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Wisconsin taxpayers must pay up after lawyer uses political connections to get job

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Wisconsin taxpayers shelled out $346,000 to settle claims that a lawyer improperly used his political connections to get a state job.

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A state hearing examiner ruled last year that the Workforce Development agent broke numerous policies in hiring Daniel LaRocque as the state's unemployment insurance attorney.

As a result, internal candidate Jorge Fuentes won $300,000 and a pay raise. And administrative law judge Robert Junceau won $24,000 plus back pay.

The Associated Press dug up the settlement records. The job is a civil service post that's supposed to be insulated from politics.

According to the AP, former Gov. Tony Earl used his Madison connections to help LaRocque get the job.

The attorney's uncle is a judge who was an old friend of Earl's dating back to their days together in Wausau.

The hearing examiner said LaRocque had no experience in unemployment insurance issues.

The man he replaced, Greg Frigo, said unemployment law knowledge was crucial in doing the job.

LaRocque maintains that politics had no role in what happened and he said the merits of all three candidates were carefully considered.

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