JUNE 13, 2006
Wisconsin’s governor categorically denies pressuring a purchasing official–convicted this week of fraud–to award a lucrative state contract to a company owned by his longtime buddy who also happens to be a big time campaign contributor.
Georgia Thompson, a state Department of Administration purchasing supervisor, was convicted in a Milwaukee federal court of fraud and misapplication of state funds for illegally steering a $750,000 contract to the governor’s rich friend, the owner of Adelman Travel Group. Coincidentally, Adelman Travel contributed $10,000 to Doyle’s reelection campaign before and another $10,000 after winning the contract.
The governor apparently wants his constituents to believe that it is simply a coincidence. He issued a statement denying any wrongdoing or knowledge of the suspicious transaction: “From the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense, it is clear that Georgia Thompson acted on her own and that no other state employee was involved.”
Doyle’s critics say Thomson is simply the fall guy and that her conviction proves how far his administration is willing to go to reward political cronies and campaign donors. His Republican gubernatorial opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, said the conviction underscored the need to ban campaign contributions by officials of companies bidding on state contracts.
Doyle’s campaign manager immediately blamed the fiasco on partisan politics, publishing a letter on a Wisconsin political web site accusing Republicans of spinning facts about the trial to include the governor. Crazy Politico’s Rantings points out, however, that the Democratic governor of Wisconsin has a problem with the lining of his pockets, which are dirty in the form of $20,000 donations from Adelman Travel.
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