Hijacking Campaign 2010

Republican State Leadership Committee Inc. (RSLC Inc.)

Posted: September 28, 2010
Updated: January 14, 2014

OathSpending

The Republican State Leadership Committee is a Virginia-based organization that registered as an out-of-state political action committee in June 2009 and terminated the PAC when they chose to form a corporation to make independent disbursements in the 2010 general elections in response to the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.  The PAC had no previous record of independent spending in Wisconsin elections. RSLC's mission is to get Republicans elected to state level offices around the country. The group's chairman in 2010, Tim Barnes, is a former Republican Party fundraiser and development director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  RSLC says Barnes worked "closely with corporate contributors to assist with policy initiatives at the USCC and with state and local Chambers of Commerce."

The RSLC created the Redistricting Majority Project dedicated to "keeping or winning Republican control of state legislatures that will have the most impact on congressional redistricting in 2011." Chris Jankowski, the executive director of the RSLC's redistricting project, told the Wall Street Journal that RSLC planned to spend about $1 million for 2010 Wisconsin elections, mostly on television ads. "We'll be providing air cover," he told the newspaper.

In Wisconsin RSLC ran ad campaigns opposing the reelections of Democratic State Senators Russ Decker and Kathleen Vinehout.

In mid-October, the group booked $307,350 in advertising time against Decker at three Wausau television stations through November 1.

Vinehout was the target of a direct mail ad (see below) by RSLC in early October claiming she is responsible for early release of convicts in Wisconsin.  The early release program was part of the 2009-11 state budget which Vinehout supported.  The mailing shows a young woman with a man's hand over her mouth and suggests readers vote against Vinehout to show they "care about your safety in Wisconsin."

The group spent nearly $1 million on the election.

RSLC Flyer Opposing Senator Vinehout
Click on images to enlarge

RSLC Flyer Side 1 RSLC Flyer Side 2