MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel today announced he has lured a hired gun attorney with no background in Wisconsin or Wisconsin state law to serve in his office in the newly created Office of Solicitor General. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted what Schimel’s new hire, Misha Tseytlin, does have is a background with the Washington, D.C. office of an international, silk-stocking law firm that has worked on behalf of large polluters and has ties to the right-wing Federalist Society. Tseytlin most recently worked in West Virginia, helping the state government there oppose efforts to regulate global climate change causing pollution.
“It looks like Brad Schimel and the special interests that underwrote his election think that the taxpayers of Wisconsin ought to now be footing the bill for lawyers to sue the federal government to protect their bottom line,” commented Ross.
The Office of Solicitor General was created at Schimel’s request in the 2015 state budget and the Department of Justice was authorized to spend over $1 million to fund its operation by the Republican legislature and Gov. Walker.
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. Schimel also benefitted from spending by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, that is lobbying vigorously against limits on pollution.
Among his first acts in office was hiring a contract lobbyist who represented special interest clients opposed to climate change regulations and supported a large pit mine as his top deputy. Shortly thereafter he joined a politically motivated lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency reportedly being orchestrated by Republican U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Washington, D.C. lobbyists.
Ross noted that as Waukesha County District Attorney, Schimel took a transactional view of the role of elected officials such as himself. In an email message responding to One Wisconsin Now’s request he investigate the circumstances surrounding legislation introduced by State Rep. Joel Kleefisch to lower the child support payments of his millionaire campaign contributor Schimel wrote that in his view the buying and selling of influence, was the “essence of representative democracy.”
He concluded, “Our state’s top cop is supposed to be policing special interests and protecting state taxpayers, not tapping the state treasury to pay for right wing lawyers to sue to protect polluter’s profits.”