Hijacking Special Elections 2011

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Citizens For A Strong America

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Citizens For A Strong America

Posted: July 27, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $1.7 million

This conservative group that supports Republican candidates surfaced earlier in 2011 when it supported incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser in the April 5 election.  Little is known about it other than it has a Beaver Dam address and claims to represent citizens, businesses and nonprofit groups - none of whom are identified on the group's website.

Citizens for a Strong America gave $235,000 to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin as well as contributions to Wisconsin Right to LIfe and Wisconsin Family Action.

Citizens For A Strong America sponsored two television ads criticizing Democratic candidate Shelly Moore, an Ellsworth High School teacher who challenged incumbent Republican Senator Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls in an August 9 recall election.  The ads - here for one of them - accused Moore and teachers unions of supporting  higher property and health care taxes that will cost Wisconsin workers $510 a month each and give illegal aliens free health care.

The group also sponsored a television ad in support of incumbent Republican Senator Alberta Darling of River Hills who also faced a recall election.

Both Darling and Hardorf won their recall elections.

A total of eight state senators - six Republicans and two Democrats - were forced into August 2011 recall elections as a referendum on GOP Governor Scott Walker's 2011 bill that abolished most collective bargaining rights for state and local public employees.

Last active election: 2011 Supreme Court

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on PFFW Defense Fund

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

PFFW Defense Fund

OathSpending

Posted: July 21, 2011
Updated: January 14, 2014

The Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, the labor union of Wisconsin's firefighters, first registered this newly formed organization on July 19, 2011 for the purpose of making independent expenditures in support of Democratic candidates in that  summer's recall elections.

The Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin had a long history of making direct PAC contributions to state candidates but this was the first time the Firefighters had made independent expenditures since the Democracy Campaign has been monitoring them.

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.

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

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on One Wisconsin Now

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

One Wisconsin Now

Posted: August 2, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

This is a liberal issue advocacy group created in 2006 to support Democratic candidates for legislative and statewide offices.  One Wisconsin Now gets most of its support from unions and other traditional Democratic backers and uses its resources to criticize Republican candidates and officeholders and right-leaning special interest groups among others.  Unlike many other Democratic and Republican hit groups only heard from at election time, this Madison-based organization is active  year-around.

One Wisconsin Now is led by Scot Ross, a former reporter who has worked for the state Democratic Party and the liberal American Coming Together that backs Democrats for federal offices.

The group created videos attacking four incumbent Republican senators who faced Democratic challengers in recall elections August 9, 2011 for their support of a plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker that restricted public employee collective bargaining rights. One video criticized Republican Senator Alberta Darling of River Hills for supporting policies that favor the wealthy and corporations over average working people. Another video claimed Republican Senator Luther Olsen of Ripon sponsored a bill that would benefit an organization connected to his wife. Both Republicans survived the recall elections.

A third video criticized Republican Senator Dan Kapanke of La Crosse for supporting tax breaks for corporations but cutting state aid to public education, the University of Wisconsin System and technical colleges by more than $1 billion. Another video highlighted the reported divorce and extra-marital affair of Republican Senator Randy Hopper of Empire. Both incumbents lost in the recall elections.

Last active election: 2010

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Working America

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Working America

Posted: July 13, 2011
Updated: January 14, 2014

OathSpending

An affiliate of the AFL-CIO, this Washington-based organization first registered with the Government Accountability Board as a corporation on March 24, 2011 to make independent expenditures in the spring elections for the state Supreme Court and Milwaukee county executive.

On July 12 Working America  filed an oath of independent disbursements for three recall elections in three senate districts, the 8th in the Milwaukee area, the 18th in Fond du Lac and the 22nd in Kenosha. On July 28 it amended its oath to include the recall election in Senate District 14. In all four races it supported the Democratic challenger.

Last active election: 2011 Supreme Court

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.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Wisconsin Sierra Club Education Committee

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Sierra Club Education Committee

Posted: July 8, 2011
Updated: January 14, 2014

OathSpending

The Sierra Club, a pro-environment membership organization with a major focus on lobbying, has been making independent expenditures since the 1996 election cycle and helped pioneer the use of “issue ads.”

