Hijacking Campaign 2012
We Are Wisconsin Political Fund
Posted: March 12, 2012
Updated: November 8, 2012
This is a new corporation created in 2012 to make independent expenditures in the recall elections of Republican Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP Senate seats. This corporation is an extension of the We Are Wisconsin Political Action Committee which was formed and funded by a coalition of mostly out-of-state labor unions that sponsored negative broadcasts ads and other electioneering activities in nine Senate recall races in summer 2011. We Are Wisconsin PAC lead all outside group spending in the 2011 recall races at nearly $11 million.
We Are Wisconsin indicated it would make independent expenditures to support Democrats in five Senate races and four Assembly races. A couple of weeks before the general election, the group sponsored a 30-second television ad - via WisPolitics.com - in support of incumbent Democratic Senator Jessica King of Fond du Lac. The advertisement commended King for her support of education which helps people get better jobs. We Are Wisconsin also sponsored a 30-second television ad commending 12th Senate District incumbent Dave Hansen of Green Bay for backing laws that provide veterans with more educational opportunities and benefits. Just days before the election, brochures were printed to support the two candidates.
Also in the two weeks prior to the November 6th General Election, the group reported spending about $82,000 on mailings to oppose Republicans in the 1st, 35th, 72nd and 85th Assembly Districts.
Two weeks before the June 5 recall elections, the corporation had reportedly spent nearly $485,000, including $392,477 on wages for campaign staff. Early on, the group's other entities sponsored ad campaigns to support former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk's bid in the May 8 recall primary to be the Democratic nominee to face Walker. After Falk lost in the primary, the group switched its support to Democratic candidate Tom Barrett.
We Are Wisconsin Political Fund also formed a 527 organization of the same name which reported receiving a $500,000 contribution in late March from the Washington D.C.-based National Education Association Advocacy Fund. The NEA is the nation's largest teachers union.
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.