Brad Schimel has to go

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page - By Louis Weis­berg Staff writer

Over nearly four years, Wis­con­sin At­tor­ney Gen­eral Brad Schimel has proven him­self to be a stain on the of­fice he holds. Read WiG’s anal­y­sis.

The Cap Times summed up Brad Schimel’s per­for­mance as At­tor­ney Gen­eral ac­cu­rately and suc­cinctly when it called him the worst AG in state his­tory.

Fol­low­ing are some of the ou­tra­geous ac­tions Schimel has per­pe­trated on Wis­con­sin in fewer than four years:

• Although Schimel was awarded $7 mil­lion to process a back­log of 6,800 sex­ual as­sault ev­i­dence kits, he failed for nearly four years to get it done.

The kits, more com­monly known as “rape kits,” con­tain ev­i­dence col­lected from the body and cloth­ing of vic­tims of rape or sex­ual as­sault. DNA sam­ples gleaned from the kits are es­sen­tial to pros­e­cut­ing per­pe­tra­tors of the crimes.

Un­der great pres­sure from the me­dia and po­lit­i­cal foes, Schimel be­gan pro­cess­ing the kits this year. By the end of May, ev­i­dence from 1,884 kits had been tested. Seventy-five of them yielded DNA matches with pro­files in the FBI’s data­base. Two of those matches al­ready have led to charges against men who’d been left free by Schimel to con­tinue rap­ing women for more than three years while he failed to carry out his re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Re­cently, Schimel an­nounced that all the kits had been tested. He tried, with­out suc­cess, to turn that mile­stone into a brag­ging point for his re-elec­tion cam­paign.

Schimel, who is no friend to the truth, has lied sev­eral times to cover up the fail­ure of his of­fice to ful­fill this crit­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity. In one broad­cast in­ter­view, he de­nied the state even had a back­log of rape kits. Poli­tiFact gave that bizarre state­ment a “pants on fire” rat­ing.

Last fall, while the rape-kit ev­i­dence con­tin­ued to lan­guish untested, Schimel awarded his for­mer crime labs direc­tor a $7,300 bonus.

Schimel’s Depart­ment of Jus­tice has failed to de­liver on all DNA test­ing. Re­cently, a judge blasted the DOJ for neg­li­gence. Mil­wau­kee County Cir­cuit Court Judge David Borowski was forced to re­duce bail for a de­fen­dant in a dou­ble-homi­cide case be­cause the crime lab dragged its heels for so long in pro­cess­ing DNA ev­i­dence.

“For it to take more than three months — al­most four months — to have a DNA re­sult on a homi­cide case, is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able,” Borowski said, ac­cord­ing to the Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sentinel.

In 2013, Schimel had the Repub­li­can Leg­is­la­ture pass a law im­pos­ing a DNAtest­ing fee of $200 on any­one con­victed of a mis­de­meanor or felony. The law was set to be­gin Jan. 1, 2014, but peo­ple con­victed of crimes were given 15 months to pro­vide their DNA. The de­lay, ac­cord­ing to a suit filed against the law, was in­tended to give the DOJ time to raise funds to cover test­ing ex­penses.

The law was found un­con­sti­tu­tional.

• Part of Schimel’s DOJ bud­get went

to self-pro­mo­tions so tacky they could have been cre­ated by Don­ald Trump. In­voices ob­tained through an open records re­quest last fall showed that Schimel spent $83,000 on swag to hand out as gifts to at­ten­dees at DOJ con­fer­ences.

He spent $10,000 for coins em­bla­zoned with his per­sonal mantra: “Kick­ing ass ev­ery day.”

An­other $6,269 went for mes­sen­ger bags with his logo and $6,000 went for pis­tol cases.

His of­fice spent nearly $3,200 on candy and $100 on for­tune cook­ies con­tain­ing cus­tom mes­sages.

The lib­eral group One Wis­con­sin Now summed up the shame­less be­hav­ior with the quip, “Schimel put the AG in swag.”

