SCOWIS Forum: Dan Kelly Doubles Down on Extremist Views on the Issues

MADISON, Wis. — At a March 21 public debate, Dan Kelly doubled down on his extremist views and strong ties to corruption. Specifically, Kelly refused to denounce Wisconsin’s archaic, unpopular 1849 criminal abortion ban, and evaded taking responsibility for his long history of refusing to recuse himself as a judge in cases where a conflict of interest clearly existed.

“Dan Kelly was given several opportunities on a public stage to clarify or walk back his extreme and unpopular positions on important issues like abortion and judicial recusal standards, but he did not,” said Chris Walloch, executive director of A Better Wisconsin Together.

Most of us believe people, not politicians, should make our own decisions about abortion care – but Kelly is endorsed by three different extremist groups who believe the opposite, and require any person they endorse to agree with their belief that politicians belong in our exam rooms. Yet, when asked directly about those endorsements, Kelly dodged giving a straight answer.

“It’s clear that Kelly has partisan motivations and extreme views on denying abortion care that he knows are not aligned with how Wisconsinites feel,” said Walloch.

His extremism in denying access to abortion care isn’t the only issue on which Kelly is radically out of step with the people of Wisconsin, though. Kelly also has a sizable history of corruption, including:

  • As a former appointee to the state Supreme Court Justice, Kelly opposed a petition brought by over 50 retired Wisconsin judges to strengthen standards on when judges should remove themselves from cases because of a conflict of interest.
  • During his brief tenure on the court as an appointee, Kelly also refused to step down from judging six cases involving an organization where he had close ties, and then ruled in the organization’s favor every time.
    • Kelly was on the advisory council of the organization, and took campaign contributions from its Board members.
  • Despite being granted several chances to do so, Kelly has repeatedly refused to commit to recusing himself from future cases involving the state Republican Party – an entity that has paid him $120,000 to date.

“The danger with Kelly is that the extremism he spews isn’t just talk. He’s shown us throughout his career, including his short time on the court before losing in 2020, that his extremism on these issues informs his actions,” said Walloch. “When given an opportunity to change course and stand with Wisconsinites, Kelly refused.”

Call Dan Kelly today at (608) 291-7504 and tell him he is too extreme on the issue of abortion, and Wisconsinites deserve stronger ethics rules for judges.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.