Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

State Businesses Supported Group Pushing Capitol Rally

$279,000 donated to Republican Attorneys General Association pushing ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.

By - Jan 14th, 2021 06:26 pm
Tear gas outside the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021. Photo by Tyler Merbler from USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Tear gas outside the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021. Photo by Tyler Merbler from USA, (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

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.

For more information about the involvement of RAGA and RLDF and the robocall about the protest check out this report by the watchdog group Documented.

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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4 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: State Businesses Supported Group Pushing Capitol Rally”

  1. Wardt01 says:

    Not sure what the point of these type of recent “shame the donors” articles is… However, I do have a question for the author at the very bottom of my comment….

    To provide a little context….It is probably somewhat important to point out that during this same 3 year period, for instance, the top name on the donor list (Molson / Miller) contributed almost $9 million to the bank accounts of a very large # of the elected representatives in Congress.

    These astronomically higher dollar amounts are unmentioned in this article, yet they the essentially direct bribes paid to elected officials (aka: 100% legal campaign contributions). They represent a much larger problem in our government.

    When you do your next “shame the donor” piece, please seek out comments from our elected reps in Congress…. However I doubt you’d get anyone in Congress to respond because Molson /Miller, like most large corporations, simply write checks to members of both parties…. in in the same timeframe as your article, please note that Republican and Democrats all happily cashed checks from Molson / Miller, including these fine Democrats from Wisconsin:
    Tammy Baldwin
    Ron Kind
    Marc Pocan
    Gwen Moore

    And a quick look at a 2 other names on the RAGA donor list… They happen to be some of Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin’s top donors for 2020…
    Foley Lardner = $43k
    Michael Best = $49k

    And Gwen Moore cashed a huge check without any concerns last year…. That was a $15,400 contribution in the 2020 cycle to Ms Moore from another RAGA top donor, Potowotami.

    I could keep going, but….

    My question to the author is… if you’re gonna write this article, why don’t you have the guts to go all in? Why did you avoid calling out the WI politicians on both sides that are also cashing MUCH LARGER checks from these exact same donors?

  2. Jaimcb says:

    As already pointed out in the above comment, I too felt the article needed a fuller description of the corporate giving patterns. A chart would be helpful comparing, for instance, the amount of donations to republicans and Democrats. I know large corporations give to both parties—it only makes sense—but it would help me get angry if, say, Miller Coors gave in a disproportionate amount to a right-wing entity that enabled and encouraged an attempted coup.

  3. gerrybroderick says:

    Corporate allegiance to “profit above all else” is at the heart of corrupting our system of governance.
    Until Big Business is constrained from continuing to make obscene and unbridled contributions aimed at distorting democratic principles, our citizenry has little hope of restoring any sense of fairness to our “representative” democracy.

    The demise of McCain-Feingold was a clear demonstration of Corporate America’s power to corrupt any attempt to reform
    it’s malfeasance. Until we summon the societal will to disenfranchise the robber-barons, we can’t expect any better than we have.

  4. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Ward’s do the both sides defense which is stupid since Democrats aren’t supporting sedition. Pathetic.

    Do you work for WiLL?

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