MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Incoming Attorney General names WMC lobbyist as top aide

November 25, 2014
Patrick Marley
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A lobbyist for Walmart, the state's biggest business group and more than a dozen other businesses and organizations will serve as the top aide to incoming Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Schimel, the Republican district attorney for Waukesha County, announced Tuesday that he had appointed Andrew Cook to serve as his deputy secretary.

"Andrew was a key adviser to my campaign, where he displayed his broad knowledge of civil law and state government," Schimel said in a written statement. "He is a trusted adviser and his abilities will serve the Wisconsin Department of Justice well in protecting our citizens."

Cook is a contract lobbyist with the Hamilton Consulting Group and currently representsWalmart; Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying group; 3M; Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity; Association of Wisconsin Surgery Centers; the holding company for Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Lockridge Grindal Nauen, a law firm with offices in Minnesota and Washington, D.C.; Manitoba Hydro; Marathon Petroleum Company; Xcel Energy; Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, a group that successfully pushed legislation making it harder to bring civil lawsuits; Wisconsin Defense Counsel; and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association.

Cook also is the president of the Madison chapter of the Federalist Society, an influential national group of conservative lawyers.

Cook has worked for six years as a lobbyist for Hamilton. Before that, he was counsel for the Building Industry Association of Washington. He also was an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, where he worked on environmental issues. Schimel defeated Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 election.

He will be sworn in Jan. 5 and replace Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican who did not seek a third term.

Cook is serving as the chairman of Schimel's transition team. The transition director is Johnny Koremenos, who was Schimel's campaign manager.

Also on the transition team are Ave Bie, a managing partner at the Quarles & Brady law firm and a former chairwoman of the state Public Service Commission; former Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Michael Brennan; Mark Cameli, a member of the board of law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow; Brian O'Keefe, the director of law enforcement services for Van Hollen; and Raymond Taffora, vice chancellor for legal affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former deputy to Van Hollen and former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

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For more info on Wisconsin Wave's WMC-Free Wisconsin campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin