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The Fond du Lac County District Attorney bungled what’s become a common talking point by saying he’s the only prosecutor in the race for Attorney General.
Josh Kaul, the Democratic incumbent, was previously a federal prosecutor in Baltimore where he tried violent crimes in that city.
Toney said the deviation was due to a “drafting error” in the endorsement announcement.
Repeat a story -- or fact -- often enough and you eventually mess it up.
That’s what appears to have happened with Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney, who is running for the Republican nomination for attorney general, and has repeatedly made variations of this claim: "I'm the only front-line prosecutor in this race that's actually used the resources of the Wisconsin Crime Lab in the prosecution of cases."
He’s technically accurate, but more clarification was needed (more on that below). We have rated that claim Mostly True.
Now for the messed up version.
On Sept. 9, 2021, Toney issued a news release announcing the endorsement of La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf. The news release said this of Toney: "He is the only candidate in the Wisconsin Attorney General race with experience as a prosecutor."
As we noted in our earlier fact-check, incumbent Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, is a former federal prosecutor in Baltimore, a position he held from 2010 to 2014.
In that role, well, he prosecuted criminals, such as murderers and drug traffickers.
As attorney general, meanwhile, Kaul oversees the Department of Justice’s more than 800 employees, which includes about 20 prosecutors (and, by the way, also includes the state crime lab that Toney more regularly references). Those prosecutors cover cases ranging from fraud to drug trafficking to homicides.
When asked about the new version of the claim, Toney left us a voicemail that blamed a "drafting error."
The campaign then issued a new version of the release that specified that Toney is the only candidate with experience as "a front-line Wisconsin prosecutor."
In short, the battle of biographies continues.
In a news release, Toney’s campaign claimed: "He is the only candidate in the Wisconsin Attorney General race with experience as a prosecutor."
That’s flatly wrong. Indeed, Toney should well know that precisely because he has taken such pains to frame his other statements regarding his experience much more narrowly, and much more correctly.
We rate this one False.
Voicemail from Eric Toney Sept. 13, 2021
Press release on La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf endorsing Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney for attorney general Sept. 9, 2021
Corrected press release on La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf endorsing Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney for attorney general Sept. 14, 2021
PolitiFact, "Atty. Gen. candidate says he’s 'the only front-line prosecutor' that’s used Crime Lab," Sept. 13, 2021
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