With skyrocketing opioid overdoses and 2271 rape kits still untested, Schimel has failed to keep Wisconsinites safe

MADISON -- Attorney General Brad Schimel appeared on UpFront with Mike Gousha last weekend where he refused to take any accountability for his absolute failure to test the rape kits backlog in a timely fashion and meaningfully address the opioid crisis.

“Brad Schimel has essentially said that he’s not concerned about thousands of rape kits still untested or the addiction that ravages our families and communities,” said Melanie Conklin, communications director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “This is not the Wisconsin we want to live in, and Brad Schimel needs to take an ounce accountability and acknowledge his role in perpetuating these crises.”

When answering a question about the rape kit backlog on Gousha’s show, Schimel said, “We’ve got the best program in the country.” This is a shocking comment from someone who’s failed to test even half of the 6,800 rape kits despite receiving $5 million in federal funding to eliminate the backlog.

Schimel went on to make statements with even more of a dubious connection to the truth. When asked about his office’s response to the backlog, Schimel said, “This was a priority from the time I got into office. We made this a priority and had an office that took it right away.” This retelling does not align with the facts that in February of 2017, two years after Schimel took office, the DOJ reported that only 9 backlogged rape kits had been tested. When confronted with his neglect, Schimel has made numerous excuses on his handling of the backlog, going so far as to claim that there was “no backlog,” receiving a “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact.

Gousha then turned the conversation to Schimel’s failure to address the opioid crisis, asking if the strategy to combat opioids should be rethought given the fact that overdose deaths continue to soar. Schimel said, “No, we are doing the right thing.” 

For Schimel, "doing the right thing” has had deadly consequences: under Schimel’s watch, emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 109%, and opioid-related deaths have increased 43% since Schimel took office. Despite credible analysis suggesting big pharma’s role in manufacturing the opioid crisis, Schimel has refused to join in bipartisan lawsuits to hold opioid manufacturers accountable, instead choosing to accept campaign contributions from big pharma.

“Brad Schimel has failed to keep Wisconsinites safe. His excuses will not take away the pain of the rape survivor who’s waited decades for justice and the communities and families suffering from the throes of addiction. We need an attorney general who’s serious about doing the job of keeping Wisconsin safe. Brad Schimel simply can’t do the job.”
 

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