Wisconsin Veterans Board Chair Curtis Schmitt Jr. is resigning after calls for him to leave his post following charges of possessing child pornography.
Schmitt yesterday issued Gov. Tony Evers a handwritten letter of resignation cast on an otherwise blank sheet of paper and penned with blue ink in all capital letters.
The news came just hours after GOP guv candidate Kevin Nicholson called on Evers to forcibly remove Schmitt from his post.
The guv appointed Schmitt in 2019 to serve a 4-year term.
Schmitt 38, of Franklin, pleaded not guilty to the three felony charges filed against him Jan. 23. He was charged in Milwaukee County. He told police he was addicted to adult pornography and sometimes received and downloaded child pornography, the Associated Press reported.
Nicholson, a Marine veteran and former Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs member, in a letter to Evers said the guv should consider his correspondence a formal complaint by a resident taxpayer. Nicholson said that would allow Evers to forcibly remove Schmitt from his position.
Nicholson in the letter said it is “unacceptable that you have allowed Curtis Schmitt Jr. to continue on in his capacity on the board following his admission of possession of child pornography.
“By not taking proactive steps to remove him at an earlier date, you have dishonored the reputation of the Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs and displayed an incomprehensible lack of leadership.”
But Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback told WisPolitics.com it’s not accurate to say the guv has taken no proactive steps. She said Evers demanded Schmitt’s resignation in a letter the day after Schmitt was charged. Until yesterday afternoon, Schmitt had failed to answer the request.
Cudaback added Schmitt failed to respond to additional letters Evers’ office sent on March 16 and last week demanding Schmitt resign. She added the Senate confirmed Schmitt as chair in October 2019.
“Mr. Schmitt is therefore not an ‘at pleasure’ appointment, i.e., he does not serve at the pleasure of the governor, which is why we have repeatedly sought his immediate resignation,” she said.
See the court record of the ongoing child pornography case here.