A first take on candidates for attorney general
Made plans yet for Aug. 12, 2014?
Yeah, it's just a Tuesday in the middle of summer.
But it's also Election Day -- well, primary election day.
Among the state races on the ballot is attorney general.
Three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination: Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and state Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.
So, far we’ve fact-checked each candidate once.
Here’s a quick review.
Happ made a claim in reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which involved contraception and the insurance coverage that companies are required to provide to employees under the Affordable Care Act. She said: "At some point in their lives, 99 percent of women use birth control."
We rated the statement Half True.
It was clear Happ was arguing that contraception use is widespread, and important for women who run the risk of getting pregnant. But in making the statement she used an overly broad brush, applying what is true for a subset (sexually active women between 15 and 44) and applying it to a larger group (all women).
Arguing that he is doing more with less, Ozanne claimed he is running the second-largest county district attorney’s office "at 1985 staffing levels."
We rated the claim Half True.
The Dane County district attorney’s office has a full-time-equivalent of 27.85 prosecutors, slightly more than the 26 in 1985. But it also regularly utilizes special prosecutors to fill temporary vacancies. And the office has 41 percent more support staff than it did in 1985.
Richards, the one candidate who isn’t a prosecutor, made a claim about his legislative work to benefit the assistant district attorneys who prosecute cases around the state. He said that in 2013, he was "involved with an effort to to help prosecutors get their first pay raise in more than 10 years."
We rated the statement False.
Prior to raises Richards helped enact in 2013, it had been more than a decade since the prosecutors were eligible for merit raises. But there had been a series of across-the-board raises for five consecutive years, from 2004 through 2008.
Schimel said Richards "went so far to say he would only enforce the laws with which he personally agreed."
All four candidates have stated they wouldn’t defend certain laws, saying they violate the state or U.S. constitution. But we rated Schimel’s claim False.
He provided no evidence that Richards made such a statement. On the contrary, Richards has said on multiple occasions he would enforce laws with which he doesn’t agree.
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