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A travel-services contract awarded to a hefty financial contributor to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has triggered a joint state/federal investigation into potential bribery charges, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports this morning:
Federal, state and Dane County authorities have launched a joint investigation into a travel contract given to the company of a major contributor to Gov. Jim Doyle, officials said Thursday. ...
In March, Adelman Travel was awarded a three-year contract with the state worth up to $250,000 a year. Before and after bids were solicited and the contract awarded, the firm's owner, Craig B. Adelman, gave the $10,000 maximum allowed to Doyle's re-election campaign.
A competing company, Omega World Travel of Fairfax, Va., led the bidding at one point in the process. But state officials said both bids were so close that they asked for head-to-head final prices - and Adelman won that competition.
Also, a member of Adelman Travel's board, Mitchell Fromstein, gave Doyle's campaign the maximum $10,000 allowed at about the time the contract became effective, campaign finance records show.
One key piece that will interest investigators will be a look to see how close that first round of bidding got. If they find that the numbers for Adelman came in higher than Omega by any significant margin, the entire second round might have been unnecessary -- and could indicate that the state gave Adelman a second chance. They will also look for any inappropriate contacts between Doyle and Adelman among lower-level staff members, such as e-mail, telephone logs, and such. Many of these kinds of cases get unraveled by finding contacts like that and doing some arm-twisting to get testimony about how people like Doyle, Adelman, and Fromstein could have directed a contract award behind the scenes, if in fact that happened at all.
Wisconsin has a bit of a problem with public corruption. In addition to the electoral case discussed below, several Wisconsin elected officials have either faced or been convicted of serious charges of abuse of their offices. US District Attorney Steven Biskupic, a Bush appointee, has kept busy with indictments and convictions for a prominent legislator and a former Democratic Party chairman. He has several leading Republicans under indictment for what the MJS calls "tainted donations". Doyle had hoped to be the first Democratic governor to win a second term, but Biskupic's new investigation might put a serious dent in his plans.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on October 21, 2005 7:04 AM
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