Steven Biskupic, the George W. Bush-era U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, is a busy man these days thanks to two of Wisconsin’s more prominent political scandals – controversies that couldn’t be more different.
One involves a divisive governor; the other, a drunken mayor.
In the former, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) saw a former top aide’s home raided by FBI agents this week in an investigation that is believed to be related to Walker’s 2010 election campaign. The story is getting national attention after Walker led a bitter fight to strip Wisconsin public employees of collective bargaining rights that catapulted him to prominence.
Walker has not been directly implicated in the election probe, but if he needs representation, the governor has already paid $60,000 for the services of Biskupic’s firm, the Milwaukee-based Michael Best & Friedrich. Biskupic has been kept on retainer by Walker since his November gubernatorial campaign, when Walker – then executive of Milwaukee County – was subpoenaed for campaign emails prior to the election.
The other political scandal in which Biskupic has offered his services has even attracted coverage from overseas: the behavior of Sheboygan mayor Bob Ryan during what he himself described as a “three day drinking session.” In late July, Ryan was photographed slumped unconscious over a barroom table, was seen involved in physical altercations, and only admitted to the revelry after photographic evidence of his exploits surfaced.
In response, the Sheboygan city council called upon the mayor to resign. But having seen Ryan refuse to heed its call to step down, the city council initiated proceedings against the mayor, who claimed he would seek outpatient treatment for alcoholism.
Enter Biskupic. This week, the council announced that it officially retained him as special prosecutor, after having hired him as an adviser weeks ago.
It is unclear at the moment what, if any, legal issues Biskupic might have to research on behalf of Walker, given the confidential nature of the investigation. In the case of Ryan, Biskupic may need to brush up on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Sheboygan mayor’s counsel, it is expected, will proffer the argument that alcoholism is a protected disability under the ADA, and that he should be given a chance at rehabilitation.
A Sept. 11 editorial in the Sheboygan Press reported that Biskupic offered to represent the council pro bono.