Hijacking Recall 2012 - Information on Wisconsin for Falk

Hijacking Recall 2012

Wisconsin for Falk

Posted: March 9, 2012
Updated: January 15, 2014


Funded by large labor unions, this corporation was created in March 2012 to support former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk's bid for the Democratic nomination to run against incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker in the June 2012 recall election. The corporation came complete with 18 field offices across the state for electioneering activities and a 527 organization

Two labor unions funding the group were the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - the nation's largest public employee labor union - and the Wisconsin Education Association Council - the state's largest teachers union. Both unions endorsed Falk and provided office space and other resources to the group. Falk lost to fellow Democrat Tom Barrett in the May 8 recall primary. 

Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP Senate seats faced recall contests on June 5, 2012 because of the governor's successful 2011 effort to restrict public employee collective bargaining rights.

Wisconsin for Falk reportedly spent $1.6 million in March in Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Wausau and other television markets to air 30-second ads - here, here and here - that criticized Walker for cutting state aid to public education and slashing public employee collective bargaining rights.  At least some of those advertising costs were paid for with a $290,000 contribution from AFSCME's Washington D.C.-based 527 group March 7.

In April, it sponsored 30-second television ads - here and here - in the same five major TV markets listed above to claim Falk, a former Dane County executive, saved taxpayers millions of dollars when she negotiated contracts with county employee unions, and criticize Walker for giving $2.3 billion in tax breaks to corporations while cutting $1.1 billion in state aid education.  Wisconsin for Falk also invited people to its three Madison field offices on Earth Day to participate in telephone and door-to-door canvassing activities to support Falk. 

The corporation's last 30-second television ad shortly before the May 8 recall primary criticized Walker for poor job creation numbers since he took office, repealing parts of the state equal pay act and restricting public employee collective bargaining rights.

Two weeks before the June election, the group reported spending $4.4 million on outside electioneering activities, including $3.4 million on television advertising.

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.