Friday, April 6, 2018

For GOP AG Schimel, on WI environmental matters, no applause, please

Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel took time away from his litigious wars on clean air and water at taxpayer expense to announce some campaign-year pollution enforcement actions.

Hold your applause.

Note that the Journal Sentinel reports Schimel's enforcement actions have been less vigorous than those of his immediate predecessor, Republican J. B. Van Hollen, and others:
Financial penalties have averaged less under Schimel than under Van Hollen — also a Republican — and the two previous attorneys general who were Democrats... 
Schimel...began to issue news releases last July on environmental cases on a quarterly basis. Past attorneys general have routinely publicized such cases. 
Schimel's news release about the enforcement actions is found on the agency's website, but environmental protection isn't exactly a high-profile subject on the DOJ home web page.

You will see no mention of environmental protection in the text that accompanies a big Schimel photo at the top of the page:
"We at DOJ are your resource for prescription painkiller abuse prevention, crime victim services, concealed weapons permits, open government, background checks and more." 
Similarly, the news release about recent environmental penalties praised the "hard work" at the Department of Natural Resources, but the DOJ home page does not list the DNR along with the Department of Transportation and 10 other linked "resources."

Finally - - remember that it was Schimel who advised the DNR in 2015 that it did not have to comply with a judge's directive after a hearing that the agency had the authority to ensure cleaner groundwater by limiting the size of a huge cattle feeding and dairy operation in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Schimel's opinion fit neatly with the 'chamber of commerce mentality' management GOP Gov. Scott Walker had installed at the DNR- - and also set off years of costly litigation now recently moved at Schimel's request from Madison to perhaps a more administration-friendly review in deep-red Waukesha County.

Let me digress for a moment and note the irony in that move, as it echoes another case relocated from Madison to - - surprise - - Waukesha - - which helped Schimel establish his Republican bona fides when he was merely the ambitious Waukesha County District Attorney.

During former GOP Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen's protracted appeals of caucus scandal convictions which had jailed other legislative leaders of both parties, Republican legislators passed a bill allowing a legislator charged with a crime to have the case heard in his or her home district's courts, and not in Dane County Court, as had long been the practice.

As Jensen's initial convictions and 15-month jail sentence had been throw out, he was able to have his case re-tried in Waukesha County under the new change-of-venue statute, where then-DA Schimel settled Jensen's several felony and misdemeanor cases on very favorable terms. For Jensen:
The criminal case against Former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen ended Monday with a $5,000 fine and the assurance that the former top-ranked Republican can never run for office again, according to a plea agreement reached between Jensen and Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.
The deal, which dismissed two felony counts against Jensen and reduced a third to a forfeiture, was approved by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick Snyder. The agreement was the final step in a case that had dragged on for more than eight years. One good-government advocate called the result a "miscarriage of justice."
Here's a photo of manure running off a dairy herd feeding operation in Kewaunee County, where Schimel told the DNR it could not limit a dairy herd's size.

Like I said, for Schimel, hold your applause.


Anonymous said...

I just retired from DNR, my last environmental referral case had no news release on the settlement...Never seen anything like it. Upper management including Pat Stevens bullied me on referral conf. call and contradicted my statements. They do everything to stop enforcement. The big thing that the DNR is doing is targeting people with "work rules" violations.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Thank you for bringing up Schimel throwing that case against Scott Jensen, which is what got Schimel nominated as Attorney General for the crooked GOP.

Schimel is shamelessly corrupt, and probably deserves to be FIRED even more than Walker does this November.

Thanks for sharing the story, Anon. We need more of it these next 7 months

Anonymous said...

I am at DNR now and want to ask Anonymous about this: Why not say which case you are talking about and what the settlement was? You are retired and don't need protection. I understand if you want to protect others but am curious.

Anonymous said...

If for no other reason, vote Walker out to get rid of Pat Stevens and Jake Kurtis.