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Dem Loses Law License – For Voter Fraud

From the local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Ex-candidate to surrender law licenses

Riley, who voted twice, also to pay $10,000

By MIKE JOHNSON
Dec. 21, 2006

Waukesha – Donovan Riley, a disgraced state Senate candidate, is paying a steep price for voting twice in the same election in 2000.

Riley, Democrat, agreed on Thursday to pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his law licenses in Wisconsin and Illinois and not practice law. He must also return campaign contributions to supporters who request refunds in the next 30 days even if it means paying them from his personal funds.

He has 45 days to meet those conditions. In exchange, the single count of election fraud, voting more than once, will be reduced to a misdemeanor. The deal, under which Riley avoids jail time, was reached in a plea bargain with Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher, Riley and Riley’s attorney, Jeremy P. Levinson.

Riley on Thursday entered a plea of no contest to the felony count, but the guilty finding will be withheld for 45 days. If Riley fails any of the conditions, he will become a felon, Bucher said. If the conditions are satisfied, Riley will be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

"We believe this to be a strong signal to other individuals that there is a price to pay" for voter fraud, Bucher told Reserve Judge Laurence Gram.

Outside the courtroom, Bucher said it was the first time ever in his more than 20 years in the district attorney’s office that the maximum fine has been issued.

Levinson told the judge that Riley realizes the "records indicate what they indicate" and "that there really can’t be much of an explanation or excuse other than he did something he shouldn’t have done."

"He understand he needs to pay a meaningful price," Levinson said. "He understands in the course of all this he let down a lot of people who supported his candidacy."

Riley did not say much during the proceedings. "Mr. Bucher and my counsel stated it accurately. I concur," Riley told Gram.

Riley, 69, of Milwaukee, was running for the 7th District state Senate seat held by incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Plale of South Milwaukee when allegations arose that Riley voted twice in 2000, once in Cook County, Ill., and once in the Town of Oconomowoc, where he was living in 2000. He was to face Plale in the Sept. 12 primary election but ended his campaign on Aug. 24.

The allegations were raised by All Children Matter, a pro-school-choice group. It filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Board, claiming that Riley voted twice in the Nov. 7, 2000, presidential election.

Bucher began investigating the complaint in mid-August and filed a criminal charge on Aug. 31.

Gram accepted the plea agreement, saying the penalty was "substantial and severe" and the "toughest penalty isn’t always throwing someone in jail and throwing the key away."

"I regret that a fellow lawyer got himself in this kind of a situation. Oh, we can say a lot about our political system and whatnot. Certainly, one vote here and one vote in Cook County is not going to do much to disturb the political process. But the fact that somebody does it is a serious problem," Gram said.

Bucher said his office would be alerting Riley campaign contributors through individual letters or a news release about their right to seek a reimbursement of campaign contributions. Bucher said he has not yet determined the amount of money Riley had raised in contributions.

Riley’s latest campaign finance report filed with the Elections Board shows he had received $105,841.42 in contributions. Almost $86,000 of that, though, was money he lent to his campaign.

Unsurprisingly, this has gotten scant attention from the Democrat controlled mainstream media.

But it is encouraging to see that Mr. Riley is getting more punishment than the usual slap on the wrist.

(Thanks to EnglishQueen for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, December 22nd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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