Letter to the Editor
I Am Voting for Tony Evers for Governor, and Josh Kaul for Attorney General.
As a lawyer who has devoted many years to representing men and women in the workforce, I have seen firsthand the devastating
impact of the laws enacted by Governor Walker and the Legislature. To give one example: Governor Walker and the Legislature
enacted new barriers to qualify for unemployment compensation. Until 2014, discharged workers could only be denied unemployment
if they were discharged for “misconduct.” But in 2014, Wisconsin became one of only two states to deny benefits to workers
discharged for conduct that constitutes “substantial fault.” The Legislature was transparent in stating its intent to make it more difficult
to qualify for benefits.
As a result of this new law, the Walmarts and Walgreens are able to discharge workers and deny them benefits under the lesser
standard of “substantial fault.” I have been successful in overturning some of these denials, including a case I won on behalf of my
client before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Operton v. LIRC. But few workers are able to obtain representation to ensure a just
Of equal concern is how Attorney General Brad Schimel has chosen to allocate the scarce resources of the Justice Department. For
example, Mr. Schimel has hired additional lawyers whose focus is to criminally prosecute unemployment fraud. He has done so
seemingly without considering whether our state’s interests could be better served without burdening the individuals with criminal
records, which makes it more difficult for them to obtain employment and pay the taxes that benefit us all.
In one case, the individual was charged criminally by the Attorney General’s office even though he had no prior record, had paid back
all the benefits with penalties and expressed remorse. The Judge expressed shock by the decision of the Justice Department to
criminally prosecute this individual when everything had been repaid and the person demonstrated remorse. The judge stated to the
Justice Department lawyer that “clearly the attorney general’s office does not have enough work to do on real crime, but they have to
search out offenses to charge when everything has been repaid and the person has shown remorse.” The judge went on to observe
that the Attorney General’s office was “obviously searching for prosecutions that experienced prosecutors locally deem not appropriate
anymore to charge.” The defendant now has a criminal record.