Madison Capitol.JPG

The Mississippi River doesn’t stop the infestation of pissy deer disease (or is it chronically wasted deer?) and I doubt it contains political corruption. Today’s paper is full of whining politicans caught taking money from utilities, and caucus employees doing campaign work on caucus/taxpayer time. They got caught in Wisconsin, and are pleading guilty faster than court reporters can type! Former goobernatorial candidate Chuck Chvala has plead and they’re arguing about restitution, and current Gov. Doyle is under investigation. But not to worry, a handful of Repugs have been caught too! In Wisconsin, they’re equal opportunity prosecutors.

Former WI State Senator Chuck Chvala

In the St.PPP today is Chvala’s whining about nominal restitution: Prosecutors propose Chvala pay $2,044 in restitution

Prosecutors want former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala to pay $2,044.96 in restitution for having state workers campaign on state time.

The Madison Democrat’s attorney has filed an objection to that amount.

“There isn’t even any basis for the $2,044,” James Olson said.

Three other convicted former legislators face restitution of $3,500 to $300,000 as part of a Capitol corruption investigation.

Again, St.PPP: Former staffer pleads not guilty of fraud

Looks like the judge thought she might take an early retirement to some warm clime:

A former state employee accused of illegally steering a state contract to a firm whose executives donated money to Gov. Jim Doyle’s campaign pleaded not guilty in federal court on Friday.

Georgia Thompson, 55, was released on her own recognizance following the hearing on two federal fraud charges. Thompson’s attorney, Stephen P. Hurley, entered the plea for the former state purchasing official.

Thompson didn’t speak to the judge or her lawyer during the five-minute proceeding except to acknowledge she had her passport with her.

Magistrate Judge William E. Callahan ordered her to surrender it and stay in Wisconsin throughout the duration of the case.

With Democrats Chvala and Burke going down in flames, you’d think that the Repugs would back off on their claims of persecution! But noooooooooooooo… Check this, also in the St.PPP today: Judge won’t dismiss charges against Jensen

Attorneys for Jensen, R-Waukesha, and former GOP aide Sherry Schultz argued they were victims of selective prosecution. Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, a Democrat, ignored Democrats in the Assembly and went after only Republicans in a probe into illegal campaigning at the State Capitol, they claimed.

But Judge Steven Ebert wouldn’t have it, pointing out that Blanchard prosecuted former state Sen. Brian Burke, a Milwaukee Democrat, in the same investigation and district attorneys have broad discretion in choosing who to charge.

“Democrats were prosecuted as well for the same offenses,” Ebert said.

The probe into Capitol corruption resulted in charges in 2002 against three Republican lawmakers â?? Jensen and former Reps. Steve Foti of Oconomowoc and Bonnie Ladwig of Racine. Also charged were two Democrats â?? Burke and former Sen. Chuck Chvala of Madison.

The charges came after Blanchard and other investigators spent months looking into reports of state workers illegally running lawmakers’ campaigns.

The investigation was sparked by Wisconsin State Journal reports that found state employees illegally campaign for legislative candidates on taxpayers’ time and the legislative caucuses â?? one for each party in each house â?? intended for research operate as secret campaign machines. The reports quoted a former Republican Assembly Caucus aide.

Burke, Chvala, Foti and Ladwig all have been convicted of reduced charges in plea deals.

Jensen faces three felony misconduct in office charges stemming from his supervision of the Assembly Republican Caucus, hiring Schultz to work as a full-time fundraiser on state time and using his legislative staff to work on his political campaigns. He also faces a misdemeanor for using his public position to obtain financial gain for the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee.

Schultz faces one count of felony misconduct in office stemming from her alleged work as a full-time fundraiser.

They face a joint trial set to begin Feb. 21.

And this — are you seeing a trend? Doyle returns $10,000 from two execs

Gov. Jim Doyle has returned $10,000 in campaign donations that came from executives of a Manitowoc company two days before a state panel recommended the firm for a $1.1 million grant.

Doyle last month returned $5,000 donations from Burger Boat Co. president David Ross and vice president James Ruffolo the two made in November, according to a campaign finance report filed Tuesday.

Two days after they made the donations, a Department of Transportation advisory committee accepted the company’s $1.1 million grant proposal for a boat ramp. If Doyle approves the grant, the company would become the first private firm to receive a harbor assistance grant.

Doyle said Wednesday the contributions had nothing to do with the committee’s action but acknowledged the close timing.

“I just thought it was better to give the money back so there wouldn’t be a suggestion” of wrongdoing, he said.

The timing has nothing to do with it… uh-huh…

If you want to have some fun, go to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Site and plug in their names. That’s Charles Chvala (there are two, don’t get him confused with the sex offender), Georgia Thompson, Scott R. Jensen, Sherry Schultz, Brian Burke, Steven M. Foti, Bonnie Ladwig. And if you plug in my name, well, remember, as a truck driver I had a perfect record, but give me a break, coming home from Madison after a long week, wagging German Shepherds and the Capitol in the mirror, the Nevilles on and a Diamante that loves to run… whaddya think Dog gave me a speedo that goes to 150 for?

(Just celebrated a 32,000 mile year with my new one with no repairs, let’s hear it for quality. Thanks to Kevin Huntington for finding it for me!)

The internet never fails to amuse me — while looking for photos of the Capitol building in Madison, I found The Urinals of Wisconsin State Capitol Building. Really…

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