Former DOJ Employees Endorsing Kaul Are Political, Too

Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul released a letter from 45 former Department of Justice (DOJ) employees criticizing the incumbent Attorney General Brad Schimel for being too political.

“The current Attorney General, Brad Schimel, has blatantly politicized the office, dropped the ball on his role as the lead crime fighter in Wisconsin, and abdicated the AG’s traditional role as ‘the people’s lawyer’ representing Wisconsin citizens’ interests in criminal and civil matters alike,” the letter claimed.

The 45 DOJ employees also claimed that they were just non-political public servants.

“We served in the Wisconsin Department of Justice, where our primary goal — indeed our only goal — was to serve the people of Wisconsin efficiently, effectively, and in a non-partisan manner in all types of cases, including criminal prosecutions and appeals, environmental enforcement, consumer and antitrust enforcement, among others,” the letter writers claimed while endorsing Kaul.

However, a look at the backgrounds of the 45 letter signees reveal they’re just political partisans, too.

A cross-check of publicly available data showed 33 of the 45 authors of the letter also signed the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker in 2012. Of the 45 authors of the letter, at least 40 are past contributors to Democratic campaigns, including 16 of them who donated a total of $18,975 to Attorney General Brad Schimel’s past challengers.

Among the letter signers are Linda Clifford, a liberal who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court, and Carl Sinderbrand, a board member of the liberal environmentalist group Clean Wisconsin.

Schimel said the endorsements for his opponent are not surprising considering the sources.

“Activists don’t like me,” Schimel said in an email statement. “I’m proud of the team we have at DOJ – Professionals who put people before politics. I am the ONLY candidate in this race with broad, statewide bipartisan support, including from our law enforcement partners in every corner of Wisconsin.”

A total of 64 county sheriffs (out of 72) have endorsed Schimel, including 13 Democrats.

Kaul’s campaign did not respond to a request for a comment regarding the partisan nature of the list.

In addition to the partisan nature of the letter signers, at least two of them may have personal axes to grind. According to records requested from DOJ, two of the letter signees were allowed to resign in lieu of termination during Schimel’s administration.

Ironically, one of the letter’s signers, Tom Dawson, was being investigated for violating the confidentiality of the attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine by giving information to a member of the media when he resigned. Schimel’s office was recently criticized by his opponent for requiring staff to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The new non-disclosure agreement was a standardization of previous non-disclosure agreements and is similar to those used in South Carolina and Louisiana, according to the Schimel campaign.

Name Hired by: Left Under: Matches Name on Walker Recall Petition Lifetime Democrat Donor History Donations to Schimel’s Opponents (2014 and 2018)
Ruth Bachman N/A N/A X $1,307.40
Tom J. Balistreri Warren (R) Schimel (R) X $1,875 $300
Crystal Banse Van Hollen (R) Schimel (R) X $350
Jeffrey B. Bartell N/A N/A $26,099.07
Kathleen M. Batha Doyle (D) Van Hollen (R) X $400
Bill Bussey N/A N/A X $500
Linda M. Clifford N/A N/A X $35,218 $1,500
Bruce Craig Warren (R) Doyle (D) Not a WI Resident $1,200
Tom Creeron La Follette (D) Schimel (R)
Thomas J. Dawson La Follette (D) Schimel* (R) X $1,925 $250
Tom Dosch La Follette (D) Van Hollen (R) $100
Shari Eggleson La Follette (D) Van Hollen (R) X $4,375
Maureen McGlynn Flanagan La Follette (D) Van Hollen (R) X $175
William L. Gansner Warren (D) Schimel (R) X $3,100 $200
Dave Gilles Warren (D) Lautenschlager (D) $3,950 $100
Paul J. Gossens N/A N/A X $600
John S. Greene Hanaway (R) Schimel (R) X $450 $100
L. Jane Hamblen Doyle (D) Lautenschlager (D) X $3,075
Jerry L. Hancock Hanaway (R) Lautenschlager (D) X $400
Hal Harlowe N/A N/A X $5,500
Charles D. Hoornstra Warren (R) Lautenschlager (D) X $4,340 $600
Edwin J. Hughes Doyle (D) Lautenschlager (D) X $5,200 $200
Robert M. Hunter La Follette (D) Van Hollen (R) X
Stephen W. Kleinmaier La Follette (D) Van Hollen (R) $200
Robert W. Larsen La Follette (D) Doyle (D) $300 $300
Alan Lee Warren (R) Lautenschlager (D) X $2,325 $500
Margie Moeller La Follette (D) Schimel (R) X $150
Stephen L. Morgan Warren (R) La Follette (D) X $250
Stephen J. Nicks Warren (R) Lautenschlager (D) $200
Nancy A. Noet Van Hollen (R) Schimel* (R)
Kevin J. O’Connor La Follette (D) Lautenschlager (D) $9,100 $3,500
Bruce A. Olsen La Follette (D) Schimel (R) X
Eileen W. Pray N/A N/A X $350
Peter B. Ritz N/A N/A X $16,477.51 $425
Robert A. Selk La Follette (D) Lautenschlager (D) X $2,275
F. Joseph Jr. Sensenbrenner N/A N/A X $76,955 $10,000
Carl A. Sinderbrand La Follette (D) Hanaway (R) $4,750 $500
Diane M. (Nicks) Sorensen La Follette (D) Doyle (D) X $950 $200
Daniel D. Stier La Follette (D) Doyle (D) X $100
Jack (John) R. Sweeney La Follette (D) Schimel (R) X $3,980 $300
Barbara W. Tuerkheimer La Follette (D) Lautenschlager (D) X $2,485
Warren D. Weinstein Hanaway (R) Schimel (R) X $250
Steven B. Wickland Warren (R) Lautenschlager (D)
William C. Wolford Warren (R) Van Hollen (R) X $300
Christopher G. Wren Hanaway (R) Schimel (R) X $100
Matches Name on Walker Recall Petition Lifetime Democrat Donor History Donations to Brad’s Opponents (2014 and 2018)
Total 33 (73%) $221,636.98 $18,975