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One Wisconsin Now

One Wisconsin Now Complaint: Brad Schimel’s Babysitters Club Violates Campaign Finance Law

Waukesha County District Attorney and State Attorney General Candidate Schimel Used Campaign Funds to Pay for Babysitters on at Least Sixteen Occasions

MADISON, Wis. — On at least sixteen occasions, Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel used campaign funds to pay for babysitters. One Wisconsin Now today filed a complaint with the state Government Accountability Board (GAB) over the use of campaign funds for his personal babysitting expenses saying, “Compensating a babysitter to watch the District Attorney’s children from campaign funds is an egregious case of the use of these funds for personal benefit. These expenditures of funds do not serve a political purpose, as required by state law.”

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “We already know about Brad Schimel’s stunning views that pay to play is the ‘essence of representative democracy.’ Now we find he thinks he can use the campaign account as his personal piggy bank, paying for babysitters while he’s out on the town.”

In January, One Wisconsin Now had appealed to Schimel, as Waukesha County District Attorney, to look into potential impropriety surrounding legislation introduced by Waukesha County Rep. Joel Kleefisch. The bill in question would have specifically slashed the child support obligations of a millionaire Kleefisch campaign donor.

Schimel responded via email, “Why can’t a legislator press for legislation that benefits a person who has contributed to their campaign? Isn’t that the essence of representative government?”

A review of Schimel’s campaign finance reports by One Wisconsin Now found that between 2008 and 2012 on at least sixteen occasions he used campaign funds to directly pay babysitters, including family members.

Wisconsin Statutes 11.25(2)(a) states, “No person, committee or group may make or authorize a disbursement or the incurrence of an obligation from moneys solicited for political purposes for a purpose which is other than political…” The GAB has in the past interpreted this to mean that personal expenses cannot be paid for using campaign funds.

“Child care is a huge issue and expense for middle class and working families all across our state. But just like he thinks our democracy is supposed to work better for wealthy contributors, Brad Schimel believes he doesn’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else, letting his campaign contributors pick up the tab for his child care,” concluded Ross.

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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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