Thursday, February 02, 2006

Doyle Defends Criminal Behavior of Team Doyle

Doyle to keep campaign manager
Governor says he won't try people for things that happened years ago
Posted: Feb. 1, 2006

Madison - Gov. Jim Doyle said Wednesday he would retain Rich Judge as his campaign manager, despite the revelation this week that Judge told investigators in 2001 that he had campaigned on state time when he worked for the Assembly.

Although Doyle was attorney general when investigators interviewed Judge in late 2001, the governor said that he was never briefed on what Judge said. During a yearlong inquiry into Capitol corruption, Doyle's agency lent investigators to Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard, but Doyle said that he consciously avoided being updated on the cases and made no charging decisions.

The Democratic governor said he also was not aware of the details in the reports when he hired Judge to lead his re-election campaign.

His comments came a day after Rep. Scott Jensen (R-Town of Brookfield) filed with a Dane County court copies of investigative summaries of interviews with Judge and other Democratic Assembly workers.

Jensen is to go on trial Feb. 21 on felony charges of directing aides to campaign on state time. He maintains the reports show he is the victim of selective prosecution because no Assembly Democrats were charged.

Two Democrats who were Senate leaders at the time have been charged and convicted, however.

Taxpayers spent $9,193 to cover Judge's legal bills, according to Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller. Doyle said he did not support the Legislature's decision to pay that tab.

Doyle said he had no plans to review the interviews with Judge.

"Whatever happened four or five years ago with Rich is something that he cooperated with everybody about, and that's fine," Doyle said. "I'm not going to go back and try people for things that happened many years ago."

Judge worked for the Assembly Democratic Caucus from mid-1998 to May 2001, serving as caucus director for his last year. He told investigators he attended two campaign meetings in 1999 in the Capitol office of then-Rep. Jeff Plale (D-South Milwaukee) to discuss fund raising.

Plale, who is now a state senator, said he could not recall the particulars of those meetings but acknowledged that "lines were blurred" at the time.

"I know we had meetings in my office," Plale said. "To remember six, seven years ago what all those meetings were about, I'd be guessing."

Plale was co-chairman of the Assembly Democrats' fund-raising campaign in 1998 and 1999. He said he did not seek another term because of mounting concerns about campaigning on state time.

"As the lines got blurrier, I got more uncomfortable," he said.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), the other campaign co-chairman, also attended those meetings, Judge told investigators. Pocan said this week he did not recall the meetings and was unaware of employees campaigning on state time.

Most of the alleged campaigning took place under the leadership of Rep. Shirley Krug (D-Milwaukee), who was then the minority leader, according to the reports. Krug, who retired from the Legislature in 2004, could not be reached Wednesday.


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