October 23, 2014

Wisconsin Democrats file lawsuit over training videos

DPW Chairman Mike Tate (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

DPW Chairman Mike Tate (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

The head of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin says the public has the right to know what’s on training videos that feature Republican candidate for attorney general Brad Schimel.

Democrats are suing the state Department of Justice, after the agency refused to release the videos through an open records request. The agency cited concerns about victim privacy and argued that criminals could view them to learn tactics used by prosecutors. During a call with reporters Wednesday, DPW chairman Mike Tate questioned that reasoning, and voiced his belief that the objections are more about “J.B. Van Hollen and Brad Schimel trying to prevent the public from getting a full true picture of who Brad Schimel really is.” Tate believes the videos may contain something objectionable about Schimel that he says Republicans “don’t want the public to see.”

The videos in question come from training events for prosecutors organized by the state DOJ. Schimel, who serves as the Waukesha County District Attorney, participated in five such talks, although the DOJ says it only has videos from two of those events.

In a statement released Wednesday, Schimel offered his rationale for keeping the videos from being released to the public. “During many of my presentations I break down specific real-life cases and explain to my fellow prosecutors how we catch and prosecute those who try to prey on our children. I analyze known patterns of behavior and explain how my fellow prosecutors can exploit the common mistakes these men make. I help my peers become better prosecutors and keep more predators off the streets.”

Schimel also dismissed allegations that the videos show him doing anything improper, arguing that “I would not have been invited back again and again and again,” if that were the case. He also criticized Democrats for filing the lawsuit, accusing them of showing “callous disregard for the safety of Wisconsin’s children” by trying to make law enforcement’s playbook public.

A Dane County judge plans to review the tapes, before deciding whether Democrats should get to see them. A ruling on that could come at a hearing scheduled for next week, just days before an election where Schimel faces Democrat Susan Happ, the Jefferson County District Attorney.

President Obama to campaign for Mary Burke in Milwaukee next Tuesday

President Obama campaigns in Madison in 2012. (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

President Obama campaigns in Madison in 2012. (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke is getting some presidential help on the campaign trail.

The Burke campaign confirmed Wednesday that President Barack Obama will campaign with the Democratic nominee in Milwaukee next Tuesday. A specific time and location for the event have not yet been announced.

The president’s appearance will come just a week before Election Day, as Burke prepares to face incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker in a close race. The most recent Marquette University Law School poll showed Walker and Burke tied among likely voters, at 47 percent apiece.

Burke has already been joined on the campaign trail twice by First Lady Michelle Obama. Former President Bill Clinton is also scheduled to campaign for her during a rally set for this Friday in Milwaukee.

Mary Burke votes early in Madison



Mary Burke cast her vote Tuesday in Wisconsin’s closely contested governor’s race. The Democrat cast her early absentee ballot at the Madison clerk’s office – and there were plenty of media on hand as she did. Burke said she wants to make voters aware of the option. “It is to increase awareness of early voting, that there is that opportunity,” she said. The early voting got underway Monday at clerks offices across the state.

In a race that’s all about turnout, Burke said she’s not overly focused on specific numbers of early votes versus those cast on Election Day November 4th. “I look at the turnout overall by November 4th, and certainly need to have good turnout.” she said.

The race is generating support from big names: First Lady Michelle Obama has campaigned twice for Burke, former President Bill Clinton will be in Milwaukee on Friday, and a visit from President Obama is possible in the week prior to the election. “People wouldn’t be here unless they thought I had great chance of winning,” Burke said.

Burke expects turnout to be greater than in the 2010 race for governor, but probably not as large as in the 2012 recall. Republican Governor Scott Walker – who plans to vote on Election Day – has had only one campaign visit from a big name supporter so far – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Alleged haunted house groper faces charges

(File photo: WRN)

(File photo: WRN)

A haunted house attraction in Racine County scares some visitors for a different reason.

An abandoned country bar and restaurant along I-94 gets made up every year to prey on people’s emotions, but one of the show participants is accused of physically preying on patrons instead.

51-year old Daniel Rosmann, of Kenosha, is facing three counts of fourth degree sexual assault, lewd and lascivious behavior, plus disorderly conduct after police say he inappropriately touched some of the customers. Two men and a woman complained to attraction organizers, prompting security to detain Rosmann for police.

If convicted on all four charges, the maximum penalty is almost four years in prison and a $41,000 fine.


Governor Walker says Obama visit could be a ‘liability’ for Mary Burke (AUDIO)

Gov. Scott Walker (WRN file photo)

Gov. Scott Walker (WRN file photo)

Governor Scott Walker has doubts about the benefits a visit to Wisconsin by President Obama would have for his Democratic challenger.

Democrat Mary Burke’s campaign has said they are working having the president campaign for her in Wisconsin during the week before the election, although no date or location have been mentioned yet. Burke has already had First Lady of the U.S. Michelle Obama in the state twice to campaign for her.

During a stop in Weston on Monday, Governor Scott Walker questioned whether a visit by President Obama would help Burke at all, given the polarized opinion many in the state have about the costs of Obamacare and other programs being pushed the Obama administration. Walker said “I think there’s a reason his popularity is way down, and I don’t think it’s going to be a boon for them.”

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker responds to possible presidential visit (:42)

As for whether he’s hoping to match the star power of a presidential visit, Walker declined to name any outside help that might join him on the campaign trail. “I believe this election is not about celebrities, it’s about me talking to directly to the voters, and so I’m not looking to match that,” Walker said, adding that “in fact, I think President Obama coming in for my opponent is a liability.”

Burke for Wisconsin communications director Joe Zepecki responded to Walker’s comments in a statement:

“We’re excited to have the President visit before the Election and hope to announce details of his visit soon. Certainly doesn’t surprise us that a career politician desperate to distract from his failure to create the jobs he promised would resort to such silliness. The simple fact is that under Governor Walker, Wisconsin is dead last in the midwest in terms of private sector job creation, has a ballooning $1.8 billion structural deficit and a lagging economy. Governor Walker’s top down approach is not working, it is time for a new direction with Mary Burke.”

WSAU’s Larry Lee contributed to this report.