Attorney General Brad Schimel’s campaign is wondering why a news reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain sent a Facebook friend request to Schimel’s minor daughter.

“This is creepy. It goes beyond the journalistic discussion of whether or not the kids of politicians should be in the news,” said Schimel’s campaign manager Johnny Koremenos. “This is a grown man trying to befriend a child online. A high school girl he doesn’t know and has never even met.”

Reporter Keegan Kyle of the USA Today Network (Gannett) in Wisconsin recently sent the Facebook friend request to Schimel’s daughter. She immediately reported it to her father, according to the Schimel campaign.

Kyle’s biography on the Gannett website does not give his age. However, he has been a reporter for different organizations for at least nine years, according to publicly available information.

Schimel’s campaign reached out to Kyle demanding an explanation, who said it was an attempt to build traffic for his stories.

“Yes, it looks like I sent her a request,” Kyle told the campaign in an email on September 4. “I have in the past sent friend requests to folks who like/share stories about the AG or DOJ on Facebook as part of social media audience building. If folks are interested in stories about the AG/DOJ, they may be interested in following my work as well.”

Kyle also said the friend request was made as part of a large batch of requests and that he did not specifically remember sending that request to Schimel’s daughter.

“I don’t recall sending a request to {redacted}, but it appears I have one pending with her,” Kyle said. “She was possibly part of a large batch of requests that I sent a few months ago? I’m not sure. I’ve made no attempt to actually contact her.”

However, that explanation was not accepted by the Schimel campaign who were relieved that Schimel’s daughter knew what to do when contacted online by an adult she did not know – report to her father.

“Some kids are not as savvy and cautious as she is and may accept solicitations like this,” Koremenos said.

As for Kyle, Koremenos asked, “How many other minor children is he communicating with online?”

Schimel’s daughter and Kyle only had only mutual “Facebook friend,” so the Facebook request would have been unexpected. (RightWisconsin is not giving her first name as it is our policy that family of politicians, especially minors, are off-limits. We’re reluctantly giving this much identification as it is essential to the story about Kyle’s online behavior.)

Despite repeated attempts to get a comment from Kyle’s editors, including extending deadlines for this story, Gannett has declined to respond to questions from RightWisconsin.

The newspaper chain was contacted multiple times regarding the newspaper chain’s policies regarding social media contacts between its employees and the children of politicians, and whether Kyle would continue covering the attorney general given his unusual online behavior towards Schimel’s family. Despite having been in contact with Schimel’s campaign, which we confirmed Monday afternoon, Executive Editor/Vice President of News Jim Fitzhenry of Gannett said he would have no comment until he has spoken with the attorney general.

Kyle has written stories about Schimel for Gannett. It is unknown at this time whether the Gannett newspaper will continue to assign Kyle to stories regarding the attorney general. As of Monday, Kyle was still posting on Twitter about the attorney general, ironically claiming, “@BradSchimel put himself in an awkward spot” regarding the completion of the backlog of rape kit testing.

As attorney general, Schimel has been pro-active in combating online predators. In a statement last year for “Keeping Kids Safe Online Month,” Schimel cautioned parents, “…the best tool we have to keep kids safe online is a nosy and informed parent.”