As the Joint Finance Committee moves ahead today on priorities in the state budget, extra scrutiny must be given to Attorney General Brad Schimel's Department of Justice which spends recklessly on frivolous items and struggles to address the state's rape kit backlog. 

Records obtained by One Wisconsin Now show state taxpayers have forked over more than $50,000 to pay for promotional items for Schimel's agency. Schimel's reckless spending was put on display in January after news reports surfaced that the agency spent $10,000 on commemorative coins. Schimel later commented to the Joint Committee on Finance that he didn't even know how much money his department was spending on coins.  

In addition to reckless spending, Schimel was caught in a lie the very next month after claiming that "a few hundred" of the state's 6,000 backlogged rape kits had been tested. To the contrary, the real number of kits tested at the time was just nine. 

"There is a clear trend of the Department of Justice spending recklessly and neglecting to do its job," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Tuesday. "The Joint Finance Committee has an obligation to give Schimel's Department of Justice a closer look to ensure taxpayer dollars are going towards keeping the public safe - not promote the Attorney General."