MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is touting his support from local law enforcement officials in his first television ad, including a sheriff who came under scrutiny for allegedly trying to have his son's car accident record destroyed and for hacking a detective's personal Dropbox account.
Schimel's campaign manager, Johnny Koremenos, said Wednesday that the ad began running statewide on both cable and broadcast television on Friday.
The ad begins by claiming that Schimel is leading the nation in the fight against opioid abuse and that his efforts have earned him the endorsement of 51 Republican and 12 Democratic sheriffs.
The ad then cuts to Taylor County Sheriff Bruce Daniels, a Democrat, who says he's glad Schimel is the attorney general because he keeps his promises.
The Appleton Post-Crescent reported in April that the FBI was investigating Daniels for allegedly directing his information technology director to hack into then-Sgt. Steve Bowers' personal Dropbox account and block the television program "Cold Justice" from accessing files on unsolved cases that Bowers had stored there and shared with the program without approval.
Bowers is currently facing two counts of felony misconduct in office in connection with file sharing. The DOJ is prosecuting him on behalf of Taylor County to avoid a conflict of interest. Bowers has maintained that he thought he was working in partnership with "Cold Justice" to solve the cases.
The Post-Crescent reported that Bowers filed a complaint with Medford Police seeking an investigation of the Drobox hack. Police Chief Bryan Carey told the newspaper that he turned the matter over to the FBI in January or February of this year. FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said in an email Wednesday that the agency neither confirms nor denies investigations.
The Post-Crescent also reported that the DOJ investigated Daniels in 2012 after he allegedly pressured another agency to destroy a report detailing his son's traffic crash. The agency didn't find any grounds to charge Daniels, who isn't seeking re-election.
"Brad Schimel is being endorsed by a sheriff who's afraid to face voters this fall because he may be under investigation," Scot Ross, executive director of liberal group One Wisconsin Now. "This is another example of Brad Schimel's terrible judgment."
Daniels said in an email to The Associated Press that he doesn't have "any additional insight" and that it's still the county's position that the Dropbox incident was handled appropriately. He added that Schimel's ad speaks for itself.
Gillian Drummond, a spokeswoman for Schimel's challenger, Democrat Josh Kaul, said in an email that the opioid crisis has grown worse under Schimel, pointing to state Department of Health Services data that shows 883 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017, up 7 percent from 2016. She didn't address Daniels' role in the ad.
Koremenos said Kaul's allies are "freaking out" because Democrats are rejecting him and endorsing Schimel.