Wealthy Donor Gets GOP Lawmaker To Write Bill That Would Lower His Child Support

January 13, 2014 1:27 p.m.

This post has been updated.

Michael Eisenga, a wealthy GOP donor in Wisconsin, helped state Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R) draft legislation that would cap how much high earners — including Eisenga — pay in child support, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The bill sets the threshold at $150,000 per year. Eisenga was paying $216,000 annually for his three children, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Kleefisch told the Wisconsin State Journal that the bill would not impact Eisenga’s child support because his payments had already been established in court.

“I’m certain the bill would not affect Mr. Eisenga in any way because it’s not retroactive,” Kleefisch said. “He wanted it retroactive. It’s not retroactive.”

However, the bill includes a provision that requires judges to lower payments for those whose annual payments are 10 percent higher than the new cap.

The legislation also keeps courts from factoring a parent’s assets into payment calculations — Eisenga has $30 million in assets, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Documents reviewed by the Journal show that Eisenga and his lawyer, William Smiley, pitched provisions to Kleefisch that would lower Eisenga’s payments. And records show that Kleefisch’s staff quickly incorporated Eisenga’s suggestions into the legislation.

Eisenga contributed the maximum amount to Kleefisch’s campaign, and also donated to Keefisch’s wife Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, according to the Journal.

Kleefisch denied that campaign contributions influenced his decision to work with Eisenga on the bill.

“I do a gamut of legislation with the help and assistance of many, many constituents,” Kleefisch said, “and whether they give a contribution or not has not made a difference.”

The Assembly Family Law Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on Wednesday, according to Mother Jones.

Image via Rep. Joel Keefisch on Facebook

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