[Posted By WLS]
Let me weigh in on a point about the Thompson prosecution, and the characterization of it as “bogus.” That is not correct. This is a long post, but stick with me on this.
What the prosecutors pursued against Thompson was a two-count case charging Honest Services Mail Fraud (use of the mails in connection with government corruption) and Misapplication of Public Funds.
The facts of the Thompson case are that she sat on a panel of 7 civil servants responsible for awarding a contract for state travel services. Six months before the Request For Proposal was issued, representatives of Adelman Travel met with state officials, and provided them a draft RFP. Thompson was aware of this, so she knew that Adelman Travel enjoyed some political connections.
When the RFP was ultimately issued, the two top bidders were Adelman Travel and Omega Travel. Adelman was a Wisconsin-based travel agency, and Omega is a national firm based in Fairfax, Virginia.
During the committee’s scoring process on the bids, Thompson said she inflated her scores on Adelman’s bid, and encouraged other committee members to do the same, though it’s not clear any other member of the committee did so. It’s also not clear whether Thompson’s scoring of the bid changed the ultimate outcome as to which bid scored higher, and the testimony was that the bids were for all practical purposes a tie.
There was testimony that in the committee meeting, Thompson made comments that “Politically, this won’t fly” if Adelman didn’t get the contract, and “My bosses don’t want to hear about anyone but Adelman.”
While Adelman Travel’s owners had made large but lawful political contributions to the governor, there was no evidence that Thompson knew about them when the committee was going through the bid process.
The allegation of the indictment was that Thompson influenced the awarding of the contract so to cause political advantage for her supervisor; and to enhance her job security.
There is a very enlightening tape of the entire oral argument before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals available. It’s about 26 minutes long — not too bad. But if you skip to about the 12:30 mark you get the questioning by the Court of the prosecutor, which is where the guts of the argument happens.
Click here to hear the argument.