Reality Check: Dueling AG race ads raise questions about commemorative coins, rape kits

Reality Check: Dueling AG race ads raise questions about commemorative coins, rape kits

MADISON, Wis. - Props take center stage in two political ads in the race for Wisconsin attorney general.

Democratic challenger Josh Kaul started the trend with his ad, and Republican incumbent Brad Schimel continued the theme

"This is a commemorative coin, and this is a rape kit," Kaul says, while seated at a table holding the two props. 

"This is a real award given to law enforcement heroes who help keep us safe," Schimel says in his ad, holding the same two items.  "And this is a real kit that I've used to convict rapists."

So which one is it? News 3 looked first at the claims in Kaul's initial ad. 

"This [coin] doesn't fight crime, but testing the DNA in one of these can help you catch a dangerous criminal," Kaul said in the ad.  "So why did Brad Schimel spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on commemorative coins, while over 4,000 rape kits went untested for more than two years?"

News 3 finds this needs clarification. 

The coins Kaul is referring to were reported on by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2017.  Schimel's office said that he purchased the so-called "challenge coins" as tokens of recognition for law enforcement.  They cost taxpayers nearly $10,000 and had an acronym inscribed on them: K.A.E.D., or Kicking Ass Every Day. 

The rape kit issue goes back to July of 2015, when a USA Today investigation revealed some 6,000 rape kits in Wisconsin were untested.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice determined that about 4,000 of them would be tested and in September 2015 Schimel got a $4 million federal grant to start testing. 

Two years later, in February 2017, Schimel's office said only nine of the tests had been completed.  By May 2017, just more than 60 had been tested.  Schimel's office ultimately said they found more labs to speed up testing. 

That's when we turn to Schimel's ad. 

"I'm a real prosecutor who convicts rapists and eliminated the rape kit backlog," Schimel says in his ad. 

News 3 finds this also needs clarification. 

Schimel announced in September of 2018 that testing was completed on more than 4,000 sexual assault cases, with only five needing additional testing.  More than 2,000 kits were not designated for testing by DOJ. Just last week, DOJ announced they had completed its review of the remaining kits.  

If you have an idea for a Reality Check, send it to us at realitycheck@channel3000.com.



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