State Senate Democratic Committee
Press Release

Top Senate Republican won’t deny Pay-To-Play scheme

Majority Leader refuses to say whether votes were promised to lead paint manufacturers in return for dark money campaign contributions

By - Sep 15th, 2016 09:32 am
Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald

MADISON, WI – Wisconsin’s Senate Majority Leader has refused to deny claims that his caucus was involved in a newly exposed pay-to-play scheme involving major campaign contributors. The shocking reports revealed by The Guardian revealed that lead paint manufacturers donated $750,000 to a Republican-controlled dark money special interest group while Republican lawmakers worked with lead paint lobbyists to grant legal immunity to these businesses.

“The fact that Republicans won’t come clean about their involvement in one of the most damning pay-to-play schemes in Wisconsin history should tell voters all they need to know,” said Matt Ullsvik, SSDC Executive Director. “This rotten pay-to-play scheme with lead paint manufacturers is a new low for Republicans who have routinely bent over backwards for the wealthy special interests who bankroll their campaigns. This Republican legislature has earned its reputation as one of the most shameless and corrupt groups of politicians in Wisconsin’s history.”

When asked to comment about the appearance of pay-to-play politics involving lead paint manufacturers, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) refused numerous opportunities to explain his caucus’ involvement. It was later revealed that Sen. Fitzgerald and his Republican colleagues worked directly with a lead paint lobbyist to retroactively exempt lead paint manufacturers from legal liability for injuring children in the 2013 state budget.

So far, the only Republican to comment on the pay-to-play scheme is Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) who was quoted by The Cap Times as saying: “I voted for something in the budget and somebody else got some money.”

Pay-to-Play
See also: Political corruption
A practice in which a politician encourages monetary contributions in exchange for benefits for an individual or company.

Lead-Based Paint
See also: Poison
Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood.

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