Hijacking Campaign 2018

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on National Democratic Redistricting Committee

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: January 16, 2018
Updated: May 29, 2018

Special: OathSpending
Spring: OathSpending

This unregistered committee is chaired by Eric Holder, who served as U.S. Attorney General under Democratic President Barack Obama, and run by top Democratic Party operatives.  The group was created in 2016, and its main focus is redistricting reform.

Over the Memorial Day weekend the group reported independent spending on behalf of the Democratic candidates in the June 12 special elections being held in the 1st Senate and 42nd Assembly Districts.

A little more than three weeks before the April 3 spring elections, the organization filed an independent expenditure report that showed spending on online advertising to support Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet. Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, faces Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock to fill the open seat.

Even though the high court races is officially nonpartisan, Dallet has drawn support from Democratic campaign contributors and Screnock has received support from Republican donors and the state Republican Party. Go here to see the candidates’ most current fundraising and spending information, as well as their large contributors.

Earlier this year, the organization spent $10,000 on online advertising to support Democratic candidate Patty Schachtner in a 10th Senate District special election on Jan. 16.  Schachtner, of Somerset, faced Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, to replace GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, who resigned to become GOP Gov. Scott Walker's agriculture secretary.

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.

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on High Ground Action Fund

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

High Ground Action Fund

March 27, 2018

Spring: OathSpending

This Milwaukee-based organization advocates for Democratic causes and candidates in order to advance progressive issues over the long-term in Wisconsin.

About a week before Wisconsin's spring elections, the group filed paperwork showing it would make independent expenditures to support  Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet.  Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, faces Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock on April 3 for a 10-year seat on the high court.

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.

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on For Our Future

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: March 7, 2018
Updated: November 7, 2018

Fall: OathSpending
Special:
OathSpending
Spring: OathSpending

This Washington D.C. group supports Democratic candidates for federal and state offices.  In Wisconsin, the group sponsors disclosed independent expenditures through a Super-PAC that must file reports with the state about how much it spends on its electioneering activities.

For Our Future was formed in 2016 by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and national labor groups.  In Wisconsin, the group spent about $128,000 during the 2016 fall elections to back Democrats and oppose Republicans in eight legislative races.

Fall Election

Toward the end of June the group first reported spending on brochures and website development as part of its campaign against the fall reelection of incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker. At the beginning of July it reported another $22,000 on canvassing activities. By the end of August it had reported spending over $58,000 in various campaign activities in opposition to the governor. About a week after Labor Day it first reported spending on behalf of Democrats in five state senate races. By the end of September it expanded its activity to include support for the Democratic challenger in the attorney general's race.

Special Election

About a month before the special election in June to fill a vacancy in the 1st Senate District, the group first reported spending on behalf of the Democratic candidate and just before the Memorial Holiday weekend it reported spending in suppport of the Democratic candidate in the 42nd Assembly District special election begin held at the same time.

Supreme Court

The group first filed paperwork in late February showing spending on canvassing and online advertising to support Rebecca Dallet in the April 3 spring elections to fill an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, faces Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock.  Even though the election is billed as a nonpartisan contest, Dallet has drawn support from Democrats and Screnock has drawn support from GOP donors and the state Republican Party.  Go here to see the candidates’ most current fundraising and spending information, as well as their large contributors.

Last active election: 2016

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.

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on Center for Popular Democracy Action

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: March 27, 2018
Updated: January 15, 2019

Fall: OathSpending
Spring:
OathSpending

This is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that was organized in 2014 and works with state-based groups throughout the country to advance numerous Democratic causes, including worker rights, immigration, racial and economic justice, gerrymandering, and voting rights, among others.

Fall

After Labor Day this group first reported spending on brochures to support Democrats Tony Evers for governor and Mandela Barnes for lieutenant governor in the November election. Spending since then has been on canvassing costs. In January 2019 it reported spending for brochures on behalf of Josh Kaul, the Democratic candidate for attorney general.

Supreme Court

About a week before the April 3 spring elections in Wisconsin, the group filed paperwork to sponsor outside electioneering activities in support of Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet.  Dallet, a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge, faces Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock for the open seat on the high court.

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.

