Budget committee wants to control how Schimel spends legal settlement money

The Legislature’s budget committee wants to take control of how Attorney General Brad Schimel spends money the state Department of Justice wins in legal settlements.

Right now the attorney general has the discretion to spend settlement dollars as he or she sees fit. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the DOJ will end the fiscal year with $8.4 million in discretionary funds.

The Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to require the attorney general to submit a plan to the panel for spending those funds. Committee members would have 14 days to object.

Sen. Alberta Darling, one of the committee’s co-chairs, says the move is a reaction to the amount of money DOJ has accrued. She says she wants more accountability and transparency in how the attorney general spends the money.

A spokesman for Attorney General Brad Schimel didn’t immediately respond a message.