Evers says Walker silencing him in lawsuit

Evers says Walker silencing him in lawsuit

State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers’ spokesman says Gov. Scott Walker is trying to silence Evers by ordering Attorney General Brad Schimel to represent him in a lawsuit.

The suit alleges Evers is illegally writing education rules without Walker’s permission.

Walker on Wednesday ordered the state Justice Department to represent Evers in the lawsuit even though the agency has said it believes Evers needs the governor’s permission to write rules. The agency says there’s no legal basis to argue otherwise.

Evers is one of more than a dozen Democrats running or considering a run against Walker in 2018. State Department of Public Instruction spokesman Tom McCarthy says Walker is trying to saddle Evers with an attorney who agrees with the governor’s position. He says Walker’s move is blatantly political on its face and the governor believes the easiest way to win the case is to silence his opponent.

Evers, through his campaign, also responded in a statement Wednesday evening.

“I never thought I’d see the day when our Governor and Attorney General would take their orders from right-wing special interest groups,” Evers said. “They are so scared that I will beat Scott Walker, they are willing to waste thousands of taxpayer dollars re-filing a frivolous lawsuit they’ve already lost.”

A spokesman for the governor said the Attorney General requested that DOJ represent Evers in the case. Spokesman Tom Evenson told News 3 that the administration does not believe they have authority to appoint a special counsel in the case as he is being sued in his official capacity.

“We believe DPI should be held to the same high level of transparency and accountability taxpayers expect of any other state agency,” Evenson said in a statement. “Superintendent Evers should welcome greater accountability at DPI, not dodge it. It’s not politics, it’s the law.”