Hijacking Campaign 2012 - Information on We Are Wisconsin Political Fund

Hijacking Campaign 2012

We Are Wisconsin Political Fund

Posted: March 12, 2012
Updated: January 15, 2014

Fall: OathSpending
Recall: OathSpending

This is a corporation newly created in 2012 to make independent expenditures in the recall elections of Republican Governor Scott Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP Senate seats, recalls forced by opponents of the governors 2011 bill that severely curtailed public employee bargaining rights. 

This corporation is connected with the We Are Wisconsin Political Action Committee which was formed and funded by a coalition of mostly out-of-state labor unions that sponsored negative broadcasts ads and other electioneering activities in nine Senate recall races in summer 2011.  We Are Wisconsin PAC led all outside group spending in the 2011 recall races at nearly $11 million. 

Fall Election

We Are Wisconsin indicated it would make independent expenditures to support Democrats in five Senate races and four Assembly races. A couple of weeks before the general election, the group sponsored a 30-second television ad in support of incumbent Democratic Senator Jessica King of Fond du Lac. The advertisement commended King for her support of education on the grounds it helps people get better jobs.  We Are Wisconsin also sponsored a 30-second television ad commending 12th Senate District incumbent Dave Hansen of Green Bay for backing laws that provide veterans with more educational opportunities and benefits. Just days before the election, brochures were printed to support the two candidates.

Also in the two weeks prior to the November 6th General Election, the group reported spending about $82,000 on mailings to oppose Republicans in the 1st, 35th, 72nd and 85th Assembly Districts.

It would spend over $300,000 by the time the election was over.

Recall Election

This corporation spent just over $3.6 million on the six 2012 recall races.  The group spent most of its money - $3.04 million - to oppose GOP Governor Scott Walker. Unlike the 2011 recall races when We Are Wisconsin's PAC doled out most of its cash for attack advertisements and mailings, the labor-backed group took a lower profile in the 2012 recalls and spent most of its cash on paid staff for statewide canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts.

We Are Wisconsin Political Fund also formed a 527 organization of the same name which reported receiving a $500,000 contribution in late March from the Washington D.C.-based National Education Association Advocacy Fund. The NEA is the nation's largest teachers union.

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.