State Senate Democratic Committee
Press Release

Video shows secret backroom meeting between Olsen and Harsdorf prior to lead paint vote

Senate GOP leader doesn’t dispute pay-to-play scheme with lead paint donor

By - Sep 20th, 2016 10:29 am
Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf.

Luther Olsen and Sheila Harsdorf.

MADISON, WI – Video evidence from an all-night Joint Finance Committee meeting shows two Republican Senators meeting privately behind closed doors before voting to insert an outrageous lead paint immunity provision into the 2013-15 budget. Footage archived on WisconsinEye shows Senators Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) meeting privately with a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) during the committee meeting.

“The public may never know what was said between Senators Olsen and Harsdorf in their backroom meetings,” said Matt Ullsvik, SSDC Executive Director. “What we do know is that at the end of the day, Olsen and Harsdorf voted to insert language into the state budget that had been specifically requested by a major campaign contributor. It’s time for Olsen and Harsdorf to come clean about these secret backroom meetings and explain why they sided with major campaign donors instead of injured children.”

Sen. Fitzgerald continues to dodge questions about his involvement in this scheme involving the owner of NL Industries, an out-of-state lead paint producer and major dark money campaign contributor. Notes from Sen. Fitzgerald’s office clearly indicate that the language inserted into the budget by Senators Olsen and Harsdorf had been crafted specifically for NL Industries.

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