State Attorney General Brad Schimel Votes to Impose Climate Change Gag Order on State Employee

Disturbing Questions Surround State AG Support for Latest Antics of Science-Denying State Treasurer

MADISON, Wis. — The latest antics of State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, seeking to ban a state employee from discussing climate change during work hours, could be dismissed as the rantings of just another Tea Party science denier. But the support of State Attorney General and Board of Public Lands Commissioner Brad Schimel for Adamczyk’s anti-science jihad raises troubling questions according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

“We’ve seen enough of Matt Adamczyk and his antics to not be surprised by his lack of intellectual heft,” said Ross. “But you have to wonder what’s behind Attorney General Brad Schimel’s support for a science denier’s gag order on a state employee.”

At a meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands on Tuesday, Schimel cast the deciding vote in favor of the Adamczyk proposed gag order to prohibit a state employee from discussing global warming or climate change while on the job.

Of particular note according to Ross is who supported Brad Schimel’s campaign and who he has chosen as his top aides since becoming Attorney General. Schimel’s pick as his top aide, Andrew Cook, was a contract lobbyist for numerous clients including promoters of coal-powered electricity, Wal-Mart, pit mine supporters and other state corporate special interest associations. In his biography on the webpage of the contract lobbying firm with whom he was previously employed, Cook touted his involvement in successful efforts on behalf of his clients to eviscerate Wisconsin laws protecting clean air and water.

During his campaign for Attorney General, Schimel pledged to fight efforts by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to slow global climate change. Schimel went on to snag for himself a maximum contribution of $10,000 from Menard’s owner John Menard, Jr. who has been cited over a dozen times by state environmental regulators for air and water pollution and hazardous waste violations.

Menards has recently been the subject of more scrutiny on heels of a news report revealing a secret $1.5 million donation from Wisconsin’s richest man to a group aligned with Gov. Walker before his business snagged $1.8 million in tax credits courtesy of the Walker administration’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

As Waukesha County District Attorney, Schimel refused to investigate and defended the conduct of fellow Republican and husband of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, and his efforts to pass a law to dramatically reduce the child support obligations of a millionaire contributor to his campaign, terming it the “essence of representative government.”

“Brad Schimel hasn’t done anything to earn the benefit of the doubt when it comes to questions about how he does business. His unnecessary support for the outrageous antics of an anti-science Tea Party extremist raises even more questions about his motives,” 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.