MADISON, Wis. — Attorney General Brad Schimel’s pick to oversee school safety grant funds stands to earn more than just a state salary for her work. According to information uncovered by One Wisconsin Now, mere days before being announced as Schimel’s pick to run the Office of School Safety, Kristen Devitt incorporated a business that offers safety trainings for schools.
“Brad Schimel is trying to use school safety for his personal political advantage while the person he’s hired to run the program looks like she’s in a position to use it to pay off for her financially,” said One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin. “It looks like an all around sleazy deal to personally benefit certain people, when instead it should be all about protecting our kids.”
According to Devitt’s publicly-accessible LinkedIn profile, she has been the Director/Owner of Badger School Safety Consulting since May 2018, a date after she would have had to apply for the state posted job to be in charge of distributing state tax dollars related to school safety. A review of Who.Is shows the business’s website domain was purchased through GoDaddy on 5/31/18 and, according to the Department of Financial Institutions records, Badger School Safety Consulting was registered as a domestic LLC on June 8, 2018.
Devitt’s business has publicly advertised its services on social media and maintains a Facebook page and Twitter profile. A recent check of the business website, made after One Wisconsin Now began investigating, reveals it has been taken down.
Curiously, Schimel didn’t make mention of Devitt’s private sector enterprise in his announcement of her hiring. According to her resume, the only application materials provided by Schimel’s office in response to an open records request for copies of said documents, Devitt also did not disclose her ownership of a school safety consulting business when applying to oversee grant funds that could go to line her own pockets.
Schimel has also been criticized for politicizing grant awards, delaying the timing of a final round until October, just weeks before his election, even though funding was approved in late March. While the timeline may work politically for Schimel, it’s months after students returned to schools.
Beilman-Dulin noted this is just the latest blunder by Brad Schimel in a tenure that has been marked by misplaced priorities and incompetence. Most recently, Schimel’s campaign released a tv ad featuring a law enforcement officer under investigation by the FBI. He also has been roundly criticized for emailing Department of Justice employees, on the same day a former high ranking DOJ employee released a book highly critical of his leadership, that they would be required to sign unprecedented non-disclosure agreements.
She concluded, “Mismanagement and misplaced priorities have been the hallmarks of Brad Schimel as Attorney General. Add school safety to the list of Brad’s blunders.”