AG Kaul punches back over lame-duck laws

By: - August 1, 2019 9:14 pm
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul

Today Legislative Republicans filed a lawsuit before the Wisconsin Supreme Court alleging that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has not sufficiently complied with the lame-duck laws they passed after then-Gov. Scott Walker and then-Attorney General Brad Schimel had been voted out of office, but had not yet completed their terms.

That lame-duck session, used to pack committees with Republican appointees and take away powers from the incoming governor and attorney general, was criticized as a power grab, drawing negative national attention. Today’s lawsuit is countering Kaul’s interpretation of the law. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos allege that Kaul is not seeking their permission to settle lawsuits and that he has not handed over settlement money to put it in the general fund under their control, saying that is what their lame-duck laws require.

Attorney General Josh Kaul did not mince words tonight in his response to the Republicans’ brief.

“This an attempt by the legislature to use vague and poorly-written statutory language to substantially cut the budget for the Department of Justice, undermining public safety in Wisconsin. The legislature is wrong on the law and it is simply incorrect that the Department of Justice has not attempted to involve the Joint Committee on Finance in the resolution of certain cases.”

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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.