Hijacking Campaign 2010

RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC

Posted: September 1, 2010
Updated: January 17, 2014

OathSpending

RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC is the political action committee for the Republican Governors Association organized for the 2010 gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin.  The Republican Governors Association (telephone: 202-662-4140 or -4162 in Washington, D.C.) represents GOP governors and spends millions of dollars nationwide on outside electioneering activities to elect Republican candidates for governor.

The RGA kicked off their 2010 electioneering efforts with a negative television issue ad campaign in June and July against Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett.  After those advertisements, the group's PAC sponsored a 30-second TV ad in August – here – and another in September.  Both commercials are set in a tavern where patrons engage in a shouting match over whether Barrett is responsible for more taxes and or fewer jobs.  At the end of one of the commercials the bartender tells viewers Barrett is a "lousy politician," and that the "ongoing argument around here is what makes Tom Barrett the all-time worst – more taxes or less jobs?"

The group's sixth and seventh television ads release in late September and mid-October, continued to tie Barrett to the policies of outgoing Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.  These ads – here and here - accused Barrett of voting for tax increases as a former state senator and congressman and now mayor. 

The Government Accountability Board released a public notice in response to a number of calls they were receiving in early October from concerned Wisconsin voters who received a mailing from this PAC containing private information including voter birthdate and telephone numbers. The mailer was a combined campaign ad against Tom Barrett for governor and absentee ballot ("vote-by-mail") application. They clarified that voter lists that the GAB and local clerks are required by law to sell do not include confidential data on individual voters and provided contact information to the PAC for further information.

RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC also sponsored two mailings that continued to warn voters that electing Barrett would mean higher taxes because he voted to raise taxes as a former state senator and congressman and current Milwaukee mayor.  One of the fliers said Barrett would be "A third term for Jim Doyle" and Walker would be "A new day for Wisconsin."  The other flier had a similar message and also told recipients where they could vote early.  "Only you can stop more Tom Barrett tax hikes.  Vote today!" the flier said.