MADISON, Wis. — Records obtained by One Wisconsin Now show that controversial commemorative coins aren’t the only swag that doesn’t fight crime purchased by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. In fact, according to a review of records it took Schimel’s Department of Justice nearly four months to produce, he’s bought more than $80,000 worth of promotional material including stress balls, flashlights, candy, coffee mugs and even custom fortune cookies with selected messages.
“As Attorney General, Brad Schimel is putting the ‘AG’ in swag,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Fortune cookies may be fun and delicious but what is their value for fighting crime?”
One Wisconsin Now requested information from the Department of Justice on swag purchases after news broke that Schimel had dropped $10,000 of public funds on commemorative coins for him to hand out, emblazoned with “KAED” that stands for his motto, “kicking ass every day.”
Responsive documents provided by DOJ reveal that, including the coins, a total of over $80,000 was spent on promotional materials like stress balls, coffee mugs and tumblers, candy, pens and flashlights. Schimel’s department even purchased custom fortune cookies to provide recipients with inspiring messages like, “Say ‘Hello’ to others. You will have a happier day” and “The time is right to make new friends.”
Ross noted that while Schimel spends on swag, according to a news report, backlogs in testing of DNA evidence continue to grow at the state crime lab. According to the story, “The state crime lab’s most recent annual report shows the average DNA case took 61 days to process last year, up 18 days from the previous year and up 24 days from 2013.”
He concluded, “Brad Schimel owes the people of Wisconsin answers about what he was thinking using DOJ funds to buy all this swag, even if it means putting down the giant jar that has his $1,000 of Jelly Bellies in it.”