Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was paid $4,000 by anti-LGBT hate group
Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel is facing scrutiny after it was revealed that he was paid more than $4,000 by an anti-LGBT group to appear at its conference.
Schimel, a Republican, is facing scrutiny from his Democratic opponents over the address to the Alliance Defending Freedom conference last year.
The ADF is listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
But public records show that Schimel took thousands of dollars from the group.
According to records filed with the state’s Ethics Commission, the attorney general took $4,128 from the group, consisting of $3,828 in expenses plus a $300 fee.
Alliance Defending Freedom frequently brings lawsuits aiming to undermine LGBT rights protections.
The ADF has opposed same-sex weddings, gay adoptions, civil unions, and even the repeal of Sodomy laws, strongly opposing the 2003 Supreme Court decision to strike down state laws banning gay sex.
The group was previously caught waging a campaign to keep gay sex illegal in Belize and is thought to have ties to anti-LGBT activists internationally.
Following the disclosure, opponents have demanded that Schimel release the speech he gave to the ADF event and all documents relating to his interactions with the group.
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Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said: “Brad Schimel needs to come clean on why, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the state of Wisconsin, he took over $4,100 for first class travel and accommodations to appear before a hate group.
“He needs to immediately turn over the records related to his appearance, for which he was paid, and what remarks he delivered at this gathering of rabid homophobes.”
One Wisconsin Now has filed a request under the state open records law seeking “copies of all records pertaining to [Attorney General Schimel’s] participation in the 2017 Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) conference.”
The request “includes but is not limited to copies of emails, prepared remarks, handouts, presentations, and reimbursement requests. I also request electronic copies of any video or audio recordings made of any speech, presentation, panel discussion, or other participation by [A.G. Schimel] at the 2017 ADF conference.”
A spokesperson for Schimel has confirmed that he addressed the ADF on a panel titled ‘Reinvigorating Federalism: Innovative and Constitutional State Efforts for Human Flourishing’, addressing “free speech” and “the role of state attorneys general in protecting states’ rights.”
Schimel’s predecessor as Wisconsin Attorney General, J. B. Van Hollen, had warned clerks that they would risk punishments by issuing licenses for same-sex weddings.