Southeastern Wisconsin residents have to be spinning with disbelief of the six months probation and not even a fine for Kenosha trucking magnate and casino project honcho Dennis Troha, who was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions.
U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic defended the incredibly lenient sentencing, arguing that Troha is cooperating with federal investigations of others and judge-for-life Joseph P. Stadtmueller bought it -- hook, line and sinker.
Stadtmueller bemoaned the state of America's "hurly-burly" political system greased by money from people such as Troha, and said Troha's actions had a "very corrosive effect on our way of life in the U.S."
But the judge said he didn't see the sentence having any impact on that system. He didn't fine Troha, the judge said, because he thinks the Bush administration and Congress spend wastefully on programs such as the fence along the Mexican border. He suggested instead that Troha contribute to a charity, which Troha's attorney said would happen soon.
"There is no reason to provide funds to the government, and I respectfully decline to do so," Stadtmueller said.
Yes, that's what a sitting federal judge said -- incredible.
Real prosecutors and real judges -- those who work in state courts -- would tell you that a person who gets drunk and disorderly in a bar can get more of a sentence than Troha. A speeder will get socked in the wallet more than Troha.
And just what did Troha deliver? Two of his business associates -- John Erickson and Achille Infusino -- whose offenses don't seem as serious as Troha's.
And then there's Allan Kehl, the recently indicted Kenosha County Executive. While Kehl shouldn't have done what he did -- assuming he's guilty of the allegations -- it seems the Biskupic's probe is going down the food chain instead of up. If that's so, Troha got an incredibly sweet deal.
It's time for Biskupic to poop or get off the potty. With the deal Troha got, he should be delivering something on the order of a congressman or a governor.
By the way,Troha, by pleading out to the reduced charges, faced a maximum of two years in prison and a $100,000 fine for his crimes. Federal sentencing guidelines called for 10 to 16 months behind bars.