Wednesday, January 25, 2006

At least it wasn't pay for play or anything like that !

(Please note correction below.)

Here's a potential Dem spin on the Thompson indictment. When I took the morning paper out of my dog's mouth this morning (he's got to do something to earn his keep),I was surprised to read that "the indictment, however, does not allege a pay-to-play scheme in which the contract was awarded in exchange for the money."

My initial reaction to this was - the hell it doesn't. The indictment alleges that she intended to "cause political advantage for her supervisors" and that her actions "helped and were intended to help her job security." It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way that wind is blowing. Sounds like we're talking pay for play to me.

But once I had my wife's coffee started, I could see where they are going (or where whoever is spinning them is going). I suppose it is right that there is no allegation that Adelman was told that it would get favorable treatment for contributions or that the politicos in the Doyle administration wanted her to prefer a contributor. It could be that she just thought helping out a good Democrat travel agency would be a real nice Christmas (Holiday?) present for her bosses and acted alone. For all we know, the boys upstairs were shocked ... shocked that she would do such a thing.

So I can see the Dem spin, knowing assertions that, despite what those ignorant Republicans and right wing sqauwkers and bloggers think, this is not a pay for play case, as if "pay for play" has some technical legal definition as opposed to being slang for a variety of public misconduct involving favoritism toward one's donors.

Here's the problem and the second potential line of Dem spin plays right into it.
It is absolutely true that Thompson was not one of Doyle's top aides (and Republicans might want to stop calling her that.) As such, and as the indictment implies, it is extremely unlikely that Thompson, who was a civil servant and not a political appointee, would do this on her own and almost certain that she would not be the one delivering a request for pay to those who wanted to play. As Jessica McBride points out, people only flip up. It seems pretty clear that Biskupic thinks that there are bigger fish in this lake. We'll see if he's right.

Correction: This post was was originally incorrect in that it said the Journal Sentinel story did not report the indictment's allegations that the Thompson sought to politically advantage her supervisors and to bolster her job security. It did and it would now be snarky for me to claim it was buried. Hat tip to Gary Krentz of the MJS who pointed out my error with grace and good humor. I was too bleary-eyed this morning to pick it out of the on-line version. Teach me to blog at six in the morning. My bad.

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