Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

National Group Has Huge Clout in Wisconsin

Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee spent $2.9 million to elect conservatives here.

By - Feb 1st, 2018 01:40 pm
Republican State Leadership Committee

Republican State Leadership Committee

This Virginia-based group was created in 2002 and engages in electioneering activities around the country to support Republican and conservative candidates for legislative and statewide offices.

Recently, the group was active in a 10th Senate District special election held last month to replace longtime GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, of River Falls, who resigned to become Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary. The committee spent an estimated $25,000 on a radio ad – here – and a mailing to attack Democratic candidate Patty Schachtner, of Somerset, who ended up defeating Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake.

The committee has been interfering in Wisconsin legislative and statewide elections since the 2010 fall elections, spending more than $2.9 million on disclosed independent expenditures as well as secret phony issue ads. Most of its electioneering activities are broadcast ads and mailings in about a dozen legislative races and three statewide contests for governor, lieutenant governor and Wisconsin Supreme Court justice.

Among the group’s initial targets in the 2010 legislative elections was then-Democratic Majority Leader Russ Decker, of Wausau, who was among numerous prominent state and federal Democrats to lose that year.

The committee also sponsored numerous outside electioneering activities during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, which were spurred by Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s successful plan to slash public employee collective bargaining rights. The group sponsored broadcast ads – hereand here – attacking two Democratic senators. The ads said teachers’ union contracts hurt education by discouraging good teachers from coming to or staying in Wisconsin. Broadcast ads – here and here – in two other recall races also accused Democrats of voting against job creation measures and in favor of higher government spending and taxes.

In 2016 the committee spent about $114,000 to support conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Bradley, who won a 10-year seat on the high court. A broadcast ad –here – sponsored by the group attacked Bradley’s Democratic opponent, an appeals court judge, for decisions in three cases before her.

Much of the group’s spending in Wisconsin has been fueled by individual and corporate contributors to the committee’s 527 group, which are tax-exempt political nonprofits that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from any source on elections. Wisconsin contributors gave the Republican State Leadership Committee nearly $1.7 million between January 2010 and June 2017. Top Wisconsin contributors to the committee’s 527 arm were:

In addition to its outside electioneering activities in Wisconsin, the committee has a state political action committee (PAC) to contribute directly to Wisconsin candidates. Since January 2009, the PAC has made two contributions – one for about $12,940 to Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a $10,000 contribution to former GOP Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Like many other special interests that engage in electioneering activities, the committee does not lobby on any of the state spending and policy issues that it uses to praise or attack candidates in its electioneering activities.

3 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: National Group Has Huge Clout in Wisconsin”

  1. Terry says:

    More greasy out of state millions spent to elect republicans like Career Politician Scott Walker in Wisconsin! It’s disgusting how republicans changed the campaign finance laws so they could get their dirty hands on millions of dollars so they could gerrymander Wisconsin and destroy democracy in the state. Scoundrels! Each and every one!

  2. WashCoRepub says:

    Not surprising… under the brilliant leadership of Governor Walker, this state has become a shining example of the success of Republican policies for budgeting and job growth. There’s lots of national attention for this innovation, and lots of businesses eager to support these kinds of changes all around the country. So glad to be living in this state during this remarkable period in history!

  3. Terry says:

    @WashCoRepub, Walker’s Wississippi is only remarkable for republicans destroying democracy via their vile partisan gerrymandering, or for republicans corrupting our state by changing the laws so they could get their greasy hands on all that huge out of state money for their campaigns or for Wisconsin having the 2nd worst roads in the country, or for Wisconsin having poverty rates at thirty year highs now under Walker, or for Walker and “fiscally conservative” republicans running up a Billion dollar DOT budget deficit while letting our roads crumble to where they are now ranked the worst in the midwest and 2nd worst in the entire nation!
    All of these things are very “remarkable” indeed. What you mentioned, is not.

    DUMP WALKER 2018!

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us