Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — In a move sure to please the National Rifle Association (NRA), Gov. Scott Walker’s political stunt special session plan proposes giving Attorney General Brad Schimel authority over funding for school safety plans. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that, in addition to spending $3.5 million to boost Walker’s political ambitions, the gun lobby was among the first special interest groups to meet with Schimel upon his taking office.
“Brad Schimel opened his door to the NRA on his second day in office and now their $3.5 million man Scott Walker wants to put him in charge of school safety,” said Ross. “This scheme is more about not offending the NRA and protecting the political ambitions of Brad Schimel and Scott Walker than it is about keeping school children or our communities safe from the scourge of gun violence.”
According to media reports, Gov. Walker has signed an order creating a special session for the purpose of considering a plan he is promoting as addressing school safety. The centerpiece of the Walker scheme is the creation of a new department within the Department of Justice, overseen by Schimel, tasked with administering funding for school safety measures.
Records obtained by One Wisconsin Now show that on his second full day in office, Attorney General Brad Schimel, who was endorsed by the NRA in his 2014 election, met privately in his office with their lead lobbyist. Schimel has, as suggested by the gun lobby, called for guns in schools as the solution to gun violence in the aftermath of the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school.
Ross also pointed to Schimel’s use of state funds to buy promotional swag as a huge red flag. State media and One Wisconsin Now’s review of Department of Justice records uncovered Schimel bought more than $80,000 worth of promotional material including commemorative coins, stress balls, flashlights, candy, coffee mugs and even custom fortune cookies with selected messages using his office funds.
He concluded, “Brad Schimel took money from a program to protect kids from internet predators and used it to buy jelly beans. He’s spent nearly ten thousand more that could have been used to fight crime to have his name and personal motto emblazoned on commemorative coins. It is offensive that Gov. Walker now wants to give his fellow NRA lackey Brad Schimel the checkbook for school safety.”
The following chart details of Schimel’s swag purchases as of Spring 2017: