Hijacking Special Elections 2011

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Republican State Leadership Committee Inc.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Republican State Leadership Committee Inc.

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

Recall election: OathSpending
Special election: OathSpending

This is a Virginia-based group that supports Republican candidates for state offices around the country. It spent nearly $936,000 on independent expenditures in the 2010 fall elections – the first time it sponsored outside electioneering activities in Wisconsin.

The organization first engaged in phony issue ads in March and April 2011 when it sponsored two 30-second television ads against Democratic Senators Jim Holperin of Conover and Dave Hansen of Green Bay. The ads criticized the pair for going to Illinois with the rest of the Senate Democrats in order to prevent a vote on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s controversial plan to end most public employee collective bargaining rights.

On July 12, the organization first reported spending on televison ads to oppose Holperin and support his Republican opponent, Kimberly Jo Simac. The ad criticized Holperin for supporting higher taxes to balance the state budget and praised Simac saying she would lower government spending and taxe if elected.  The group also sponsored an ad against Holperin - here - that featured children singing and holding leaking buckets of water to symbolize the state's budget deficit.  It said Holperin couldn't plug a budget hole without raising taxes. Holperin defeated Simac in the August 16 recall election.

The organization filed an oath of independent disbursements in opposition to Steve Doyle, the Democratic candidate in the 94th Assembly District special election held in May 2011. It reported spending $97,000 for television ads.  One television ad accused Doyle of voting for a plan that gave him and other La Crosse County Board supervisors a pay raise in 2005. Doyle won the election.

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 Wisconsin Right to Life PAC

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Right to Life PAC

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

Recall: OathSpending
Special Election: OathSpending

This statewide, anti-abortion advocacy group has long engaged in outside electioneering activities in legislative and statewide campaigns although the extent of its reported acitvity has declined in recent years. Typically, Wisconsin Right to Life makes modest independent expenditures in every current legislative campaign, usually supporting Republicans and opposing Democrats.

The PAC indicated in April 2011 that it would support all Republican candidates in the May 1st special elections. It did not report any spending in those elections, however.

At the end of the following June the PAC filed an oath of independent disbursements with the Government Accountabiliy Board for the upcoming recall elections. In the summer of 2011 nine state senators, six Republicans and three Democrats, faced recall elections in response to the March 2011 passage of Republican Governor Scott Walker's controversial bill drastically restricting public employee collective bargaining rights.

Wisconsin Right to Life reported spending a total of more than $10,000 on radio ads and phone calls in all of the recall elections but the 30th Senate District.

Last active election: 2011 Supreme Court

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on American Patriot Recall Coalition

This is a Utah-based group created in February 2011 to try to recall six of the 14 Democratic state senators from Wisconsin who left the state in mid-February for a month in an unsuccessful effort to prevent a vote on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to abolish most public employee collective bargaining rights.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on GOPAC Wisconsin

This phony issue ad group is the state arm of the Washington-based GOPAC group which supports conservative causes and Republican candidates for state and federal offices.

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

OathSpending

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.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Faith Family Freedom Fund

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Faith Family Freedom Fund

Posted: March 29, 2011
Updated: January 8, 2014

Oath Spending

This is political action committee is controlled by the Family Research Council, a Washington D.C.-based conservative organization that opposes abortion and promotes marriage between men and women.

Before the recall elections the national group’s state arm, the Wisconsin Family Council, had spent an estimated $150,000 on independent expenditures and phony issue ads in Wisconsin since 2006 to support Republican legislative candidates and a pro-marriage referendum.

In March 2011 the committee indicated it would make independent expenditures supporting three of the eight GOP state senators subject to recall efforts: Glenn Grothman of West Bend, Dan Kapanke of La Crosse and Mary Lazich of New Berlin. Of the three, only Dan Kapanke faced a recall election which he lost to then-Representative Jennifer Shilling.

In late July the committee started running a radio ad in support of Kapanke.

Outside special interest groups were seeking recalls against Republicans who controlled the Senate because they supported a plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker to abolish most public employee collective bargaining rights. Three Democrats also faced recall elections.

Walker’s plan to end most collective bargaining rights for state and local public employees was the subject of protests at the State Capitol in February and March 2011 by tens of thousands of state workers and their supporters.

