Record Spending by Express Advocacy Groups in Wisconsin

Posted: November 1, 2018
Updated: November 20, 2018

This is a list of the record-breaking spending by independent expenditure groups in Wisconsin in this election, as of Nov. 1. Most of the spending has been for the governor’s race and the race for attorney general. Almost all of the rest has been for state senate and state assembly seats.

Independent expenditure groups favoring Republicans have outspent those favoring Democrats by slightly more than 2 to 1: $24,614,000 to $11,957,000 (rounded to the nearest thousand).

The total amount -- $36,571,000 – shatters the previous record $18,908,000 set in 2014.

Independent expenditure groups, also known as “express advocacy” groups, use the magic words “vote for” or “vote against” or their equivalents in their advertising and mailings.

To learn more about each group visit our independent expenditure page in our Hijacking Campaign 2018 feature.

Here’s a short ID for the top 10.

Americans for Prosperity is the Koch Brothers’ main group.

Right Direction Wisconsin PAC is a Republican Governors Association group.

ACC Wisconsin PAC is another Republican Governors Association group.

Wisconsin Freedom PAC is a Republican Attorneys General group.

DAGA WI is a Democratic Attorneys General group.

Greater Wisconsin is the biggest Democratic outside group in the state.

Wisconsin Conservation Voters is a Democratic-leaning outside group.

American Federation for Children is Betsy DeVos’s school voucher group.

NRA Political Victory Fund is a branch of the gun group.

For Our Future is a Democratic outside group.

Independent Expenditure Committees in the Fall Election
Reported Spending Through November 8, 2018

Americans for Prosperity $7,418,300.51
Right Direction Wisconsin PAC (RGA Wisconsin) $6,558,581.95
ACC Wisconsin PAC $4,381,050.35
Wisconsin Freedom PAC $2,833,948.55
Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund $2,308,935.86
DAGA WI People's Lawyer Project $2,180,854.21
Wisconsin Conservation Voters Independent Expenditure Committee $1,062,410.13
American Federation for Children Action Fund IE Committee Inc $971,133.40
NRA Political Victory Fund - Federal PAC $955,155.36
For Our Future $910,735.88
WMC Jobs Fund $739,460.61
High Ground Political Fund $715,480.65
Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education $668,951.22
Forward Majority Action $609,675.29
Wisconsin Leadership Committee $503,653.98
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin - C4 $480,282.28
NextGen Climate Action Committee $433,535.50
Jobs First Coalition Political Fund $337,839.08
Strong Wisconsin $331,023.96
Progressive Takeover Independent Expenditure Committee $282,451.78
Leadership MKE $246,813.87
AFSCME PEOPLE $225,201.52
AFSCME $215,725.13
Wisconsin REALTORS Political Fund $208,850.00
End Citizens United Non-Federal $125,000.00
Volunteers for Agriculture $123,553.53
Center for Popular Democracy Action $103,000.89
Fair Wisconsin, Inc. $102,372.00
Voces de la Frontera Action Inc. $96,516.55
Planned Parenthood Advocates of WI Political Fund $88,319.20 Political Action $76,479.95
American Majority Action $63,351.68
SEIU WI State Council $31,441.00
Wisconsin First Political Fund $27,245.00
AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Treasury Fund $26,844.62
Leaders for a Better Community, Inc $26,020.66
Americans Federation of Teachers Solidarity $20,385.00
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin $18,280.00
Fire Fighters for a Better Wisconsin (PFFW Defense Fund) $15,698.71
Wisconsin Right to Life PAC $10,531.00
Planned Parenthood Votes $9,853.66
AFT-Wisconsin $7,435.67
Young Americans for Liberty, Inc $6,526.36
CRG Network $5,134.00
Sierra Club Political Committee $5,098.82
Leaders Igniting Transformation Action Fund $761.91
Citizen Action of Wisconsin Inc. $634.01
Wisconsin Family Action, Inc. - 1.91 Account $204.73
WEAC Region 7 PAC (Southeast United Educators PAC) $34.50
Total: $36,570,774.52