MADISON, Wis. — A grand jury has indicted the perpetrators of fraudulent videos attacking Planned Parenthood on criminal charges. But that isn’t stopping Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel from using their felonious activity in his latest plea for campaign cash.
“What won’t Brad Schimel do for campaign cash?” asked One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He’s using his office to bring politically-motivated lawsuits that could benefit the bottom lines of the corporate special interests that underwrote his 2014 campaign. And he’s even willing to pander to the far right wing using fraudulent videos whose producers were charged with crimes for making to raise money for his campaign.”
A fundraising solicitation sent on Schimel’s behalf by his fundraising consultant, who also shakes down campaign contributors for Gov. Walker and his high court crony Rebecca Bradley, pleads for cash because his opponents support Planned Parenthood who, she alleged, was implicated in illegal activity by heavily edited videos distributed by rightwing extremists. The producers of the video series were recently indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury.
During his 2014 campaign it was brought to light that while Waukesha County District Attorney he refused a request from One Wisconsin Now to investigate a fellow Republican who authored legislation to slash the child support payments of wealthy Republican campaign contributor Michael Eisenga. In an email response Schimel wrote, “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?” He continued, “Once the individual is convinced that the particular official will act a certain way, why can’t that citizen make otherwise legal campaign contributions?”
According to campaign finance reports, Schimel also cashed in with Eisenga after his refusal to investigate, netting a $500 contribution in December.
Upon his election, Schimel has turned the Attorney General’s office into a virtual taxpayer funded law firm for special interests and right wing causes. The office has intervened in numerous occasions in federal litigation on efforts to crack down on polluters, advance right wing policies on immigration and, most recently, support efforts to reduce access to reproductive health care for women and their families.
Ross concluded, “Brad Schimel has turned a blind eye to political corruption and now he’s turning his back on the health care needs of Wisconsin women and their families. It’s little surprise that someone willing to sink that low would use a video that resulted in criminal charges for its producers to make their case for a campaign contribution.”