Last active election: Supreme Court 2011

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on State Government Leadership Foundation

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

State Government Leadership Foundation

Posted: March 23, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $50,000

This Virginia-based group has the same contact information and address as the Republican State Leadership Committee. The foundation claims to be a social welfare organization that sponsors issue ads to educate and support state and local officeholders.

The foundation did not get involved in Wisconsin politics until March 2011 when it sponsored a phony issue ad against Democratic Senator Jim Holperin of Conover. The group’s 30-second television ad criticized Holperin for refusing to show up and work to solve Wisconsin’s multi-billion dollars budget deficit and high unemployment. “Call Senator Holperin. Tell him Wisconsin can’t get back to work until he does,” the ad says.

Holperin was among 14 Democratic senators who left the state in mid-February for nearly a month in a failed effort to prevent the Republican-controlled Senate from voting on a plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker to end most public employee collective bargaining rights.

Walker’s plan ignited weeks of protests by tens of thousands of state and local public employees and their supporters at the State Capitol as well as negative broadcast ads and recall efforts against 16 Democratic and Republicans senators by outside special interest groups.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on the Republican State Leadership Committee

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Republican State Leadership Committee

Posted: March 23, 2011
Updated: January 16, 2014

Estimated Spending: $450,000

This is a Virginia-based group created in 2002 that helps elect Republicans to state-level offices around the country. The group’s director, Tim Barnes, is a former Republican Party fundraiser and U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive. The group's chairman, Ed Gillespie, is a former aide to President George W. Bush who worked with ex-Bush aide Karl Rove to create the national Republican front group American Crossroads.

The group was first active in Wisconsin in the 2010 fall legislative races where it made $935,726 in independent expenditures in five races and helped defeat former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker of Wausau. Donations to the RSLC for the 2011 senate recall elections include $450,000 from the Indianapolis-based health insurer Wellpoint and $60,000 from AT&T.

In mid-March 2011, the group sponsored phony issue ads, which do not require it to disclose any of its fundraising and spending like it did in the 2010 elections, against Democratic Senators Jim Holperin of Conover and Dave Hansen of Green Bay.  The two senators were among the Senate’s 14-member Democratic minority who left the state in mid-February for nearly a month in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the GOP-controlled Senate from voting on a proposal by Republican Governor Scott Walker to end most public employee union collective bargaining rights.  The controversy prompted recalls against nine senators - six Republicans and three Democrats - as a referendum on Walker's collective bargaining plan.

The Republican State Leadership Committee's 30-second television ad against Hansen said his support of collective bargaining rights discourages good teachers from staying in Wisconsin because teacher union contracts don’t pay good teachers more than poor teachers.

The group sponsored an ad in August against Holperin that accused him of doing the bidding of unions when he left the state during a budget crisis to avoid voting on the collective bargaining plan.

The Republican State Leadership Committee's PAC reported spending over $300,000 in opposition to Holperin.

Both Hansen and Holperin won their recall elections.

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Wisconsin Lawyers for Justice

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Lawyers for Justice

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

OathSpending

This PAC first registered with the Government Accountability Board on March 11, 2011 and filed an oath of independent disbursements against Governor Scott Walker and Sheila Harsdorf, the Republican senator from River Falls.

Senator Harsdorf successfully survived a recall on August 9, 2011. Under Wisconsin Law, Governor Walker was not eligible for recall until January 2012.

Wisconsin Lawyers did not report any spending in the 2011 recall elections.

Last active election: Supreme Court 2011

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011 - Information on Wisconsin Recall Task Force

Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin Recall Task Force

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

OathSpending

This political action committee was created in March 2011 to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker and GOP state senators who voted for his budget repair bill ending most public employee collective bargaining rights. The group’s treasurer, Bob Menamin of Middleton, was an unsuccessful Democratic Assembly candidate in 2004 and independent Assembly candidate in 2000.

The group, whose PAC registered with the state to make independent expenditures, also operated a website that sought donations and volunteers to help with recall efforts against Republican senators elected in 2008. Under Wisconsin law, Walker and other state senators elected in November 2010 would not be eligible for recall until January 2012.

The group did not file a detailed oath of independent expenditures until September 2011. The oath included seven officeholders not yet eligible for recall or against whom recall petitions had failed. The group reported spending over $5,000 for the year of which more than $3,000 may have been for independent expenditures, but, as there are no detailed independent expenditure reports for this group, it is impossible to determine for certain on which races or candidates the money was spent.