Schimel Hobnobs with Big Donors at Trump Resort

November 16, 2017

Attorney General Brad Schimel
Brad Schimel

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel spent last weekend rubbing elbows with big campaign donors at a Florida event that was sponsored by an electioneering group that funneled $300,000 into Wisconsin during the 2014 elections.

The fall meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association in Palm Beach, Fla., included tony dinners, boat tours, golf outings and meetings with donors who gave the association at least $125,000. The weekend meeting was held at two Florida resorts, including President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

The Republican Attorneys General Association is a 527 electioneering group so-named for the IRS laws that govern it. 527 groups are tax-exempt political nonprofit groups that can accept and spend unlimited amounts of contributions from individuals, corporations, trade groups and other wealthy special interests to spend on electioneering activities. Those activities include direct mail campaigns, negative issue advertising and voter registration drives.

Since January 2014, Wisconsin donors have contributed almost $170,000 to the association, led by Miller Coors Brewing, $80,400, and the Foley & Lardner law firm, $43,560, both in Milwaukee.

In late September 2014, the association gave $300,000 to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), the state’s largest business group. Shortly after that, WMC spent an estimated $1.5 million on two television ads to support Schimel.

The Republican Attorneys General Association’s state political action committee (PAC) also contributed $21,560 in 2014 directly to Schimel’s campaign.

Among the association’s top donors are billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the owners of Koch Industries, who have spent tens of millions of dollars to back conservative and Republican candidates and causes over the years. Koch Industries PAC contributed $10,000 to Schimel’s campaign in 2014.