Steven M. Biskupic

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Steven M. Biskupic (born March 26, 1961) is a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin serving under Attorneys General John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey. He was appointed by George W. Bush in May 2002. Prior to his appointment, Biskupic served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 13 years, specializing in the prosecution of white collar crime. Biskupic stepped down in 2008. He is now a partner at Michael Best & Friedrich in Milwaukee.

In 2000, Biskupic received the Department of Justice Award for superior performance for his prosecution of mortgage fraud cases. He later worked on a series of high-profile public corruption and civil rights cases in Milwaukee, including the conviction of nine police officers, four Milwaukee aldermen, a state senator and several other public officials. In 2007, Biskupic and his office came under review by US Congressional and Senate investigators looking at the 2006 Dismissal of U.S. Attorneys controversy.[1][2]

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice’s internal affairs unit cleared Biskupic of any ethical wrongdoing in the Georgia Thompson prosecution. At the end of the Bush Administration, Biskupic resigned and joined the Milwaukee law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich as a litigator. In 2013, Biskupic left Michael Best & Friedrich to form his own firm, Biskupic & Jacobs.[3]

Education, early career, and family[edit]

Biskupic received his B.A. in Journalism from Marquette University in 1983 and his J.D. from Marquette in 1987.[4]

He served since March 1989 as a criminal prosecutor in the United States Department of Justice. Prior to joining the United States Attorney's Office, he served for two years as a judicial law clerk to the late Robert W. Warren, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.[4] He is an adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School.

Biskupic is one of nine siblings born to a Roman Catholic family of Croatian and Irish descent. His brother, Vince Biskupic, formerly district attorney of Outagamie County, Wisconsin, was the Republican candidate for Attorney General of Wisconsin in 2002. He lost to Peg Lautenschlager.[5]

Biskupic was named in 2014 by Governor Scott Walker to a judgeship on the Outagamie Circuit Court.[6] Their sister, Joan, is a federal legal affairs reporter with Washington Week on PBS[7] and USA Today.[8]

Among Steven Biskupic's highest-profile prosecutions was against the Milwaukee police officers who beat Frank Jude Jr..[9]

Georgia Thompson prosecution[edit]

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
( )
G. W. Bush administration officials involved
Involved administration officials who resigned
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
110th Congress

In January 2006, under Biskupic's direction, Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin state procurement supervisor was prosecuted for corruption charges related to a state travel contract. She was convicted and sentenced to eighteen months. This conviction was thrown out by an appellate court panel in Chicago after 20 minutes of oral argument. Jason Stein from the Wisconsin State Journal noted:[10][11][12]

Update on appeals written opinion[edit]

In an April 20, 2007 article TPM muckraker reporter Paul Kiel noted:"the federal appeals court released its written opinion on the case. And it wasn't any more sparing than the verbal remarks (e.g. that the evidence was "beyond thin") of the judges when they made the ruling. The prosecution was based on a reading of the law by which "simple violations of administrative rules [by bureaucrats] would become crimes", the judges wrote. By that interpretation, "it is a federal crime for any official in state or local government to take account of political considerations when deciding how to spend public money" — a "preposterous" idea, they wrote."[13] Kiel noted the House Judiciary Committee invited Biskupic to tell his story to Congress.[citation needed]

Gregory Stanford from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel frames the concern about the unknowns surrounding this case and its importance for all citizens in this way:[14]

Relationship to dismissal of U.S. Attorneys[edit]

Interest in the Milwaukee U.S Attorney's Office and Biskupic specifically centers on how he managed to survive being on the original list of U.S. Attorneys in the dismissal controversy.[15][16]

Talking Points Memo was one of the first media outlets to identify the controversy and report extensively on it. The April 11, 2007 edition of TPM Muckraker provides a detailed account of the pressure Biskupic and his office were under from both the White House and Justice Department.[17] The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes a statement delivered by Biskupic on April 14, 2007 that in part reads:[18]

U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), now a United States Senator, called for an investigation in conjunction with this controversy.[19]

In a Washington Post article (May 11, 2007), reporters Dan Eggen and Paul Kane provide updated information on White House and Justice Department staff involvement in pressing complaints about Biskupic and a response from him.[20]

House Judiciary Committee interest in Thompson case[edit]

The House Judiciary Committee and its Chairman, John Conyers, were interested in the evolution of the Thompson case Paul Keil of Talking Points Memo reported on September 5, 2007.[21]

Prosecution cleared by U.S. Department of Justice[edit]

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice's internal affairs unit cleared Biskupic "of any ethical wrongs in the Georgia Thompson prosecution" after two years of review.[22]


  1. ^ "Biskupic Known As Prosecutor And Not As Pol". Wisconsin State Journal. 2007-04-29. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  2. ^ Patricia Trebe (2008-10-22). "Vincent J. Biskupic: 1930-2008". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  3. ^ Barton, Gina (2013-01-04). "Former U.S. Attorney Biskupic leaves Michael Best, opens own firm". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  4. ^ a b "Steven M. Biskupic, United States Attorney". United States Attorney. April 13, 2007. Archived from the original on April 19, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  5. ^ Jeff Mayers (January 28, 2001). " Featured Interview: Vince Biskupic". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  6. ^ Vince Biskupic named to judgeship,; accessed December 2, 2016.
  7. ^ [1]Archived September 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Joan Biskupic profile". USA Today. July 24, 2000. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ Diedrich, John (2008-03-03). "Jude case shows federal role". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  10. ^ Stein, Jason (2007). "Georgia Thompson acquitted, set free". Wisconsin State Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  11. ^ Vielmetti, Bruce (2010-05-28). "Former U.S. attorney Steven Biskupic cleared in ethics inquiry". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  12. ^ Lueders, Bill (2007-04-06). "Georgia Thompson: Now comes the reckoning". Isthmus. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  13. ^ "UPDATE: Court: Wisconsin Prosecution "Preposterous"". April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  14. ^ Stanford, Gregory (2007). "Biskupic has some explaining to do". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  15. ^ "E-mails contradict testimony in U.S. attorneys scandal". McClatchy Newspapers. April 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  16. ^ "Did Karl Robe want Wisconsin US Atty on purge list",; accessed December 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "Did Rove Want Wisconsin U.S.A. on Purge List?". Talking Points Memo. April 11, 2007. Archived from the original on April 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  18. ^ "UPDATE: Biskupic responds to today's story". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  19. ^ Frommer, Fredick (April 27, 2007). "Baldwin calls on Congress to look into Thompson case". Portage Daily Register. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  20. ^ Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (May 11, 2007). "House GOP Stands Behind Gonzales". Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  21. ^ "UPDATE: Email: DoJ Official Questions "How in the Heck" Prosecutors Pursued Controversial Case". Archived from the original on 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  22. ^ Vielmetti, Bruce (2010-05-28). "Former U.S. attorney Steven Biskupic cleared in ethics inquiry". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 

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