Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

New State GOP Chair Involved with Fake Electors

Brian Schimming went on talk radio to defend ‘peaceful protests’ at January 6 Capitol riot.

By - Feb 1st, 2023 02:43 pm
Brian Schimming speaks at a groundbreaking in 2018 during his time with WHEDA. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Brian Schimming speaks at a groundbreaking in 2018 during his time with WHEDA. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

On Jan. 6, the two-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, right-wing radio talker Vicki McKenna did a show mocking the idea that an insurrection occurred, calling it a fantasy pushed by filthy lying despicable progressives.” The mix of invective and derangement was not unusual for McKenna, who makes Mark Belling seem subtle, but what was notable was the guest commentator on the show, the new Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Brian Schimming.

Schimming was elected to this position on Dec. 10, which some saw as a return to normalcy for a party which has been fertile ground for the sort of Trump-style demagoguery McKenna’s show exemplified. As the liberal Cap Times in Madison editorialized, Schimming’s selection “could be a hopeful development for Wisconsin politics…Schimming is a product of the Thompson-era Republican Party, which at its best erred on the side of positive appeals, as opposed to the cutthroat strategies that have tended to characterize recent Republican campaigns.”

Indeed, Schimming’s resume reads like that of an old-style mainstream Republican, including years serving as chief of staff for then-Assembly Speaker David Prosser in the mid-1990s, followed by a job as executive director of the Wisconsin Conservation Corps, which works on projects like trail restoration and stream bank stabilization. Next he was chosen by Gov. Tommy Thompson to serve as administrator of the Wisconsin Division of Housing & Intergovernmental Relations from 1999 to 2003, followed by 10 years as a lobbyist. He was later appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to be deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Schimming is one of those classic party insiders who knows everybody there is to know. That includes Jim Troupis, a longtime attorney who was part of the legal team hired by Republicans in crafting their 2011 gerrymandered redistricting plan. Troupis later served as Dane County Circuit Court judge (appointed by Walker) and more recently was the campaign attorney for Donald Trump and handled the unsuccessful challenges in state courts of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in Wisconsin.

Troupis was up to his ears in Trump’s attempt to illegally overthrow the 2020 election, as a New York Times story recounted. Just 15 days after Election Day in 2020, Troupis was among the first to receive “a memo setting out what became the rationale for an audacious strategy: to put in place alternate slates of electors” in key swing states where Trump had lost. The memo, from another lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro, was used by Trumps top lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others as they developed a strategy to elect Trump-friendly alternate electors in states like Wisconsin. The strategy ultimately failed and Troupis was later sued for his role in the scheme.

And Schimming was working with Troupis during this time, according to Andrew Hitt, the former Republican Party chair in Wisconsin, in his testimony before the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. Schimming “knows Mr. Troupis very well,” Hitt said. “You know, Mr. Troupis is probably the preeminent guy in Wisconsin on election law and recounts… And Brian, Mr. Schimming, has done a lot of those recounts with him. And so he was brought on to help with sort of coordination and to be sort of a right hand to Mr. Troupis and to work on communications-type stuff and public affairs-type issues for Mr. Troupis during the recount” of the 2020 election.

According to Hitt, Schimming was involved in writing a statement regarding an alternate slate of Wisconsin electors that would be meeting on Dec. 14 at the state Capitol. Hitt also testified that Schmming was on a conference call with Chesebro and Giuliani, and that Giuliani said they should make sure there is “no press… no heads up to the media” about the alternate electors meeting.

Which worried Hitt, who texted to Mark Jefferson, the Republican Party of Wisconsin‘s executive director, “These guys are up to no good.”

When asked, Hitt said he didn’t know if Schimming “pushed back against Mr. Giuliani when he said no media.”

In short, Schimming was involved in discussions with Giuliani about the slate of fake Wisconsin electors, but has avoided discussing this with the media.

Schimming has also defended one of the 10 fake electors, Robert Spindell, after calls for the latter to step down from his position on the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which came in reaction to Urban Milwaukee’s story quoting a Spindell email to Republicans where he bragged about GOP efforts to reduce Black and Hispanic turnout in Milwaukee. “Perhaps [Spindell’s] statements weren’t as artfully put as they could be, but I don’t doubt that what he means is that we are going to continue to work those neighborhoods and other neighborhoods in Milwaukee,” Schimming said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Television.

Then there was Schimming’s appearance on a long Vicki McKenna show (Troupis was also a guest) where she claimed no Trump protestors were involved in Jan. 6 violence. These were “middle-aged Trump supporters” who were “wandering the Capitol grounds,” McKenna claimed, while President Biden’s statement about Jan. 6 was a “charade about an insurrection that never happened.”

By then 978 people who participated in the riot had been charged with federal crimes and 475 had pleaded guilty. But McKenna insisted repeatedly that this was “an insurrection that never happened,” a made-up story by liberals. “Lies are the currency of the left,” she fulminated.

Schimming was her last guest on the show and they exchanged chit-chat that made it clear they were old friends in between pushing the lie that there was no January 6 insurrection. Schimming noted he has had people in Milwaukee ask him about this and he says, “Look I had multiple friends that went out there to protest. For you to call them insurrectionists is obscene. They’re everyday folks that were upset about the election. I’m not making excuses for those who went in and violated the law.”

But McKenna quickly noted that there were none who violated the law, bashing “purposely dishonest” liberals “because not a single one of them was an insurrectionist.” It’s all a hoax perpetrated by “filthy lying despicable progressives to obliterate the First Amendment,” she charged.

Said Schimming: “Well, they have to perpetuate this.”

McKenna then went on to declare that Trump supporters are some of the most pro-police people in the country (138 police officers were injured at the Capitol riot) and then condemned the criticism of the Oath Keepers (11 members were charged with crimes and five have so far been found guilty). She declared that Biden “is a fascist” and has “teed up the FBI” to become brown shirts.

This, of course, is classified as “entertainment” under the law and thus McKenna has no obligation to report the facts. But what was Schimming doing swimming amid this toxic brew of ugly falsehoods?

Reports of the state Republican Party returning to normalcy, it seems, were exaggerated.

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Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

One thought on “Murphy’s Law: New State GOP Chair Involved with Fake Electors”

  1. ringo muldano says:

    Back in the day, Icky Vicki would identify as a “skank”

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