Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund
Posted: March 30, 2016
Updated: June 1, 2017
This is a committee created in 2010 for the sole purpose of making independent expenditures in Wisconsin elections It is one of four entities controlled by the Greater Wisconsin Committee to raise and spend money on electioneering activities. The Greater Wisconsin Committee's four arms - the independent expenditure committee, 527 group, political action committee and phony issue ad group - spent an estimated $32.9 million between 2006 and 2015 to support Democratic candidates for statewide office and the legislature. This committee alone doled out $10.51 million for independent expenditures between 2010 and 2015.
As a whole the Greater Wisconsin Committee does not disclose all of its funding sources but gets substantial contributions to pay for its electioneering activities from labor unions and Democratic ideological groups that are supported by influential business interests, according to reports filed by Greater Wisconsin's 527 group with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
In 2016 it was involved in both the spring, non-partisan Supreme Court election and the fall, partisan, legislative elections.
Supreme Court Activity
This committee spent about $107,000 on online advertising against incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley. Bradley faced Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg for a 10-year term on the high court.
In addition independent expenditures, Greater Wisconsin's issue ad group sponsored a 30-second television ad around the state a week before the election that criticized Bradley for columns she wrote about gays and birth control as a college student in the early 1990s.
Fall Election Activity
The group filed paperwork in late October showing it sponsored mailings and broadcast ads in a half-dozen targeted legislative races. GWC attacked Republican legislative candidates Keith Ripp and Pat Snyder in the 42nd and 85th Assembly races, respectively. The group also reported spending on television and online ads supporting Democrat Mark Harris and opposing Republican Dan Feyen in the open 18th Senate District.
Last active election: 2014
This organization is registered with the Government Accountability Board/Wisconsin Ethics Commission as an independent expenditure committee following the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.