By TODD RICHMOND
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A group backing Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel released a new television ad on Monday implying that Schimel had a hands-on role in bolstering school security this summer when he was actually following legislators’ orders.
The Republican Attorneys General Association is running the ad on cable television in Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Wausau. It’s part of RAGA’s $2.5 million television campaign to help Schimel defeat his Democratic challenger, Josh Kaul, in November.
The ad features three women identified on-screen only by their first names and last initials. On-screen wording says all three are mothers. They each talk about how Schimel has worked to protect schools. One of the mothers, identified as Trisha I., says Schimel installed new school-security features and added $100 million to protect schools.
“I know Wisconsin schools are safer because of what Brad Schimel is doing as attorney general,” another mother, identified as Trisha T., says at the end of the ad.
The ad makes it sound as though Schimel is directing school districts on which safety features to install, but that’s not the case. Republican lawmakers approved a bill earlier this year following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, offering $100 million worth of school-security grants and putting Schimel in charge of divvying up the money among school districts. The districts must present plans to Schimel showing how they would spend the grants to win any money.
Schimel has held various news conferences around the state to announce recipients. He was due to visit New Berlin West High School on Monday afternoon to survey improvements the grants had made possible at that school.
Kaul said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that the state must do more to make schools safer. He called for universal background checks, a ban on bump-stocks and more money for mental-health programs in schools. His campaign spokeswoman, Gillian Drummond, had no immediate comment on the ad.
Zack Roday, a spokesman for RAGA, said the ad isn’t misleading. He said the grants were set up following advice from a number of stakeholders, including Gov. Scott Walker, school officials and Schimel. He said the women in the ad aren’t actors but didn’t respond to an email asking for their last names.
The attorney general’s campaign manager, Johnny Koremenos, also didn’t immediately reply to emails Monday morning.