Oct. 23, 2002
Democrats sue Biskupic for records
APPLETON — The Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed suit Tuesday seeking to force Outagamie County Dist. Atty. and Republican attorney general candidate Vince Biskupic to release records of a crime prevention fund.
Democrats are seeking access to records of the county fund, which is controlled by the district attorney’s office and from which criminal defendants, as part of plea agreements, make payments through the DA’s office to various crime prevention organizations.
The records, sought in the suit’s request for an Outagamie County Circuit Court order, date from 1995 to the present.
The party filed a written request Sept. 25 for the records.
In an Oct. 11 letter, Biskupic denied the Democrats’ request, claiming “the release of such information would be detrimental to officers’ investigations and jeopardize the crime prevention process.”
Biskupic also said the scope of the request was overly broad. On Tuesday he called the move a “late-in-the-game political maneuver” by the Democrats and said the files are “clearly exempt.”
But Lesley Sillaman, a Democratic Party spokeswoman who filed the request, said the documents requested do not fall under the exemption cited by Biskupic.
“Significantly, the Democratic Party did not seek any records about investigations, witnesses or victims, only information about Biskupic’s financial dealings,” she said in a party press release. “Biskupic did not explain why it was necessary to keep his financial dealings secret.”
Democrats claim in their release that the fund has been used to cut deals for influential defendants, but Biskupic said the $5,000 in the fund came from Outagamie County firms and payments ordered by judges from convicted defendants.
The 21-page suit, which is a petition for emergency relief, will require a hearing.
That hearing will be scheduled as soon as a judge is assigned to the case.
The judge initially assigned, Michael Gage, immediately excused himself, and the case was forwarded to Chief Judge Joseph Troy for assignment, most likely to a judge from outside the county.
The Associated Press contributed
to this story.