Republican AG Brad Schimel’s campaign slammed an attack ad from the Democratic Attorneys General Association as false, which it says prompted several stations to pull it down.
But the DAGA said it stood by charges in the ad that Schimel cut plea deals for men who sexually assaulted children and blamed underage victims of sexual assault for their “bad judgement,” among others. It provided WisPolitics.com a letter the group’s attorney sent to TV stations arguing the spot should remain on the air.
The $800,000 ad from the DAGA WI People’s Lawyer Project began airing earlier this week across the state and includes an allegation that Schimel arranged a plea deal for a man accused of possessing child pornography after he allegedly donated to the Republican’s campaign.
The Schimel campaign has claimed several of the allegations are blatantly false, and their attorneys earlier Thursday sent cease and desist letters to television stations airing the ad. The campaign reported ABC stations in Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau and La Crosse/Eau Claire have all pulled the ad. It provided correspondence from WISN-TV in Milwaukee that it had pulled the ad. But the station declined comment when contacted by WisPolitics.com, and the ABC affiliates in the other markets that Schimel said stopped running the ad didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.
The letter sent to stations shows two of the five cases in the ad referenced as “plea deals for sexual predators” were handled by a Waukesha County deputy DA while Schimel oversaw the office.
Of the claim Schimel blamed sexual assault victims for have “bad judgement,” attorneys wrote the AG has “never” blamed a victim, and that the ad had taken Schimel’s comments out of context. They wrote the comments regarding “bad judgement” came as Schimel during a sentencing hearing referenced remarks made by the victims themselves.
The campaign also says the plea deal allegedly reached with a campaign donor is blatantly false, and that the perpetrator’s mother even said such a deal never happened.
Koremenos during an online news conference Thursday slammed the DAGA ad and knocked Democratic AG candidate Josh Kaul for relying on outside groups to run his race.
Koremenos also suggested Kaul’s wardrobe implies he “thinks he can outsource his campaign.”
“For months, Josh Kaul has been hiding, and he’s been hiding from the comfort of downtown Madison,” Koremenos said. “In fact, folks reported to me that this week they saw Mr. Kaul in downtown Madison wearing jeans.”
Kaul spokeswoman Gillian Drummond criticized Koremenos’ comments.
“This is a bizarre attack, even from the campaign manager for a politician who spent taxpayer money on things like custom made fortune cookies and stress balls,” she wrote in an email. “Brad Schimel has failed on issue after issue. We need new leadership at the Department of Justice.”
The DAGA’s attorney defended the claims, pointing out in the group’s letter:
*Schimel was the head of the Waukesha County DA’s office for all five cases, and in that role the law gives him the authority to “prosecute all criminal actions before any court within his or her prosecutorial unit.” The letter also said he was listed in court records in both cases as the “prosecuting agency attorney.”
*quoted a news account of Schimel’s comments in the the prosecution of a man who tried to have sex with a 15-year-old and badgered another to have sex with him until she relented. He then repeatedly asked her to have sex a second time until she agreed, but she told him to stop and he refused.
*defended the claim a man caught with child pornography got a plea deal, noting he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty after the state presented sentencing recommendations to the judge that he receive three years in jail and a surcharge of $500, when the crime carried a punishment of up to 25 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine, or both.
“It’s not surprising to see Schimel feel rattled by some of the unflattering information that’s getting out,” said DAGA spokeswoman Lizzie Ulmer.
See the Schimel campaign letter:
See the DAGA letter: