Hijacking Campaign 2016 - Information on Jobs First Coalition Political Fund

Hijacking Campaign 2016

Jobs First Coalition Political Fund

Posted: October 10, 2016
Updated: June 2, 2017

Fall: OathSpending

This is a Brookfield-based organization that first surfaced in the 2010 fall elections and supports Republican legislative candidates.  The coalition operates a phony issue ad group and had used a corporation, which it terminated last July, to make independent expenditures.  All told, the group spent an estimated $485,600 on outside electioneering activities between 2010 and 2014 to support GOP legislative candidates. Former GOP Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was disgraced in the caucus scandal, helped create and raise money for the group.

Jobs First Coalition was one of more than two dozen conservative groups under a John Doe investigation that looked into whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with issue advocacy groups during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. The probe was shut down by a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in July 2015 that found coordination between candidates and issue ad groups was legal, among other things.  The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of the state Supreme Court's ruling.

In October and November, the group sponsored numerous radio ads and mailings to support Republican candidates in a half-dozen Assembly races. 

Jobs First sponsored two 60-second radio ads that urged listeners to vote for incumbent GOP Reps. Lee Nerison, of Westby, running for reelection in the 96th Assembly District, and Todd Novak, of Dodgeville, running for reelection in the 51st Assembly District. The group's ads praised Nerison and Novak for voting against Walker's 2015-17 state budget, saying the budget did not adequately fund public schools in their districts, and that it cut too much state support from the University of Wisconsin System. The ads also claimed that the pair cast votes in the best interests of their constituents on numerous other bills.

Jobs First also sponsored a radio ad that attacked Democratic candidate Jeff Smith for running against Novak because he already had a taxpayer-financed salary as a public school administrator. The group also sponsored a 60-second radio ad - here - that criticized Nerison's opponent, Democrat Alicia Leinberger, for her support of the federal health care program dubbed Obamacare, among other things.

The group also sponsored a 60-second radio ad criticizing Democrat Mandy Wright, who was running for an open seat in the 85th Assembly District against Republican Pat Snyder, for supporting Obamacare.

Last active election: 2014

This organization is registered with the Government Accountability Board/Wisconsin Ethics Commission as an independent expenditure committee following the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.