engineering contracts to a Sept. 8 fund-raiser he organized. The Ethics Board concluded that he never promised to use his position to steer contracts to particular companies. The report also found no one in the department used state resources to organize the event.

“While it may seem objectionable to some that a state official would organize and sponsor a fund-raiser and invite to that fund-raiser individuals who do business with the state agency with which the official is associated, Wisconsin statutes do not prohibit or restrict that practice,” Ethics Board Chairman James Morgan said in a statement accompanying the report.

“The Ethics Board believes that statutes should prohibit this activity.”

The report also said some of those consultants were not just invitees, but sponsors of the event. They include high-ranking officials with DAAR Engineering, CH2M Hill, Kapur and Associates and Short Elliott and Hendrickson Inc.

The Ethics Board voted on the matter Tuesday, but did not release its findings until today.

-By Patrick Marley

Previous stories:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
DOT official's fund-raiser questioned
Posted: Oct. 28, 2005
Pg. 1

DOT official's role murky
Posted: Nov. 2, 2005
Pg. 1

Doyle fund-raiser under review
Posted: Nov. 10, 2005
Page 1

Doyle presents ethics changes
Posted: Jan. 5, 2006
Page 1

Cash paves way for roads
Posted: Jan. 14, 2006
Page 1

Doyle rebuffs review questions
Posted: Jan. 4, 2006
Section B Page 1

Editorial: Legal? How about proper?
Posted: Nov. 4, 2005


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