On May 10, The Brawler took the Journal Sentinel to task for ignoring the plight of Kimberly Prude, the grandma Steven Biskupic locked up as part of his voter fraud investigation, until after the NYT told her story.
Prude was, you may remember, was the grandmother who voted when she shouldn't have, tried to correct her mistake and got nailed.
A mere 11 days later the Journal Sentinel tells her story.
Never doubt the power of the Brawler!
The story, by Bill Glauber, is pretty good. It doesn't let her off the hook for making a mistake. But after reading it, it's difficult to imagine Prude deliberately set out to subvert the Wisconsin electoral system and difficult to see why she deserves to be jailed.
But because everybody's an editor, the Brawler has a couple points he wants to make.
First, while the story notes that "In almost any other election year in perhaps any other state, such a vote might have gone unnoticed and unpunished," it could have provided further context from a third party on how bizarre Biskupic's pursuit of this case -- and use of federal resources -- truly was.
How? By quoting Judge Diane P. Wood of the 7th Circuit (she who said Bisk's case against Georgia Thompson was "beyond thin"), who, during oral arguments in Prude's appeal had this to say:
“I find this whole prosecution mysterious,” Judge Diane P. Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, said at a hearing in Ms. Prude’s case. “I don’t know whether the Eastern District of Wisconsin goes after every felon who accidentally votes. It is not like she voted five times. She cast one vote.”
It remains to be seen how the 7th will rule in Prude's case. But that's a less-than-laudatory comment on Bisk's prosecution from a high-ranking judge.
Second, we now know that there's an element missing in the "voter fraud scandal" timeframe:
In the days leading to the election, Republicans leveled accusations that the vote was subject to fraud and challenged 5,600 addresses of voters on Milwaukee's rolls, while Democrats warned of intimidation and potential suppression of minority voters including African-Americans, such as Prude.
The election was held. The votes were counted. The debate died down.
But the issue did not go away.
In early 2005, Republican officials in Wisconsin complained to senior White House political adviser Karl Rove that Milwaukee U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic was not being aggressive enough in pursuing voter fraud cases.
Biskupic has said he was unaware of those complaints and has repeatedly denied that his office prosecuted any voter fraud case because of White House pressure.
As the Capital Times reported, we now know that at least two state politicians wrote Bisk before the election to ask him to investigate voter fraud. So to say that there was no White House pressure. But pressure certainly came from elected state Republicans.
Were they working in concert with the White House? Might be worth checking out.