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on American Majority Action

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: April 3, 2018
Updated: November 16, 2018

Fall: OathSpending
Special: OathSpending
Spring: OathSpending

This committee makes independent expenditures in Wisconsin elections for the Virginia-based American Majority Action, which recruits and supports conservative candidates for state and local races across the country. 

American Majority Action's electioneering activities in Wisconsin elections started during the 2012 recall races as a PAC. Since then, it has spent about $49,400 on independent expenditures to help Republican legislative and statewide candidates.

Fall

At the end of of October the organization first reported spending to support Repubicans in several assembly and senate races.

In eary July it reported spending about $700 to support Andre Jacque in the August Republican primary in the 1st Senate District. Jacque had run unsuccessfully for the same seat in a June special election.

Special

Four days before the June 12 special elections to fill vacancies in the 1st Senate and 42nd Assembly districts, the organization reported spending on brochures supporting the Republican candidate in each race. About a week after the election it reported spending on various other campaign activities.

Spring

Shortly before the April 3 spring elections, the group filed paperwork with the state showing it printed brochures and paid campaign staff to work on behalf of conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock.  Screnock, a Sauk County Circuit Court judge, faces Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet for an open seat on the state's highest court.

Last active election: 2016

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.

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: February 14, 2018
Updated: September 5, 2018

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is the state’s largest business organization and one of the most powerful special interest groups in Wisconsin because of its electioneering and lobbying activities.

WMC is among the leaders in spending on outside electioneering activities.  Since January 2010, the group secretly raised and spent more than $18.6 million on phony issue ads and independent expenditures.  WMC supports Republican and conservative candidates for statewide office and the legislature, generally by sponsoring negative broadcast ads and mailings that smear Democratic candidates.

Fall Election

WMC spent more than $1.1 million in August on television ads around the state to help GOP Gov. Scott Walker.  One ad accused Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers, who is currently state school superintendent, of spending $400,000 in 2012 and 2014 on pay raises for state Department of Public Instruction staff instead of teachers even though that money was appropriated by the Republican-controlled legislature and Walker for state worker pay increases and not teachers.

Supreme Court

Earlier, in the 2018 spring elections, WMC sponsored more than $700,000 worth of television ads on behalf of conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock.  One of its television ads and a similar, digital ad criticized Screnock's opponent, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet, for her handling of a child sexual assault case. 

An earlier television ad by the group - here - claimed Screnock was a tough judge, and urged listeners to call and thank him for "keeping dangerous predators behind bars."

Screnock, a Sauk County Circuit Court judge, faced Dallet in the April 3 general election for a 10-year seat on the court to replace Justice Michael Gableman, who decided not to seek reelection. Dallet won the election.

In addition to outside electioneering, the group has spent millions of dollars over the years to lobby the governor and legislators, who received WMC support to get or hold their jobs, on dozens of anti-labor, environmental deregulation, pro-school voucher, anti-local control, pro-business, and other state policy and spending measures.

Last active election: 2016

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: February 7, 2018
Updated: October 29, 2018

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform Logo

This is a conservative phony issue ad group created in 2015 by former GOP legislative and state Republican Party staffers Luke Fuller and Chris Martin to support GOP and conservative candidates for legislative and statewide offices.

The Alliance’s decision to sponsor issue ads means that it can secretly raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on its outside electioneering activities.

Fall Election

A little more than a month before the Nov. 6 general election, the group sponsored a mailing in the 1st Senate District against Democratic Sen. Caleb Frostman, of Sturgeon Bay, who faces a challenge from Republican Rep. Andre Jacque, of DePere.  The organization also sponsored mailings - here and here - against Democrat Kriss Marion, of Blanchardville, who is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Howard Marklein, of Spring Green, for his 17th Senate District seat.

In late October the group distributed more mailings against Frostman. Both mailings - here and here - accused Frostman of advocating higher taxes that would hurt Wisconsin's economy.

A third mailing doubled on the claim that Frostman advocated job destroying taxes.

Special Election

Less than two weeks before a June 12 special election in northeastern Wisconsin's 1st Senate District, the Alliance purchased $150,360 worth of ads at three Green Bay television stations to support the GOP candidate in the race, Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere.

