Record Outside Spending in AG Race
Nearly $5 million, about five times higher than past record, spent on Schimel, Kaul.
Outside electioneering groups have already spent a record amount on the 2018 state attorney general’s race.
Reported independent expenditures by express advocacy groups totaled more than $4.9 million as of Thursday morning, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis. That’s almost five times the previous record for express advocacy groups. And that doesn’t count estimated spending by at least two phony issue groups involved in the race.
Express advocacy groups sponsor broadcast and online advertising, mailings and other electioneering activities that use the magic words “vote for” or “vote against” or their equivalents. Phony issue ad groups sponsor similar activities that praise or smear candidates, but do not have to report their fundraising and spending because they do not explicitly tell viewers how to vote.
The outside spending so far in this election was done by 10 groups. The vast majority of reported spending was done by two out-of-state groups that raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from any source to elect Republican and Democratic state attorneys general nationwide.
Planned Parenthood, which supports Kaul, was a distant third in spending at about $182,150.
The two phony issue ad groups involved in the race are Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which support Schimel, and the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which support Kaul, have both run television ads in the race. A final report that estimates their spending will be issued later this year by the Democracy Campaign.