Schimel Hosts Fundraising Breakfast On Morning Of His Inauguration

Practice Of Hosting Such Events Has Become Routine For Many Officials

Image courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television.

Attorney General-elect Brad Schimel will hold a fundraising celebration in Madison on Monday morning just a few hours before his inauguration — an event that has become routine for many public officials as the costs of election campaigns continue to rise.

Schimel’s fundraiser will charge $100 a plate for general attendees, with “Host Levels” ranging from $500 to 2,500. A spokesman for Schimel’s campaign said it’s a victory celebration that will help pay off campaign debts and fund future campaigns.

Mike McCabe of the watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said such events are tawdry affairs that highlight the role of money in elections.

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“Political fundraising has become so central to (officials’) lives that they just don’t think that it’s possible to have any event that isn’t linked to their insatiable need for more campaign money,” said McCabe.

When Schimel’s predecessor J.B. Van Hollen held an inauguration fundraiser in 2006, some critics said it smacked of influence peddling. Donors who contributed $500 or more were offered memberships in an “Attorney General’s Club.” Van Hollen’s campaign spokesman said the contributors wouldn’t get any special treatment from the Department of Justice.

Schimel’s spokesman echoed that sentiment when asked whether donations to the campaign would result in any political favors.

Schimel’s most recent campaign finance report lists an unpaid loan of $50,000 from Schimel himself. On Oct. 20, the campaign had more than $300,000 cash on hand. The final report is due in the first week of February.