Spring Election

Earlier in 2018, the group purchased about $63,600 in advertising in the Milwaukee and La Crosse radio and television markets during the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.  The race featured Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock, Madison lawyer Tim Burns, and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet. Screnock drew support from conservatives.

Screnock and Dallet survived the primary and went on to the April 3 general election where Dallet won a 10-year seat on the high court.

The Alliance describes itself as an anti-tax and pro-economic growth and small government organization whose members, which it does not identify, are individuals and community leaders. The group has used a Madison post office box and a Milwaukee phone number as its only contact information. The Alliance’s website was initially registered by Lorri Pickens, a former director at Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which is funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to spend money on Republican and conservative candidates for state and federal offices around the country.

Currently, the group's president is Randy Melchert and it's secretary is Nate Nelson.  Nelson worked for the American Majority, which is a group that trains conservative candidates to run for offices across the country.  Melchert is a communications consultant and past GOP candidate for legislative and statewide offices.

Last active election: 2016

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on Greater Wisconsin Committee

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: March 26, 2018
Updated: July 17, 2019

This is the phony issue ad arm of the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which is mostly funded by labor unions and ideological groups to support Democratic and left-leaning candidates for local, legislative, and statewide offices.

In addition to undisclosed issue ad spending, Greater Wisconsin also uses a 527 group to raise money, and a corporation and a political action committee to make independent expenditures, which are electioneering messages that directly tell viewers how to vote. All told, the four entities operated by Greater Wisconsin spent an estimated $30.5 million since January 2010 statewide and legislative elections.

Fall Election

In mid-October, the committee sponsored a 30-second ad that criticized GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel for involving Wisconsin in a multi-state lawsuit that would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions if the lawsuit is successful.  At about the same time, the group also sponsored a 30-second television ad that criticized GOP Sen. Howard Marklein, of Spring Green, for legislative votes that cut state school and road funding in his 17th Senate District.

A review of television ad buys by the Wisconsn Democracy Campaign found the group reserved about $2.5 million in advertising time around the state in the three weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 general election.

Supreme Court

Earlier, about a week before the 2018 spring elections, the Greater Wisconsin Committee sponsored two 30-second television ads  30-second television ad that criticized conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock.  One ad - here - went after Screnock for not supporting court rules that would prohibit a judge from sitting on cases involving large campaign contributors and special interest groups that spend money on outside electioneering activities to help elect the judge.  The second ad - here - said Screnock had extremist views on abortion and noted that he was arrested for participating in anti-abortion protests in the late 1980s.

Screnock, a Sauk County circuit judge, faced Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet for a 10-year seat on the high court.  Dallet won the Arpril 3rd election.

The organization's independent expenditure committee was also active the Wisconsin Supreme Court election and was involved in the 2018 special election for the 10th Senate District.

Last active election: 2016

Hijacking Campaign 2018 - Information on Jobs First Coalition

Hijacking Campaign 2018 | Independent Expenditures | Issue Ads | Candidates | Offices | Campaign 2018

Posted: February 1, 2018
Updated: June 7, 2018

This Brookfield-based organization first surfaced in the 2010 fall elections and supports Republican legislative candidates.  Former GOP Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was disgraced in the caucus scandal, helped create and raise money for the group.

The coalition operates a phony issue ad group and briefly used a corporation, which it terminated in 2016, to make disclosed independent expenditures.  All told, the group spent just over $1 million on all of its outside electioneering activities since January 2010 to support GOP legislative candidates.

The group purchased more than $66,000 in radio ads at two Milwaukee radio stations to back Republican Jon Plumer, who faces Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd in a June 12 special election in southern Wisconsin's 42nd Assembly District.

Earlier, the group sponsored at least two mailings in the week leading up to a Jan. 16 special election in northwestern Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District.  The mailings – here and here – accused Democratic candidate Patty Schachtner of sharply increasing her budget as St. Croix County medical examiner and opposing drug testing for welfare recipients.

Schachtner, who won the special election, faced Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, to fill the seat vacated by longtime GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, who resigned to become Walker’s agriculture secretary.

Jobs First Coalition was one of more than two dozen conservative groups involved in a John Doe investigation into whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker's campaign illegally coordinated with issue advocacy groups during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. The probe was shut down by a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in July 2015 that found coordination between candidates and issue ad groups was legal, among other things.

Last active election: 2014