wisconsin capitol
Press Release
January 14, 2014

One Wisconsin Now Calls For Investigation of Rep. Kleefisch’s Attempt to Slash Child Support Payments For Major Campaign Contributor

Request to Waukesha County DA: 'Has Rep. Kleefisch Veered Outside Bounds of What Is Legal?'

MADISON, Wis. — The whole affair of Rep. Joel Kleefisch drafting a bill at the direction of a major campaign contributor to slash his child support payments with a change in state law reeks of impropriety. One Wisconsin Now today requested Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel open an investigation to determine if Kleefisch broke any laws with his actions.

A copy of the letter is available at http://bit.ly/1yiCd1K.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Rep. Kleefisch may have announced today he’s pulling back the bill, but that does nothing to excuse his conduct in this matter up until he got caught. And certainly ought not be used by authorities as an out for conducting an investigation.”

According to multiple media reports, Rep. Kleefisch worked at the direction of a large campaign contributor and his attorneys to draft legislation, introduced as Assembly Bill 540. The bill would cap incomes on which child support could be calculated at $150,000 per year and exempt a parent’s assets from consideration. The bill would also require courts to modify existing child support orders if they were more than 10% above the new standard.

Drafting records further reveal the intent of the legislation was to help his donor by changing state law to significantly reduce his child support payments. According to campaign finance records and media reports the individual in question donated the maximum amount to Rep. Kleefisch in every election cycle since 2005 for a total of $3,500 and also made significant contributions to Rep. Kleefisch’s spouse, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and Gov. Walker.

“We know this whole deal stinks. But the question is: has Rep. Kleefisch veered outside the bounds of what is legal with his actions? We hope the Waukesha County District Attorney is interested enough in clean and honest government to open an inquiry to find out,” concluded Ross.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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