Campaign Finance Records Reveal Out-of-State Special Interests Funneling Support for Gov. Walker Through In-State Big Business Lobby

Is Desperate Walker Campaign Engaging in More Shady Tactics?

MADISON, Wis. — According to campaign finance filings, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) political action committee appears to have shifted tactics and has been funneling their television advertising support for Gov. Scott Walker through the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). The most recent reports from the RGA show their Right Direction Wisconsin PAC sent $840,000 to WMC in just over one week in mid-October. Previously the RGA was sponsoring express advocacy TV ads urging support for Gov. Walker in their own name.

“It looks like the Republican Governors Association is aiding Walker in hiding the true source of his support – out of state corporate special interests,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Instead of sponsoring their own ads, they are pouring money into the coffers of the WMC effort to save Gov. Walker’s hide while concealing the out-of-state source of his support.”

The Republican Governors Association raises huge sums of special interest cash from across the county, including over $20 million between July 1 and September 30 of 2014. Major 2014 funders of the RGA include right wing luminaries the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson’s casino corporation, Wall Street investment firms and oil, insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Campaign finance reports filed by the RGA’s Wisconsin front group, Right Direction Wisconsin PAC, show they have recently stopped making major television ad buys as they had been. Instead in three installments between October 9 and 17 the Right Direction PAC sent $840,000 to WMC. In recent weeks the WMC has subsequently significantly increased the amount of television advertising they were doing. Station television buy information obtained by One Wisconsin Now shows Right Direction PAC ended its television buys October 12.

National news outlets have reported that career politician Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign has been complaining about a perceived lack of sufficient support from the RGA and actively been soliciting additional support in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Ross noted that the RGA has decided to up its support in a most unusual way, sending so-called “hard money” funds that can be used to directly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate to the WMC that runs so-called “issue ads” that cannot. The coordination in 2011 and 2012 between Gov. Walker’s campaign and right-wing so-called issue advocacy groups controlled by a top Walker campaign aide have been the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.

He concluded, “Gov. Walker is a career politician with a track record of engaging in highly questionable tactics to keep his job. His campaign has been under investigation for what prosecutors termed a ‘criminal scheme’ to coordinate with outside groups. In the closing weeks of his desperate re-election bid, these odd money moves raise questions about what’s going on here.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.