Hijacking Campaign 2016 - Information on A Better Dane County Inc

Hijacking Campaign 2016

A Better Dane County Inc

Posted: September 28, 2016
Updated: June 1, 2017

Fall: OathSpending

A Better Dane County is a Verona, Wis.-based independent expenditure group created by the Madison Area Home Builders (MABA) to support policies and candidates it describes as in favor of economic development. The group is directed by MABA lobbyist and director of government affairs, Andrew Disch. The group is also registered as a 501(c)(4) organization - a favorite U.S. Internal Revenue Service designation used by dark money groups that sponsor undisclosed issue ads in state and federal elections. The group was newly formed in 2014 sending issue ad mailers to influence the Verona mayoral race and at least one race for Dane County Board in a district involved in a contentious housing development battle.

Though the MABA website notes the group does not expressly advocate support or defeat of candidates, they did report spending nearly $1,600 on mailings and robocalls to support Democrat Julia Arata-Fratta, who was seeking to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Robb Kahl of Monona in the 47th Assembly District in the fall elections. She lost the primary to the eventual winner Jimmy Anderson.

This organization is an unregistered independent expenditure committee that is required to report any such spending done within 60 days of a primary or an election to the Wisconsin Ethics Commission per Chapter 11, Subchapter X of Wisconsin Statutes.