The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has cleared a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in its investigation into the 2006 U.S. Attorney firings, according to a DOJ letter sent to members of Congress this week.
The DOJ’s internal watchdog concluded after two years that politics did not motivate former U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic to order the prosecution of a career state official, who was accused of directing contracts to a firm with connections to Democratic Party officials.
Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin procurement official, was convicted but her case was dismissed by a federal appeals court. One appeals court judge said the prosecutors’ evidence in the case was “beyond thin.”
The prosecution came as the Bush administration fired nine U.S. Attorneys. The case got the attention of Democrats who questioned whether Biskupic was currying favor with the Bush administration.
“OPR found no evidence that Mr. Biskupic was ever told his job was in jeopardy and no evidence that department personnel involved in the decision to remove certain United States Attorneys knew anything about the Thompson investigation,” Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote in a letter (below) to members of the House Judiciary Committee. “Accordingly, OPR concluded that Mr. Biskupic did not breach any professional obligation in this matter, but rather, acted appropriately under the circumstances.”
Biskupic, a partner at the Michael Best & Friedrich LLP law firm in Milwaukee, told the Wall Street Journal that “the letter speak[s] for itself.”
“I spent almost 20 years in the department,” he said. “I remain proud of the work I did under multiple administrations.”