“Dating back to mid-2004, the White House's legislative affairs, political affairs and chief of staff's office had received complaints from a variety of sources about the lack of vigorous prosecution of election fraud cases in various locations, including Philadelphia, Milwaukee and New Mexico, she said” (Emphasis added.)
Finding a local angle to the wide ranging scandal about US Attorneys being used for crass political ends, Mathias asks, "So, who was complaining? And why? And did any of these complaints have any impact on prosecution decisions at the time?"
Now, if the Brawler were a reporter trying to figure out who (if anyone) from Wisconsin dropped a dime on Milwaukee US Attorney Steven Biskupic the first people he would call would be the two Ricks who helped lead Wisconsin Republicans into oblivion: former party executive director Rick Wiley and former chairman Rick Graber.
The reason being that they raised a hue and a cry about rampant voter fraud in Milwaukee, including holding press events, only to have Biskupic say, "Eh, maybe not so much."
From the 12/6/05 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The nearly yearlong investigation into voter fraud in 2004 has yielded no evidence of a broad conspiracy to try to steal an election, U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic said Monday.
He predicted that perhaps "a couple of dozen" isolated cases of suspected fraud might be charged, and he said sloppy recordkeeping by election officials was a key impediment to proving such cases.
Nothing in the cases that his office has examined has shown a plot to try to tip an election, Biskupic said during a meeting with Journal Sentinel editors and reporters.
Critics had raised such fears of partisan voter fraud schemes in the election aftermath. But Biskupic said, "I wouldn't say that at all."
He said, "We don't see a massive conspiracy to alter the election in Milwaukee, one way or another."
Four of the 18 people accused of felonies in the investigation have been convicted, officials said Monday.
Here is the breakdown of cases:
-- Federal prosecutors have charged 14 people: 10 felons with voting illegally and four people with double voting.
Four of the felons accused of illegal voting were convicted, one was acquitted and five cases are pending, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Frohling said.
None of the four people charged with double voting has been convicted. Charges against one person were dismissed because of mental incompetence, one person was acquitted, one trial resulted in a hung jury, and one person who agreed initially to plead guilty now wants a trial, Frohling said.
Two of those charged with double voting were driven to several polling places in the same van, but the driver hasn't been identified, and no evidence of an organized conspiracy has been uncovered, Frohling said.
-- McCann's office has charged four people with felonies in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Two people affiliated with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now were charged with filing false voter registrations, and two felons were accused of illegal voting. None of those cases has been resolved.
Biskupic said he had hoped to complete his portion of the investigation this year to avoid dealing with such matters in 2006 another election year.
He said, however, that the investigation will likely spill over into next year, which will feature elections for governor, Congress and most of the state Legislature.
Biskupic declined to estimate when his part of the inquiry might be done.
Assistant District Attorney David Feiss said the district attorney's office also likely won't complete its inquiry this year.
Feiss, too, wouldn't say how much longer the investigation would last.
Biskupic said recordkeeping problems have been rampant.
He said that jurors interviewed after acquittals told prosecutors the record problems created doubt as to whether fraud had occurred.
"I don't know how you are going to prove a case when there is no paper trail," Biskupic said.
In addition, he said, it was "extremely difficult" to prove that felons ineligible to vote did so intentionally.
How did Rick Graber deal with this reality? Not well:
That only 18 voter fraud cases have been charged doesn't mean it's not a major problem in Wisconsin, state Republican Party Chairman Rick Graber said.
"For anyone to sit back and say our election system doesn't have problems, that is just blatantly false," Graber said. "The questions raised in 2004 still haven't been answered."
Someone sounded unsatisfied! We understand they have phones in the Czech Republic, where Graber is now our ambassador. Maybe someone should give him a call.
Rick Wiley, the executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, also strikes the Brawler as a potential whiner given he also made histrionic comments at the time. And he has a history of whining: Who could forget hs 1/12/2005 press release bemoaning. "Why is Milwaukee County District Attorney McCann Dragging his Feet" about the Great Tire Slashing of 2004.
Wiley made those comments in blissful ignorance of the fact McCann was working on the case -- something he could have found out had he actually called McCann.
And in August 2005, after the Feds said sloppy bookkeeping, not fraud, was to blame for double voting reports, Wiley said:
"There are widespread problems. While they haven't uncovered a widespread conspiracy or fraud at this point ... this investigation is far from over," Wiley said. (AP, 8/22/05)
Hmm. How would Wiley have known that? Maybe someone should call him at the Giuliani campaign and ask him.
Again, the Brawler is not saying either of these guys whined about Biskupic not being sufficiently aggressive on the voter fraud front. He has no idea.
But if the Brawler was a reporter trying to figure out who -- if anyone -- did, these guys would be on the top of the call list.