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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, December 22, 2006

Selective memory on voter fraud prosecutions

Yesterday, Donovan Riley reached a plea bargain on his charges of voting twice in the 2000 presidential election. The allegations about Riley surfaced when the pro-school-voucher group All Children Matter--a group with problems of its own--targeted him, since he was running in the primary against voucher supporter Democrat Jeff Plale.

Local wingnut hero Waukesha County DA Paul Bucher, who this year lost his own primary against a guy who thought he was Batman, is being lauded by the conservative half of the Cheddarsphere today for securing the plea bargain. The plea bargain includes a number of provisions that Riley pleaded to, including the loss of his law licenses and a $10,000 fine, but no jail time--one of the perks of getting a plea bargain, I guess. Am I sounding repetitive about the plea bargain? It's for a reason. This reason:
Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher goes out strong by getting ex-State Senate candidate Donovan Riley to give up his law license [. . .] There's a difference between Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties. One set of prosecutors gets tough on vote fraud, while the other plea bargains.
I repeated the phrase "plea bargain" so much because I wanted its appearance at the end of Sean Hackbarth's post to stand out. See, the conservative half of the Cheddarsphere loves them some Paul Bucher and hates them some E. Michael McCann, the outgoing DA of Milwaukee County, and they try to put down McCann every chance they get. Sean here is typical; Owen and Wiggy make the same implication that McCann is somehow light on vote fraud prosecutions. But Sean seems to miss the point entirely that Bucher pulled a McCann--negotiating a plea deal instead of throwing the book at Riley.

And here's what's even funnier: The story Sean linked to (a link I included, so you can read it, too), is the story of McCann's prosecution of a group that fraudulently filled out absentee ballots during the 2003 recall of County Board President Lee Holloway. And in the story, we learn that McCann won jail time for a convicted fraudster--something Paul Bucher didn't get in the Riley case. The story was mainly about how McCann cut a deal with seven defendants on dozens of charges, securing more voter fraud convictions in a single day than Paul Bucher has in his career.

Many of the conservative bloggers, I think, are still upset over the tire-slashing episode from 2004, which McCann did plead out. That secured actual convictions for four of the five perpetrators who otherwise would have walked (the one who didn't plead got a not guilty verdict from the jury). The bloggers wanted the slashers to face the firing squad, or something, but those four convictions (again, on one day) are still more than Bucher ever got in his entire career.

For the record, want to know the total number of convictions for voter fraud that Paul Bucher has earned in his entire career? One--Donovan Riley.

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