Earlier today Governor Jim Doyle was cleared of any wrongdoing in the 2005 sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant. The sale of that plant became the subject of an investigation after it was revealed utility company executives had given more than $43,000 to Doyle’s re-election campaign just prior to the approval of the sale by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Shortly after the revelations came to light, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager opened an investigation into whether Governor Doyle’s office improperly influenced the Public Service Commission in its deliberations about the proposed sale of the Kewaunee power plant. This investigation became the subject of more than one attack ad against Governor Doyle during the gubernatorial race in 2006, with some citing the investigation – along with the prosecution of high-ranking state employee Georgia Thompson – serving as proof of how corrupt the Doyle administration supposedly was. Georgia Thompson’s federal conviction has since been overturned, and now we have this decision by the Wisconsin Department of Justice that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the Governor in the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant.
In a statement released by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen cleared Governor Doyle of any wrongdoing, saying:
“After a thorough investigation, we have not found any evidence linking campaign donations to Governor Doyle to the PSC decision to approve the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant. Nor did we find any evidence that the governor’s office improperly influenced the PSC decision in any way.”
I give Attorney General Van Hollen credit for doing his job and seeing this investigation through to completion, as well as for his unwillingness to make a case out of nothing.