Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

American Federation for Children Action Fund Inc.

Posted: March 21, 2011
Updated: January 13, 2014

OathSpending

American Federation for Children is based in Washington D.C. and promotes school choice programs in Wisconsin and across the country. School choice allows children to attend private and religious schools at taxpayer expense, rather than public schools.

This organization spent an estimated $820,000 on independent expenditures and phony issue ad activity in the 2010 fall legislative races. The group is an offshoot of the Michigan-based All Children Matter which spent an estimated $2.5 million on phony issue ad activity in legislative races from 2004 through 2008, and in the 2006 governor’s race.

Betsy de Vos, who is the chair of American Federation for Children, and her husband Dick de Vos, a Michigan billionaire and son of the co-founder of Amway Corporation, organized and ran All Children Matter.  Scott Jensen, who is the federation's senior policy advisor, was a former state Republican Assembly leader before he resigned from office as a result of charges in the caucus scandal.

On March 16, 2011 the corporation filed an oath of independent disbursements with the Government Accountability Board indicating its intent to support eight Republican senators currently eligible for recall as well as one of the fourteen Democrats who left the state in February to prevent a vote on the controversial "budget repair" bill that prompted the recall movement. The budget prepare bill strictly limited the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees. Six of the Republicans were forced into recall elections in August 2011.

At about the same time it filed the oath, American Federation sponsored automated telephone calls to constituents of the eight recall-eligible Republican senators. The calls claimed special interests were trying to force the senators from office because they supported requiring public workers to pay part of their pension and health care costs. Futhtermore, the calls argued that people should not sign the recall petitions just because they may disagree with an elected official on a single issue.

Automated Telephone Call

Last active election: 2010

This organization 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.