Hijacking Campaign 2014

Americans for Prosperity

Posted: May 28, 2014
Updated: October 16, 2014

This group was founded in 2003 by David and Charles Koch, the billionaire owners of Koch Industries and Wisconsin-based papermaker Georgia-Pacific.  Americans for Prosperity backs Republican candidates for federal, state and local offices around the country. 

The group refuses to disclose how much it spends on outside electioneering activities in Wisconsin and elsewhere but the Democracy Campaign estimates Americans for Prosperity has spent an estimated $4.53 million on negative ads, mailings and other activities in Wisconsin elections for statewide office and the legislature since 2006.  Most its cash was spent in the 2011 and 2012 recall races when it doled out $3.7 million to help Republican Governor Scott Walker remain in office.

It continued its support of Walker in the 2014 election.

Americans for Prosperity sponsored a 30-second televison ad in late May 2014 that lauded Walker's policies, including his successful 2011 effort to restrict public employee collective bargaining rights, without mentioning the governor by name.  The group said it planned to spend $866,000 to air the ad throughout the state for about three weeks. Turns out Pam Stevens, a former Kenosha School Board member and Republican state Senate candidate featured at the beginning and end of the ad, is a delinquent taxpayer who owes the state nearly $29,000.

A review of television ad buys found $185,909 in spending at the four major networks in the Milwaukee TV market.

A few weeks later, Americans for Prosperity followed up its television ad with mailings - here, here and here - that claimed Walker's actions cut property and income taxes by $2 billion and improved the quality of public education and teachers.

The group sponsored a mailing in early October - here - that claimed Walker's economic, tax and job creation policies have benefited northern Wisconsin.

A second mailer released in mid-October praised Walker for making tough budget decisions like those a family might make when dealing with the household budget.

Last active election: Recall 2012