Prominent Democratic Donor Facing Prostitution Charges

It may be a local story involving the president of the school board and a local credit union, but it could have an effect on Wisconsin state politics.

In January, it was reported that authorities in Menomonie had arrested Gerald P. Fahl, on charges of attempted solicitation of a prostitute. At the time Fahl was both president of the local branch of the Westconsin Credit Union as well as president of the Menomonie School Board.

According to police and as reported by both the Wisconsin State Journal and Dunn County Record, Fahl arranged for his “intimate rendezvous” by responding to an advertisement on the website Backpage.com. When he was arrested later in the evening, Mr. Fahl had in his possession $80 which he admitted was to pay for sex.

According to a criminal complaint:

Fahl attempted to hire a prostitute after responding to an advertisement the Eau Claire Police Department posted on Backpage.com.

The ad featured a phone number and a woman wearing lingerie.

Fahl arrived at the meet-up location on the west side of the 1300 block of Fairfax Street in Eau Claire, where he was then arrested. He admitted to police that he was attempting to meet a prostitute for sex. A sum of $80 was inside his wallet.

Since his arrest, Fahl has retired from both positions saying he wished to focus more on ‘personal matters.’

What has not been reported is that Fahl was a rather prominent supporter of legislative Democrats. According to records from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Fahl has donated nearly $2,500 to various candidates and campaign groups since 2008. The three biggest recipients of his money were the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC), State Senate Campaign Committee (SDCC), and state Senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma).

Records show Fahl gave the ADCC $1,125, the SDCC $625, and Senator Vinehout $325. He had not donated to any of the numerous Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Whether or not any of these committees or Vinehout return the money Fahl donated is up to them; but in a world obsessed with the #MeToo Movement, would you want it known you’ve taken money from someone arrested for soliciting prostitutes?

Then again, are Assembly Democrats even bothered by that anymore? They recently named Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) as their leader. He infamously was arrested for similar charges in 2011 at Appleton massage parlor.