Does Attorney General Brad Schimel Believe He’s Above the Law?

Schimel Refusing to Acknowledge or Provide Records Associated With the Hiring of Corporate Lobbyist as His Top Aide at Department of Justice

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MADISON, Wis. — A simple open records request to Attorney General Brad Schimel from One Wisconsin Now has gone without so much as an acknowledgement of receipt for nearly five weeks. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that it is not just disappointing that the state official in charge of enforcing the open records law is behaving so shoddily it is also illegal to ignore lawfully made requests.

“The same open records law applies to Attorney General Schimel as every other elected official. And there will be the same consequences if the Attorney General continues refusing to abide by that law and provide requesters with the information to which they are legally entitled in a timely manner.”

In mid-December, One Wisconsin Now requested copies of resumes and any other applications for the position of deputy attorney general, after it was announced Schimel had filled the spot with a corporate lobbyist.

To date Schimel has neither acknowledged receipt of the request or complied by providing relevant documents. One Wisconsin Now’s research director and legal counsel even contacted Schimel and his office via email one week ago, inquiring about the status of the request and providing a copy of the original request.

Prior to coming to work for Schimel 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. He touted his involvement in successful efforts on behalf of his clients to gut Wisconsin consumer protection laws at the potential expense of public safety and eviscerate Wisconsin laws protecting clean air and water.

While 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.”

All options, including legal action to compel Schimel to comply with One Wisconsin Now’s open records request are being considered according to Ross.

He concluded, “Brad Schimel has defended sleazy pay-to-play legislating and ensconced a defender of out of state corporations in the top spot in his office. And now it seems he’s even refusing to comply with a simple open records request. It’s going to be a long four years if this is what we’re going to get from the state’s top law enforcement officer.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.