Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.
The races for governor and U.S. Senate are sure to dominate the attention of most voters this November, and rightfully so, but there are also other important choices for the voters including that of attorney general. Josh Kaul has used the office as a platform for activism and fallen well short of his duty to Wisconsin as the state’s top law enforcement officer. Voters would do well to ensure that he is not allowed to continue his malfeasance for a second term.
Josh Kaul, the son of the late disgraced former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, was narrowly elected in the blue wave election of 2018. He was elected with less than 50% of the vote and defeated his Republican opponent by a scant 0.65%. Despite his narrow plurality win, Kaul has used every tool in the attorney general’s box to advocate for his leftist causes at taxpayer expense. Meanwhile, he has failed to fulfill the basic duties of the job to fight crime.
Let us start with some of the things that Kaul has been spending his time on instead of prosecuting criminals. In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kaul announced that his office — the people’s office — would not prosecute anyone who violated Wisconsin’s abortion laws. Whatever one thinks about the law, it is a constitutional law that was passed by a duly elected legislature and signed into law by a duly elected governor (a Democrat, no less). Kaul has a sworn duty to uphold the laws of the state. Kaul has gone a step further and is suing the Republican leadership in the state Senate over Wisconsin’s abortion law arguing that it is unenforceable. Instead of spending his time and the taxpayers’ resources on fighting crime, Kaul is taking it upon himself to sue to change laws with which he does not agree. Kaul is not a participant in the law-making structure of government. The attorney general is supposed to be the people’s prosecutor and enforce the people’s laws. Instead, he is trying to usurp the power of the people to pass laws with the courts.
This is not the only issue on which Kaul is spending his time and the people’s resources to engage in leftist activism. Kaul has been a vocal advocate for curtailing civil rights with more restrictive gun laws. He has advocated for legalizing marijuana despite the disastrous consequences we see ravaging other states that have legalized it. Kaul has used his office to defend the bureaucratic dismantling of our elections laws that leave Wisconsin open to sloppy and fraudulent elections. Kaul is a busy guy, but he is not busy doing the things that Wisconsin needs done.
While Kaul has been acting as the state’s top activist, he has been failing as the state’s top cop. Under his tenure, he has left dozens of state prosecutor jobs unfilled. Fewer prosecutors leads to fewer prosecutions and Kaul has been engaging in his personal “defund the police” action.
The State Crime Lab, which former Attorney General Brad Schimel fixed, has fallen victim to Kaul’s neglect. The turnaround time for routine lab tests has increased by over 30% since Kaul took office. His mismanagement of the State Crime Lab means that criminals are staying on the street longer as police wait anxiously for the evidence they need to arrest them.
The evidence of Kaul’s dereliction is in the crime data. According to FBI crime statistics, Wisconsin’s violent crime rate in 2020 was the highest it had been in 35 years. Milwaukee has already had over 500 non-fatal shootings and over 130 homicides this year. The carnage is real. While Kaul is using his office to advocate for leftist causes, his failures in running the Department of Justice are being measured in dead bodies and ruined lives.
Wisconsin needs an attorney general who will work tirelessly to enforce the laws of the state and put criminals in jail. Josh Kaul has proven time and time again that he will prioritize his personal political causes over that of the people of Wisconsin every time.