In an exclusive interview Tuesday night on 27 News at 10, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen addressed the controversy surrounding Calumet County D.A. Ken Kratz, who admitted to sexting a domestic abuse victim.More >>
MADISON (WKOW) -- A top prosecutor in the Wisconsin Department of Justice helped embattled Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz explore a run for Congress two years ago.
In November 2009, DOJ officials determined Kratz's sexually suggestive text messages to a domestic abuse victim did not amount to a crime, but it is unclear whether Kratz political supporter Assistant Attorney General David Wambach participated in that decision.
DOJ news releases show Wambach has prosecuted high profile violence, fraud and other criminal cases.
Federal Election Commission records show Wambach contributed $250 to Citizens for Ken Kratz in April 2008, as Kratz considered a primary challenge to fellow Republican Rep. Tom Petri.
Records show Wambach, who was Jefferson County district attorney at the time, was among just a handful of donors and contributed the second largest amount to the Kratz campaign committee.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told WKOW27 News any suggestion Kratz received special treatment based on political connections was baseless.
Van Hollen told WKOW27 News anchor Diana Henry the investigation into Kratz's text messages was vigorous.
"We had dozens of people within the Department of Justice working on these allegations as soon as they came through the door."
Van Hollen spokesperson Bill Cosh has yet to identify staff members involved in the investigation, or whether Wambach was involved.
DOJ e-mails and documents from the referring law enforcement agency, the Kaukauna Police Department, referenced DOJ administrator Kevin Potter, DOJ prosecutor Roy Korte, DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation Supervisor Peter Thelen and Agent Brad Dunlap as involved in the investigation.
Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie), an attorney and chairperson of an assembly judiciary committee, told WKOW27 News Kratz's actions could be prosecuted under the state's statute on misconduct in public office.
"There are criminal charges under that statute that would allow for a class I felony, which is a very significant charge."
As DOJ staff members assessed Kratz's actions, e-mails show Kratz stressed to DOJ officials his past assistance to the department in prosecutions, professional training, and as chairperson of DOJ's Crime Victims Board, and called his support for the department unconditional.
Van Hollen said DOJ officials acted appropriately in demanding Kratz resign from the Board and report his actions to the Office of Lawyer Regulation.
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