The committee sponsored mail and print advertising campaigns in four of the recall elections held in the summer of 2011 - 8, 14, 22, and 32. The recalls were prompted by Republican Governor Scott Walker's plan, introduced early in 2011, to curtail public employee collective bargaining rights.

Last active election: 2011 Supreme Court

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Wisconsin Family Action Inc.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Family Action Inc.

Posted: July 8, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $850,000

This is the phony issue ad arm of the Wisconsin Family Council, a conservative group that opposes gay marriage and domestic partnership policies. The group spent an estimated $155,000 between 2006 and 2010 on negative mailings and radio ads to back Republican legislative candidates. The organization's most notable outside electioneering efforts occurred in 2006 when it spent large, undisclosed amounts on television ads and other activities to support the so-called marriage protection amendment approved by voters in a statewide referendum.

Wisconsin Family Action was one of numerous outside electioneering groups to sponsor negative broadcast ads and other activities in some of the nine recall elections against three Democratic senators and six incumbent Republican state senators following passge in early 2011 GOP Governor Scott Walker's bill to end most public employee collective bargaining rights.

Family Action sponsored television ads in July attacking Democratic Representative Fred Clark of Baraboo who challenged incumbent Republican Senator Luther Olsen in an August 9 recall election.  The group's first ad highlighted negative comments Clark made on a telepone answering machine about a constitutent and also claimed Clark was once behind on child support payments. The group's second ad (at the end of the story) said Clark had received numerous tickets for traffic violations and cited a 2009 accident in which he ran a red light and hit a bicyclist in downtown Madison.

Last active election: 2010

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on MTI Voters (Madison Teachers Inc)

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

MTI Voters (Madison Teachers Inc)

Posted: July 7, 2011
Updated: January 9, 2014

OathSpending

MTI Voters is the political action committee of the Madison Teachers Inc., a union for Madison area public school teachers. The union endorses and campaigns for pro-public education candidates in the Madison area and financially supports them through its PAC.

The PAC supported unsuccessful Democratic primary candidate Vicki Selkowe in an August special election to fill a vacancy in Madison-based Assembly District 48.

Last active election: 2011 Supreme Court

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Citizen Action of Wisconsin Inc.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Inc.

Posted: July 7, 2011
Updated: January 13, 2014

OathSpending

This organization describes itself as a broad "progressive coalition" working for "social, economic and environmental justice," and whose "partners include the state's leading labor, senior citizen, environmental, community, interfaith, women's, family farm, teacher's, and civil rights organizations and Native American tribes."

Citizen Action originally filed an oath an oath of independent disbursements to support Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) against Republican callenger David VanderLeest in the July 12 recall. On July 14 Citizen Action filed an additional oath in support of Representative Sandy Pasch's (D-Whitefish Bay) challenge to Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) in the August 9 recall. On August 1 Citizen Action filed an oath indicating it intended to expand its scope of action to include all the remaining recall elections except for the 12th Senate District repesented by Senator Jim Holperin in northeast Wisconsin.

Citizen Action reported spending over $90,000 in seven senate races but no spending in the 2nd or 12th Senate Districts.

Last active election: 2010

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.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on GOPAC Wisconsin PAC

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

GOPAC Wisconsin

Posted: July 5, 2011
Updated: January 17, 2014

OathSpending

GOPAC Wisconsin is the political action committee of GOPAC, a Republican 527 established in 1978 to train and provide financial support for local and state Republican candidates.  This version of the state PAC was formed in 2008 when it contributed $7,500 to eleven Republican legislative candidates, all running as challengers or for open seats. In 2010 it gave $9,500 to Republican campaigns for the legislature and the governor's office. Once again, all candidates were challengers or running for open seats.

GOPAC Wisconsin sponsored two nearly identical 30-second television ads in mid-April 2011 to support Republican state Senators Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac then the subject of recall petitions. The ads tell viewers the state’s high taxes and government spending drive businesses and jobs out of Wisconsin. The ads say Kapanke and Hopper are working to reduce high taxes, unemployment and government spending.

The recall elections marked two firsts for this PAC. This was  the first time it registered to make independent expenditures, and the first time it entered an election on the side of the incumbents, in this case Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse.

Hopper and Kapanke were the only two incumbents to lose their recall elections in 2011.