Hijacking Campaign 2010
American Federation for Children Action Fund Inc.
Updated: October 25, 2010
This organization is the state arm of the American Federation for Children, a school choice group based in Washington, D.C. It is a spin-off of Michigan-based All Children Matter which has been active in past Wisconsin elections primarily doing phony issue advocacy. Betsy de Vos is chair of the AFC and spouse of Dick de Vos, Michigan billionaire and son of Amway Corporation co-founder Richard de Vos. Scott Jensen, former state Republican Assembly leader and one of the leading figures in the Wisconsin caucus scandal, has been a senior policy advisor at the organization.
American Federation for Children Action Fund is registered with the Government Accountability Board following the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC as a corporation making independent disbursements in the Fall 2010 state elections.
The state group received $50,000 from its national arm and spent a total of $32,325 in August on canvassing to support candidates in three Milwaukee-area Democratic primaries in 2010. In addition to pro-choice incumbent State Senator Jeff Plale, they are supported two candidates for open assembly seats. Their expenditures in the Primary were on the behalf of candidates who, based on candidates' contribution reports, are opposed by progressive interest groups like Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Advancing Wisconsin, and Greater Wisconsin Committee. Their attempt to influence Democratic primaries aside, Independent incumbent Representative Bob Ziegelbauer appears to be the only candidate AFC Action Fund will be supporting leading up to the general election.
In addition to this disclosed activity, AFC started an issue ad campaign in October including one against Rep. Phil Garthwaite in southcentral Wisconsin. Sources say the group plans electioneering efforts in 12 unidentified legislative races and spend $100,000 per contest. It is not known whether the group's fundraising and spending efforts in these races will be disclosed or undisclosed.