Corporate Special Interests, Gov. Walker Buy Supreme Court Victory Over Workers, Voters

Conservative Majority Bought By Same Special Interests Supporting Walker

MADISON, Wis. — Today’s state Supreme Court decisions supporting Gov. Scott Walker’s attacks on workers and voters were spearheaded by a four-member majority bloc that was elected through $8 million in spending by two of Walker’s biggest special interest supporters – Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

“The corporate special interests like Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce bought the conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court just like they bought the Governor’s office with the intention of stripping working men and women of their rights and rigging the election rules to make it harder to hold elected officials like Gov. Scott Walker accountable,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. 

Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce were extremely active in the Supreme Court races in support of each of the most recent electoral efforts of Justices Annette Ziegler, Michael Gableman, David Prosser and Patience Roggensack. The four were elected to 10-year terms in campaigns from 2007 to 2013.

In addition, comments reported by the news service WisPolitics.com, Gov. Scott Walker admitted he personally solicited contributions for the Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG) in 2011 and 2012. During early 2011, WCFG spent an estimated $320,000 plus in advertising surrounding Justice David Prosser’s re-election race, and funded the entire budget of another group, Citizens for a Strong America (CSA), that spent over $800,000.

According to figures compiled by the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

  • WCFG and WMC spent a combined $7.3 million in support of those four justices’ campaigns’ for the Supreme Court. In addition, $985,000 was spent by Citizens for a Strong America on behalf of the 2011 campaign of Justice David Prosser. A review of WCFG’s 2011 Internal Revenue Service 990 form shows that WCFG contributed $4.6 million to Citizens for a Strong America – the organization’s entire operating budget.
  • In all four cases of these justices’ election campaigns, the percent of spending by these two entities was a substantial portion of the support the campaigns received. A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign total of the spending on behalf of Justice Prosser, including his own campaign, showed that spending of WCFG, WMC and the WCFG-financed Citizens for a Strong America, provided 75 percent of the $3.5 million in spending on behalf of Justice Prosser. If the public financing grant obtained by Justice Prosser is removed as “spending,” this figure leaps to a jaw-dropping 85 percent. 
  • A review of spending on behalf of Justice Michael Gableman, shows a similar and stunning lopsided percent from WCFG and WMC. These two entities provided in excess of 70 percent of the $3.2 million spent on his 2008 election campaign to the court.

Ross said, “There was an $8 million weight on the scales of justice pushing them in favor of Gov. Walker’s attacks on workers and voters.”

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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.