What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 13, 2007

A Justice Department Snapshot

Via Talkingpointsmemo, I found a very interesting op-ed from the Sheperd Express, an "alternative" weekly newspaper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

You just gotta love those alternative weeklies. I used to write for one, by the way. It was called The Front and I think it had a circulation roughly the size of this city's Cleveland Brown fan base. My understanding is that it just couldn't compete with such big-time fat-cat establishment mainstream media outlets like Chris Potter's City Paper.

Anyway, the Sheperd Express offers up an interesting snapshot into how Justice, dubya-style, works in America these days. The story is all about the political skewing of what should be a politics-neutral governmental department.
Thursday’s ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which immediately freed former state worker Georgia Thompson, was a stunner. Not only did the three federal judges immediately give Thompson her freedom, but they also delivered a smack-down to the Milwaukee office of U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, calling the evidence in the case “beyond thin.”
Some background on the case:
Last June, just as the race for governor was heating up, Georgia Thompson was convicted of improperly steering a state contract to the Adelman Travel Group, which is run by a politically involved family that has a history of favoring Democrats.
And it turns out that even though Thompson got her job during the previous Republican administration, didn't profit from the contract in question, (which, as truth be told, did go to the lowest bidder), didn't live in the district where the charges were filed, and wasn't charged by any local authories, federal charges were filed anyway. Who cares about jurisdiction? Who cares about the rule of law?

Why would a US Attorney do such a thing?

But now, after weeks of news about Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department, we may have an answer to our questions. Feeling the political pressure, Biskupic first tried to find the massive voter fraud that the Republican Party and the Journal Sentinel, along with their talk-radio friends, screamed was rampant in the city of Milwaukee. They even provided hundreds of names of “illegal voters” that Biskupic attempted to track down. After spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, he found that there was no rampant voter fraud.

So Biskupic, in an attempt to satisfy his bosses, then went after Georgia Thompson. To destroy an innocent woman’s life was no problem for Biskupic if it could be used to help defeat Gov. Doyle. Once Georgia Thompson was charged, the Republican Party, the Journal Sentinel and the right-wing talk-show hosts used this indictment to try to make Doyle look corrupt.

But the point here has less to do with the original trial than it has with the bigger picture. It was never about Thompson. It was about how the Bush administration was using a US Attorney's office to commit political damage to a Democratic candidate prior to an election. When allegations of voter fraud turned out to be bogus (as they almost always do), the next target is a politically motivated show trail on evidence that's "beyond thin."

Whether the trial ends in a prosecution is of little value - as long as the damage is done to a Republican's Democratic opponent.

By the way, Doyle was re-elected and this case is being investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ah, oversight. It's such a bee-you-tiful word!

1 comment:

Schmuck Shitrock said...

We all knew that the Bush Administration was sponsoring political terrorism of this sort from the very beginning, unchecked by a complicit Republican Congress under the leadership of the likes of Delay and Frist; but now that the depth and stench of their day-to-day corruption is being exposed -- well, it's spectacular, breathtaking.

The Bush/Cheney resume is unmatched for accomplishments in lying, abuse of power, corruption, and theft of American and world resources. In terms of wasted lives, it will be surpassed only by Johnson and Nixon if at all.