Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Family Action Inc.

Posted: July 8, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $850,000

This is the phony issue ad arm of the Wisconsin Family Council, a conservative group that opposes gay marriage and domestic partnership policies.  The group  spent an estimated $155,000 since 2006 and 2010 on negative mailings and radio ads to back Republican legislative candidates.  The organization's most notable outside electioneering efforts occurred in 2006 when it spent large, undisclosed amounts on television ads and other activities to support the so-called marriage protection amendment approved by voters in a statewide referendum.

Wisconsin Family Action was one of numerous outside electioneering groups to sponsor negative broadcast ads and other activities in some of the nine recall elections against three Democratic senators and six incumbent Republican state senators following passge in early 2011 GOP Governor Scott Walker's bill to end most public employee collective bargaining rights.

Family Action sponsored television ads in July attacking Democratic Representative Fred Clark of Baraboo who challenged incumbent Republican Senator Luther Olsen in an August 9 recall election.  The group's first ad highlighted negative comments Clark made on a telepone answering machine about a constitutent and also claimed Clark was once behind on child support payments. The group's second ad (at the end of the story) said Clark had received numerous tickets for traffic violations and cited a 2009 accident in which he ran a red light and hit a bicyclist in downtown Madison.

Last active election: 2010