Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Doyle's Adelman Statement Should Look Like

So as you have likely heard, one of Jim Doyle's employees at the Department of Administration has been indicted on two federal felony counts for her role in the state travel contract awarded to Adelman Travel.

Virtually every blog you read from now until the end of the week will weigh in on the Doyle travel scandal, and nearly every angle will be covered. Rather than repeat much of what will be said (better than I can) about the case on other blogs, I wanted to challenge myself to a little mental exercise. I wanted to see if I could actually put together a proposed statement by Doyle in his defense. I think you can more accurately judge the merits of a situation when you put yourself in the other guy's shoes, and I'm kind of curious as to what kind of PR guy I would make. Call it "The Xoff Home Game."

So here's the statement Doyle should make (or at least the best my little brain could do):

"I was deeply troubled when I heard news that an employee in my administration has been accused of criminal conduct. Georgia Thompson has been a good employee for many years, and she hasn’t been found guilty of anything. I would hope that we would wait to hear all the facts of the case before we damage the reputation of a good state servant. The Department of Administration will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation, and I am confident that in the end, I will be able to correct any problem that has occurred.

Since I took office, I have made clean government a priority in Wisconsin. One of the first bills I signed into law was 2003 Assembly Bill 1, which specifically prohibited official state action in return for campaign contributions. I have publicly supported meaningful campaign finance reform to lessen the effect money has on the political system.

If true, the allegations made by the U.S. Attorney show the damaging effect money can have on politics. As I announced two weeks ago, I have put together an ethics reform package that would seek to limit fundraising during the budget and toughen enforcement of campaign laws, among other reforms. I have ordered my campaign staff to do a full accounting of contributions I have received, and to return any contributions made by individuals who have bid on a state contract, including the contribution from Craig Adelman.

Trust in elected officials is what makes our democracy the greatest form of government in the world. I will work to see that the public can be fully confident that my administration is being run with the interest of Wisconsin citizens as its only consideration."

Several thoughts:

I don't believe a word of any of that. It is purely spin. I will most likely agree with every blogger that wants to send Doyle up the river without a trial. I wrote it without seeing any comment from the Doyle team, so any resemblance to what they say is purely coincidental.

No political consultant doing crisis management would allow their subject to make a statement that long. The shorter the statement, the better.

I think it'll be a while before Doyle makes any official statement, if he's smart. Expect his surrogates to be quoted in the short term.

The $10,000 contribution from Craig Adelman has now guaranteed a half a million dollars' worth of ads run against Doyle. Hope it was worth it. This would be like a married guy sleeping with his secretary for one night, then coming home to find his wife had packed his bags. It may have been good one night, but wave goodbye to your marriage.

Any attempt Doyle makes now to position himself as a campaign finance reformer will likely ring hollow, as he was the driving force behind killing a major (and horrible) bill relating to campaign finance in the State Senate this session (SB 46).

For more early reaction on the indictments, go here, here, here, here, and here.