The Drug Dealer Who Would Be Attorney General


J.B. Van Hollen, the Republican candidate for Wisconsin attorney general, brags that he has "experience fighting crime," while his opponent, Democrat Kathy Falk, does not. Given the details of Van Hollen's crime-fighting career, that might count in her favor. A couple years ago, when he was U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, Van Hollen helped pioneer the online drug sale sting, taking over a dealer's website to trap customers trying to buy Ritalin, Adderall, OxyContin, Ketamine, and cocaine for nonmedical purposes. The beauty of it, from Van Hollen's perspective, was that he could charge the would-be buyers not just with attempted drug possession (maximum sentence: one year) but with using the Internet to facilitate illegal distribution of a controlled substance (maximum sentence: four years). "We want to make sure that people out there know that even though they're sitting in their offices, there is a great risk of being found out," Van Hollen proudly explained to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We're trying to make sure that the Internet doesn't get used for inappropriate purposes." Some people, possibly including Wisconsin voters, might consider posing as a drug dealer to bust people for attempted drug possession—which is about as far from real crime fighting as you can get—to be an inappropriate use of the Internet.

[Thanks to Randy Vizyak for the tip.]