Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
Posted: April 30, 2012
Updated: January 17, 2014
Estimated Spending: $4 million
This is the state's largest business group and one of the state's most influential special interests groups on public policy and elections for statewide office and the legislature. WMC spent about $12.8 million on phony issue ads in spring and fall elections from 2006 to 2011 - mostly to support Republican candidates. The group doled out an estimated $700,000 in the 2011 recall elections that targeted the six Republican and three Democratic state senators for their support or opposition to a successful plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker to restrict public employee collective bargaining.
Walker, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and four GOP Senate seats were targeted in a second round of recalls in 2012, and a WMC executive said shortly before the May 8, 2012 primary that the group planned to spend $2 million on television ads around the state to support the governor. Two of the ads said Walker balanced the state budget, and Wisconsin's economy and employment picture have begun to improve.
Another ad in mid-May lauded the governor's economic policies based on job figures released by the Walker administration that showed the state actually added more than 30,000 jobs in 2011, rather than losing jobs according to earlier federal figures. The group also sponsored a television ad as well as radio ads that attacked Walker's Democratic opponent Tom Barrett saying unemployment, taxes and spending all increased in Milwaukee while he was mayor. Another ad featured testimonials from people who claimed Walker balanced the state budget and that his policies were improving the state economy.
WMC also sponsored radio ads in support of GOP Senators Van Wanggaard of Racine and Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls and Republican Representative Jerry Petrowski of Marathon, a candidate for one of the Senate seats, that commended them for supporting legislative policies that created jobs and attacked their Democratic opponents, who were current or past legislators, for supporting higher state spending and taxes.
Last active election: Recall 2011