Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on We Are Wisconsin PAC

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

We Are Wisconsin PAC

Posted: June 24, 2011
Updated: January 14, 2014


This political action committee is run by a coalition of unions that sought to recall Republican senators who supported Republican Governor Scott Walker's March 211 plan to restrict collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.  The committee made independent expenditures and conducted voter mobilization activities supporting Democratic candidates in the nine recall elections.  The committee's treasurer is Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the State AFL-CIO.

The committee claimed in early July 2011 that it had already raised $4 million, and it reported spending about $1.96 million as of July 7 in all nine recall elections combined. The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund, a Washington D.C. 527 group, contributed just over $3.1 million in May and June alone to We Are Wisconsin PAC.

We Are Wisconsin sponsored a mailing in mid-July that supported incumbent Democratic Senator Jim Holperin of Conover as "one of us," and attacked his Republican opponent, Kim Simac of Eagle River, as "dangerously out of step with Northwoods values and priorities."  In addition, the group sponsored an ad accusing Simac of not paying her property taxes until she decided to run for public office and for not having paid any income taxes numerous times in recent years.

We Are Wisconsin also sponsored an ad commending Holperin for supporting policies to preserve and create jobs in northern Wisconsin.

The group sponsored numerous television ads in July that criticized incumbent Republican senators - usually for supporting Walker's plans to cut more than $800 million in state aid to public education, substantial cuts to health care programs for the elderly and giving $200 million in tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations.

We Are Wisconsin also sponsored a television ad slamming Republican candidate Jonathan Steitz of Pleasant Prairie, callenger to incumbent Democratic Senator Robert Wirch of Kenosha.  The ad portrayed Steitz as a corporate lawyer defending banks and corporations that helped tank the U.S. economy and as a supporter of tax breaks for corporations and rich individuals.

We Are Wisconsin also sponsored a 30-second radio ad in July 2011 condemning 14th Senate District incumbent Senator Luther Olsen's support of Walker's cuts to education and tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations.

Earlier In June 2011, the PAC sponsored demonstrations in some of the home communities of GOP senators targeted for recall as well as at the State Capitol.