Say you are a Wisconsin millionaire repo man who doesn’t want to pay so much gosh-darned child support, and you would like to get a law passed that says “stop class-warring job creators by making them feed their children all the time.” Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone you could call who would lend an ear, and also his bill-drafting pen? Luckily, for the low, low price of just an $11 thousand campaign donation to himself and his lieutenant governor wife, GOP Rep. Joel Kleefisch is here to help!
Michael Eisenga is an upstanding citizen who owns $30 million, because he is the president of Repo Men R Us, and likes to give $15 thousand of it to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (That is how you know he is an upstanding citizen, obvs.) He and his ex-wife, Clare, had a prenuptial agreement that she would leave his estate untouched in the totally unlikely event of their divorce. But then some mean arbitrator awarded her more than $200 thousand per year in child support, and wouldn’t reduce it even when Eisenga stopped making $1.2 million per year, like, how is that even fair?
So Eisenga did what any self-respecting millionaire would do, and got Joel Kleefisch to write a bill capping all child support for millionaires at $150 thousand per year, because that is a thing that is important to spend time on.
Some dude in family law writes in:
You say that the WI bill would cap child support for millionaires at $150K/year, which implies that the rich bastard would have his support reduced from $200K to $150K. Actually, the bill would cap the amount of income that could be considered for child support at $150K/year, meaning his actual support would be quite a bit less. Here in CA, a dude making $150K/year who never saw his kid would probably have to pay something in the $30-$40K/year range.
So consider us corrected! We now return you to our blogpost, already in progress.
But surely Joel Kleefisch didn’t write this bill just for one millionaire? There must be a whole slew of millionaires breaking under the weight of child support payments that are one-fifth their income, and they probably will all move to Texas unless Wisconsin can somehow keep them there, right?
In his remarks to the State Journal, Kleefisch emphasized that the bill would not affect Eisenga’s case if it is passed.
But the drafting documents make clear that was the intent. In a Sept. 5 letter to Eisenga, his lawyer outlined changes he was suggesting to an early version of the legislation.
“We focused only on the portion that would require the court to modify your child support order based solely on the passage of the bill,” Smiley wrote in the letter.
On the same day, Eisenga forwarded the letter to Kleefisch, one of Kleefisch’s aides and former Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, now a lobbyist, with this line: “Please have the drafter make these SPECIFIC changes to the bill.”
On Sept. 6, the Kleefisch aide forwarded the material to the legislative lawyer writing the bill.
Anyway, Joel Kleefisch was totally forthcoming about this, because it is a good and necessary bill and he stands behind it, right?
In early December, one of the law firms representing the ex-wife asked Kleefisch’s office for correspondence or records of conversations with Eisenga or his company on legislation dealing with the calculation of child-support payments.
Kleefisch responded four days later: “We have conducted a thorough search and do not have any responsive records which meet your request. We have checked all of our our office email accounts, files, and all cellphones for the search words you have indicated.”
It’s just a lattice of coincidence. Also, he wouldn’t open that trunk if he were you.