Since 1998, Wheeler has been a member of the Army Reserve 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, based near Green Bay. The battalion was deployed to Iraq in April 2003 to help rebuild the government and public infrastructure.
The charges against Wheeler stem from an investigation into what officials describe as an extensive bribery, kickback and smuggling scheme based in the offices of the
Coalition Provisional Authority.
Wheeler is the third person arrested as a result of the investigation.Robert J. Stein Jr., a civilian occupation official, was charged two weeks ago with receiving up to $200,000 a month in bribes from an American contractor, Philip Bloom, to steer construction contracts to companies controlled by Bloom, who also is charged.
Wheeler is accused of using his military passes to avoid custom searches to smuggle some of that money out of Iraq.Stein and Wheeler also conspired to buy dozens of military-grade weapons on the pretext that they were to be used to protect authority offices in Hillah, the affidavit says.
Instead, they acquired the grenade launchers, machine guns, 20 fully automatic submachine guns, 12.45-caliber pistols and substantial ammunition, the affidavit says.Using his Army status to take possession of the weapons at Fort Bragg, N.C., Wheeler, along with Stein, took them to Stein's
home in Fayetteville, N.C.
Wheeler took some weapons home to Wisconsin, while others remained in Stein's garage, where federal investigators found them when they searched Stein's home Nov. 15, the affidavit said.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Show Prep: Charlie's Core Values
One of the Core Values for the very principled Charlie Sykes is that corruption is bad. That is plainly seen by his valiant pursuit -- working as his show says "behind the lines" in a liberal-media occupied zone -- of Gov. Jim Doyle and his contributors.
Another Core Value is that we shouldn't squander taxpayer money. Like Mel Gibson playing the brave-hearted William Wallace, Charlie battles the liberal media in order to get these stories out: the Milwaukee County pension scandal, or aid to those who survived scathed by Hurricane Katrina, are bad.
Now today another significant story of corruption and stolen taxpayer money is revived. No, not Rep. Duke Cunningham. Charlie only ignored that despite his Core Values because bribes to the Republican lawmaker from defense contractors took place in Southern California. It was bad but it lacked a local angle.
Today the other shoe finally dropped in the case of the U.S. Army Reserves officer from Amherst Junction, Wisconsin, who was charged with corruption in late 2005. Lt. Col. Michael B. Wheeler was among the officers "managing" $26 billion in taxpayer money intended to rebuild Iraq. He was indicted Wednesday along with two other U.S. Army reserve officers for a scam that funneled $8 million to a contractor for kickbacks. (Those who, like Charlie, are concerned about the Muskego schools will recognize that $8 million can buy a lot of flat-screen plasma TVs).
So, it seems almost certain, doesn't it, that as we tune in to WTMJ-AM today to hear Charlie, we will hear him loaded for bear and going to town on this case of the Wisconsin reserve officer? I have no way of knowing his show prep, but I do know what he believes in deep down.
Appendix: I also think the Journal Sentinel is undercovering this story. For those interested, here below is more detail about the case that was in the Dec. 3, 2005 J-S story.