• There’s noth­ing Schimel cher­ishes more than join­ing in high-pro­file law­suits

— ex­cept when they in­volve opi­oids. He’s wasted many thou­sands of tax­payer dol­lars on le­gal cases that are not in the in­ter­est of Wis­con­sinites so he could rack up con­ser­va­tive bona fides to use in com­pet­ing for a Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for higher of­fice.

Mean­while, he’s avoided get­ting in­volved in cases that would ben­e­fit Wis­con­sinites — for in­stance, a suit to main­tain net neu­tral­ity.

More­over, although two-thirds of Wis­con­sin’s coun­ties have called on Schimel to join at least 22 other at­tor­neys gen­eral in su­ing opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers, he’s de­clined.

Could that be be­cause Schimel has taken — and con­tin­ues to take — do­na­tions from phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies that pro­duce the drugs be­ing blamed for the cri­sis?

Take Pur­due Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, mak­ers of Oxy­con­tin, for ex­am­ple. In ad­di­tion to con­tribut­ing money di­rectly to Schimel and Scott Walker, the com­pany gave $300,000 to the Repub­li­can At­tor­neys Gen­eral As­so­ci­a­tion in 2016. RAGA al­ready has run ads at­tack­ing Josh Kaul, Schimel’s Demo­cratic chal­lenger.

Schimel’s first TV com­mer­cial did ad­dress the opi­oid cri­sis. But in it, Schimel blamed fam­i­lies, not Big Pharma.

• While tak­ing a pass on su­ing drug com­pa­nies, Schimel, with the back­ing of Walker, joined in ex­pen­sive suits against Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion poli­cies, par­tic­u­larly suits chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions.

He’s cur­rently part of a suit un­der con­sid­er­a­tion by a fed­eral judge in Texas to sus­pend the Af­ford­able Care Act on the ba­sis that it’s un­con­sti­tu­tional. Since the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the ACA, also known as Oba­macare, was up­held by the U.S. Supreme Court eight years ago, Schimel’s pur­pose in join­ing the suit has to be po­lit­i­cal. Nev­er­the­less, tax­pay­ers will foot the bill.

Sus­pen­sion of the ACA would al­low in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to deny ap­pli­ca­tions that con­tain pre­vi­ously ex­ist­ing con­di­tions and wreak havoc on the in­dus­try.

• Dur­ing his ten­ure, Schimel has sought to pro­tect pol­luters from be­ing held ac­count­able for the da­m­age they cause to the state’s wa­ter and air.

For in­stance, he lim­ited the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­source’s au­thor­ity to mon­i­tor or limit high-ca­pac­ity wells, re­gard­less of the da­m­age they would do to nearby streams, rivers, lakes and wet­lands. Such mega wells, built for fac­tory-scale dairy farms, are us­ing up the state’s ground­wa­ter.

Schimel se­lected a dairy in­dus­try lob­by­ist to run his en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion unit.

Un­der Schimel, fines against pol­luters in 2015 fell to $306,834, while the av­er­age for the last 10 years was $2.2 mil­lion per year — seven times that amount.

• Schimel al­most de­railed eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans al­low­ing Wis­con­sin farm­ers to grow hemp to pro­duce CBD oil. The oil is used to treat seizures and other health prob­lems, but it does not con­tain enough THC to pro­duce the “high” that mar­i­juana de­liv­ers.

Schimel said he’d “heard” about kids get­ting high on CBD oil and, based on that per­cep­tion, he put the brakes on the state’s would-be hemp in­dus­try be­fore it even got started by threat­en­ing to ar­rest farm­ers who pro­duced the oil.

He quickly changed his tune af­ter Repub­li­can law­mak­ers and the agri­cul­tural lobby stepped in to ed­u­cate him.

If this in­ci­dent makes Schimel seem less than in­tel­li­gent, bear in mind that it’s not the only in­ci­dent.

Schimel openly bragged dur­ing an in­ter­view that Repub­li­cans’ photo ID rules helped Don­ald Trump win in Wis­con­sin. He didn’t get the memo that his party was sup­posed to pre­tend the rules were adopted be­cause of “voter fraud” that never ac­tu­ally ex­isted.

Throw this bum out.

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