Monday, March 05, 2007

Haven't we created Doyle and Troha?

I was in Scottsdale at a legal conference last week, so I am a little late to Troha-gate, the indictment of a Kenosha casino developer who may have been a bit overzealous in funneling money to Jim Doyle.

My initial impression is that it will be a tough case to make. Quite clearly, Troha wanted to buy Doyle's support for the Kenosha casino, but its far from evident that the family members who supposedly made dummy contributions wouldn't have as much interest in that as he did.

A lot of attention will be focused on what Doyle knew and when did he know it, but that seems like the wrong question. Of course, he knew that Troha was trying to buy support for the casino. If he didn't, he's too stupid to be governor. Now that there is gambling going on, we should not be, like Captain Renault, "shocked, shocked" to find that there are people who will pay to play.

More attention will focus on what promises Doyle may have made and, again, unless he is too stupid to be Governor, he did not make any. He promises that, if the Kenosha casino comes before him, he will review it and make his decision based upon "what's best for the people of Wisconsin."

That's the odd part. By putting the Governor in the position of granting licenses to print money, it is hard for me to see what possible interest of the people of the state of Wisconsin we could be advancing. Casino compacts are all about giving people the right to operate a business (one incidentally based largely on ripping off poor people) with little or no competition on a tax advantaged basis. It's a wonderful power for a Governor seeking campaign contributions to have.
But there is no question of the public welfare being served.

Maybe Troha was dirty. Maybe Doyle was dirty. But the larger truth is that the whole undertaking is dirty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally you post something which makes sense on this topic: the current system sucks and it forces both incumbents and challengers to beg from people who want something in return.

The folks who think that the casino money stinks today should remember that our long-term Governor (elected to three four-year terms) went through the same "auction" process when the dog track locations were selected. Competing applicants showered money upon his campaign committee prior to the licenses being awarded. At the time, the amounts of money seemed as gross as the amounts given today.

Neither the former Governor nor the current Governor is a crook because he took legal advantage or takes legal advantage of a system which sucks.