wisconsin capitol
Press Release
November 20, 2014

Is Sen. Johnson Not Getting PACUR to Pay for Planned 2016 Campaign?

Claims 2010 Spending Was ‘$9 Million Investment in This Country,’ Ignores His Company ‘Magically’ Paid Him $10 Million After Election

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said during a C-SPAN interview yesterday he doesn’t plan on self-financing his 2016 re-election campaign. What Johnson did not disclose is that after spending nearly $9 million of his personal wealth in 2010, he was given $10 million from his plastics company PACUR two months after his election.

“Ron Johnson spent $9 million in 2010 in deceptive ads to win his Senate seat and he starts his 2016 campaign with the biggest lie of all by ignoring the unseemly $10 million ‘PACUR payoff’ that magically came just after the 2010 campaign,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director.

Johnson’s ‘PACUR Payoff’ was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in early 2011 and roundly criticized by good government activists. At the time a spokesperson from the Federal Election Commission noted it, “would be illegal for a corporation to donate directly to a candidate or for it to give money to a candidate for the express purpose of reimbursing the individual for campaign loans or contributions,” according to the newspaper.

“Ron Johnson has a serious challenge because after four years most Wisconsinites either don’t know who is he, or they know him for the crazy things he says,” said Ross. “Let’s not forget this is the guy who says the solution to the student loan crisis facing one million Wisconsinites is more predatory for-profit colleges. Ron Johnson is out of step, out of touch and without his millions, he’ll likely be out of a job after 2016.”

Johnson is also the subject of a Federal Elections Commission complaint filed by One Wisconsin Now over his campaign’s lawsuit with the Bradley Foundation funded Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). Johnson initially failed to disclose any legal fees for his lawsuit. In subsequent filings, including most recently in October, Johnson failed to provide sufficient details to determine if he is complying with federal campaign finance laws and the conditions for his legal service set by the Senate Ethics Committee. One Wisconsin Now recently updated the complaint to include even more information about the unseemly arrangement between the Johnson campaign and the 501(c)(3) non-profit, WILL.

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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.

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