Wealthy Wisconsin businessman and well-known GOP donor Michael Eisenga was pretty frustrated in his search to find a judge that would lower his child support payments.
So naturally, he found a GOP lawmaker to change the law for him.
“This stinks,” said Michael Collins, who is the lawyer for Eisenga’s ex-wife. “It’s buying justice — if you call it justice.”
According to a report from the Journal Sentinel, Eisenga and his attorney, William A. Smiley, offered “line-by-line instructions in emails, notes and letters to Rep. Joel Kleefisch’s staff on a bill aimed at capping how much high earners pay in child support.”
[box type=”shadow”]Under current law, judges determine child-support payments based on a percentage of annual income and, in some cases, assets. Kleefisch’s bill would cap the amount of income subject to child support to $150,000 a year — and assets could not be used in the calculation.
Contained within the bill is also a financial trigger that could allow the multimillionaire to reopen his case.
Records show Eisenga, president of American Lending Solutions in Columbus, has donated $3,500 to Kleefisch, an Oconomowoc Republican, and $7,500 to his wife, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in 2010. He has chipped in another $15,000 to Gov. Scott Walker.
According to the Sentinel, Eisenga could not be reached for comment about the legislation.[/box]
“Clearly, this is a bill based on a single individual,” said Richard Podell, a Milwaukee divorce lawyer also representing Eisenga’s ex-wife. “Rep. Kleefisch is trying to do a favor for someone who has maxed out with his donations [to Kleefisch] over the last eight years.”
One of the law firms representing the ex-wife asked Kleefisch’s office in early December for records of conversations with Eisenga or his company on the legislation — to which Kleefisch responded four days later.
“We have conducted a thorough search and do not have any responsive records which meet your request,” Kleefisch said. “We have checked all of our office email accounts, files, and all cellphones for the search words you have indicated.”