Madison, Wis. — According to a report in today’s Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Scott Walker is denying the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s request for legal representation in a school privatization case brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). Public files reviewed by One Wisconsin Now show between 2011 and 2015, WILL received an astonishing $3.78 million from the Bradley Foundation, which is run by Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe.
“Gov. Walker is denying legal counsel to a state agency because the lawsuit was brought by his campaign chair’s legal fund, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has been paid nearly $4 million by Walker’s campaign chair and it exists to sue on behalf of the Republicans’ political agenda and specifically to attack public schools, public school students and public school teachers.”
In its report “P Is for Payoff,” One Wisconsin Institute documented that between 2005 to 2014, the Bradley Foundation has given $108 million to 103 pro-school privatization groups. At that time, WILL had received $2.1 million from Bradley. The $3.78 million figure represents updated numbers from the 2015 Bradley Report to Wisconsin.
“The unaccountable school privatization cartel already has elected officials like Scott Walker stealing funds from public school students to enrich the privatization industry and hand out millions of dollars in tax cuts to rich parents already sending their kids to private schools,” said Ross. “But since they can’t win a fair fight, now Scott Walker is acting as the school yard bully to keep the independent public school education advocate from being able to get a lawyer to respond to this latest lawsuit.”
The State Journal story also noted that Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel is also refusing to provide counsel to the Department of Public Instruction. Campaign finance reports show Grebe doled out $5,500 in personal contributions for Schimel’s 2014 election.