Did Underly Violate Law By Filming Campaign Video in Her School Office?

By Dan O'Donnell

April 5, 2021

Wisconsin Superintendent candidate Jill Underly appears to have violated a state law prohibiting the use of public resources in campaign-related activities when she filmed a campaign Q and A video with Wisconsin's largest teacher's union in January.

The video, which was posted on the Wisconsin Education Association Council website on January 22, appears to show Underly in her Pecatonica School District office answering questions from a union representative.

The Underly campaign did not answer emailed questions regarding whether the office was indeed her district office, as it appears to be. Underly has come under fire in recent weeks for campaigning on public time and using her public email address.

Such campaign work is illegal under Wisconsin Statute § 230.40 and could constitute misconduct in public office under Wis. Stat. § 946.12. Two aides to former Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker were charged with misconduct for working on Walker's 2010 gubernatorial campaign while on public time.

In 2001, the Wisconsin Legislature's Caucus Scandal led to criminal charges and jail time for the state's senate majority leader and assembly majority leader. The assembly speaker pleaded guilty and avoided jail time. All faced misconduct charges for directing state employees to do campaign work on state time.

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