State Businesses Supported Group Pushing Capitol Rally
$279,000 donated to Republican Attorneys General Association pushing ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.
Wisconsin businesses and individuals contributed about $279,000 over the past three years to a Republican electioneering group that helped organize a protest that turned into a deadly mob attack at the U.S. Capitol last week.
An arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) called the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) made robocalls urging listeners to attend a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 along with the time and location of the protest.
RAGA is a Washington, D.C.-based group, which raises and spends unlimited amounts from special interests to help elect state GOP attorneys general throughout the country. The group was active in the 2018 Wisconsin state elections, doling out more than $2.8 million on electioneering activities to attack Democratic candidate Josh Kaul. Kaul defeated incumbent Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel in that race.
Between January 2018 and late November 2020, RAGA received about $279,000 from about two dozen Wisconsin contributors.
The top contributors were:
MillerCoors (now Molson Coors), of Milwaukee, $75,000
Foley & Lardner, of Milwaukee, $60,950
Wisconsin Realtors Association, of Madison, $50,000
Kwik Trip, of La Crosse, $25,000
Klondike Properties, of Monroe, $20,000
Michael Best Strategies, of Madison, $15,875
Dairy Business Association, of Green Bay, $10,000
Forest County Potawatomi Community, of Crandon, $10,000
Kinnard Farms, of Casco, $2,500
Heller Farm Inc., of Alma Center, $2,000
Norm-e-Lane Inc., of Chili, $1,000
Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, of Kewaunee, $1,000
Shiloh Dairy, of Greenleaf, $1,000
RAGA operates as a 527 group, so named for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service rules that regulate them. These entities can raise and spend unlimited amounts from any source on electioneering activities like broadcast ads and mailings to smear or praise Democratic and Republican candidates in state and federal elections.
Update January 17: The Wisconsin Realtors Association contacted Urban Milwaukee to offer this response to the story:
“In June of 2018, the WRA made a $50,000 contribution to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). In 2018, RAGA was actively engaged in supporting attorney general candidates, like Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, whom the WRA had endorsed due to his excellent record on issues important to the real estate industry.
“WRA’s contribution was not in any way related to any activities that took place before or after the 2018 election cycle, including the protests in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.”
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