Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on American Federation for Children

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

American Federation for Children

Posted: July 18, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $1.3 million

This is a Washington D.C.-based group that promotes charter schools and school voucher programs - commonly called school choice - in Wisconsin and around the country. School voucher programs, like the one that has existed for several thousand Milwaukee Public School pupils for the last 20 years - lets children attend private and religious schools using taxpayer dollars.

American Federation for Children spent an estimated $820,000 on independent expenditures and phony issue ad activity in Wisconsin's 2010 legislative races.

The group sponsored an ad in mid-July 2011 featuring various individuals - some identified as teachers - touting incumbent Republican Senator Alberta Darling's record on education policy and spending.  The ad said special interests are using children to distort Darling's voting record on education, and "there's no stronger advocate for our kids and their future" than Darling.  The federation sponsored a similar ad that portrayed incumbent Republican Senator Luther Olsen of Ripon as a champion of education who has supported policies for safer schools and tougher pupil academic standards. American Federation for Children also sponsored an ad that attacked Democratic candidate Shelly Moore for her union activities.  Moore, an Ellsworth High School teacher, challenged incumbent Republican Senator Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls in an August 9 recall election.

The group also sponsored mailings to support Darling.

Darling, Olsen and Harsdorf were among nine state senators - three Democrats and six Republicans - who faced recall elections in July and August 2011 in response to GOP Governor Scott Walker's spring 2011 plan that ended most public employee collective bargaining rights. 

The group also made independent expenditures in the recall elections through the American Federation for Children Action Fund Inc.

Last active election: 2010