Hijacking Campaign 2018

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Posted: February 14, 2018
Updated: March 27, 2018

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is the state’s largest business organization and one of the most powerful special interest groups in Wisconsin because of its electioneering and lobbying activities.

WMC is among the leaders in spending on outside electioneering activities.  Since January 2010, the group secretly raised and spent more than $18.6 million on phony issue ads and independent expenditures.  WMC supports Republican and conservative candidates for statewide office and the legislature, generally by sponsoring negative broadcast ads and mailings that smear Democratic candidates.

In addition to outside electioneering, the group has spent millions of dollars over the years to lobby the governor and legislature on dozens of anti-labor, environmental deregulation, pro-school voucher, anti-local control, pro-business, and other state policy and spending measures.

In the 2018 spring elections, WMC sponsored more than $700,000 worth of television ads on behalf of conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock.  One of its television ads and a similar, digital ad criticized Screnock's opponent, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet, for her handling of a child sexual assault case. 

An earlier television ad by the group - here - claimed Screnock was a tough judge, and urged listeners to call and thank him for "keeping dangerous predators behind bars."

Screnock, a Sauk County Circuit Court judge, faces Dallet in the April 3 general election for a 10-year seat on the court to replace Justice Michael Gableman, who decided not to seek reelection.

Last active election: 2016