Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on People for the American Way

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

People for the American Way

Posted: March 31, 2011
Updated: January 8, 2014


This Washington D.C.-based group was founded in 1981 by television producer Norman Lear, among others, to research, educate and advocate Democratic positions in areas like education and civil rights, as well as support and defend Democratic candidates and office holders.

People for the American Way registered as a corporation to make independent expenditures against Republican state senators targeted for recall elections in the spring 2011 by outside special interest groups because of their support for Republican Governor Scott Walker's plan abolishing most public employee collective bargaining rights.

The group sponsored a television ad in late July 2011 slamming incumbent Republican Senator Luther Olsen of Ripon for supporting Walker's policies cutting hundreds of million of dollars in state aid to public education and elderly health care programs while giving tax breaks to corporations and rich individuals.  Olsen was among six Republican and three Democratic senators who faced recall elections in August.

People for the American Way claimed it sponsored 170,000 automated telephone calls, more than 89,000 mailings and 4,300 television spots during the recall elections.

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.