Mike Browne, Deputy Director
One Wisconsin Now: AG Schimel’s pipeline to campaign cash
Nearly 40 Percent of August Contributions From Individuals to Attorney General’s Campaign Came from Michels Construction Family
MADISON, Wis. — Recently filed campaign finance reports reveal Attorney General Brad Schimel has tapped a big pipeline to campaign cash, snagging almost 40 percent of his fundraising take from individuals between July 31 and August 31 from one family. The members of the Michels Construction family, who run the noted pipeline constructor, may be spread across the state, but on August 23, 2018 Marysue, Connie, Peter, Kevin, Barbara and Timothy each cut checks ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for Schimel.
“Brad Schimel has a pipeline to big campaign cash with the Michels Construction family,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Based on his record of taking care of his big donors, Brad Schimel is a good investment.”
Schimel’s September 2018 campaign finance report discloses he raised $133,000 in contributions from individuals between July 31 and August 31. The report also shows that the Michels family accounted for $50,000 of his total haul with Connie, Kevin, Barbara and Timothy donating $10,000 each and Marysue and Patrick chipping in another $5,000 each. Despite the family providing addresses spread between Brownsville, Fond du Lac and Hartland, all the checks were written on the same day, August 23.
Ross noted this is not the first time multiple members the Michels family have simultaneously written large checks to Schimel’s campaign. On December 31, 2013 it appears the family gathered to ring in the New Year writing checks to Brad Schimel with Barbara, Timothy, Marysue and Patrick ponying up $5,000 each while Connie and Kevin kicked in $2,500 apiece.
The company is a favorite contractor for GOP supported projects. According to news reports the firm was seeking work to build Donald Trump’s border wall and has received contracts to do work for the Foxconn deal Gov. Walker is subsidizing with billions in state tax dollars.
As detailed in an expose in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a construction consortium including Michels construction was revealed to have been double paid double for work on a portion of the massive $200 million Zoo Interchange project in the Milwaukee area.
Schimel as Attorney General could be called upon to investigate and pursue legal sanctions for any wrongdoing or underhanded tactics being employed by contractors to improperly charge state taxpayers for projects.
When it comes to investigations of donors seeking favors, Schimel has a troubling history. As Waukesha County District Attorney, Schimel responded to a request to investigate State Rep. Joel Kleefisch introducing legislation written at the direction of his millionaire campaign contributor to lower the donor’s child support payments by writing that, in his view, the buying and selling of influence was the, “essence of representative democracy.”
Ross concluded noting Schimel has also refused to join bipartisan lawsuits against the big drug opioid manufacturers after taking industry contributions, sided with his polluter donors to weaken environmental enforcement and fought to shut down criminal investigations of corrupt political practices involving his biggest campaign financial supporters.