MADISON, Wis. — In May 2016, Attorney General Brad Schimel had an empty state plane dispatched from Madison to pick him and his spokesperson up near their Waukesha area homes and take them on a promotional tour of the state, according to state records obtained by One Wisconsin Now. At the end of the day, the plane flew from Eau Claire to Waukesha, dropped Schimel and the aide off before flying passengerless back to Madison.
“More scrutiny of what Brad Schimel has been up to turns up another example of his questionable use of our tax dollars,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “It’s simple, a state plane ought not be used as a Schimel shuttle.”
Wisconsin Department of Administration records show a plane was flown from Madison to the Waukesha airport 61 miles away. According to Schimel’s official schedule for the day, he was to meet the plane at the Waukesha airport, seven miles from his home. Schimel was joined on the plane by his spokesperson Johnny Koremenos, who lives five miles from the Waukesha airport. The fly around, including the special stop to pick up the Attorney General at the airfield closest to his home, was $3,396.84.
Schimel has recently drawn criticism for another trip he attended, in his official capacity as Attorney General, a conference sponsored by a hate group in California. In addition to being paid an appearance fee, Schimel’s flight and accomodations at a luxury seaside resort were covered by the anti-LGTBQ Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The ADF has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A special flight to pick him up close to home is not the only instance of Schimel’s questionable priorities. Instead of fighting crime, Wisconsin’s top cop has diverted tens of thousands of dollars to purchase promotional swag. One Wisconsin Now uncovered how Schimel spent at least $10,000 on commemorative coins emblazoned with K.A.E.D., which stands for his personal motto, “Kicking Ass Every Day,” and even diverted money from the Internet Crimes Against Children fund to buy jelly beans.
Meanwhile recent reports continue to expose how Schimel has not been forthcoming, and in some instances has misled, the public and state legislators on the status of a huge backlog of untested rape kits.
The financial relationship between Schimel and Koremenos has previously come under scrutiny. In July 2016, it was revealed Schimel’s campaign had paid Koremenos $22,000 from his campaign account for ongoing work, despite Koremenos having a full-time job at $80,000 in Schimel’s government office as the Department of Justice spokesperson. Less than a year later, it was revealed Koremenos left Schimel’s campaign payroll and was subsequently given an astronomical 17.5 percent raise to offset the lost campaign income.
Ross concluded, “Brad Schimel is supposed to be serving the public as Attorney General. But instead he’s using the public and our money to serve himself, buying swag and treating the state plane like a Schimel shuttle.”