Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chvala Staffer Celebrates Milestone of Stupidity

Remember ex-Chvala staffer Paula McGuire's breathless account of what a great guy convicted felon Chuck is? The one where she recounts how Chuck emptied his own trash and allowed a Capitol janitor to sit in on a policy meeting where they all ate pizza? A great story, right?

Too bad it isn't true.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Steve Walters actually talked to the janitor, who said it never happened. From the Journal-Sentinel Capitol Reporters' Blog:

She's one of the fine people who clean up after those of us who spend most of our days, and a few nights, in the Capitol. And, there's no reason to name her; she's afraid doing so would only end up getting her in trouble, in some way or another. Let's use the initial M. for her.

And, let's just say M. was astonished to find her name in the 47-page statement filed by the long line of people trying to get a Dane County judge to be lenient Thursday when he sentences former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison), who accepted a deal that required him to plead guilty to two felonies for Capitol corruption.

Trying to convince Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan to not send Chvala to jail, Chvala's lawyer said in court documents last week that, "Chuck Chvala has a soft side to him" and then quoted one of his former aides as remember a touching Capitol incident proving just that:

"One evening when the state Senate was in session late into the evening, (M.), a custodial employee at the Capitol, came into our office to empty the trash cans. Chuck was in his office with his (chief of staff) and other senators discussing bills ... over a quick dinner of pizza. Chuck saw (M.) waiting apprehensively, unsure if she should enter his office to empty the trash. He immediately grabbed his trash can and went and emptied it himself. Chuck then invited (M.) into his office to have a slice of pizza and asked her to share her opinions on the pending issues..."

Touching, uh? You can wipe your moist eyes now.

Except M. doesn't remember ever sharing a piece of pizza and her opinions with Chvala at any point in her Capitol career. And, she agreed, if it would have happened, she would have remembered it.To be sure, M. remembers Chvala as always being "kind" to her, but the come-let-us-eat-pizza scene? Never happened.Makes you wonder how many of the other anecdotes listed in the 47 pages of pleas for leniency are, uh, half-baked. Or should they be called the Chvala Chronicles?

Ironically, Paula McGuire now works for the Department of Justice. Think there's any chance the Attorney General will investigate her own staffer for filing a false statement in an official court document?

So let's back up here: Chvala had someone testify to his "integrity and true character" by using a completely fabricated story to demonstrate it. Paula McGuire, you are an early entrant into the Irony Hall of Fame. No balloting necessary.

It says a lot about Chvala that his defenders have to make up nice stories about him. In fact, did Al Gore even run for President? I'm skeptical now.

Bravo, Steve Walters. Bravo.


Note: I am told that Kevin at Lakeshore Laments had this up before I did - so thanks for the mention.