wisconsin capitol
Press Release
March 16, 2017

Media Report Unmasks ‘Business Leader’ Behind Lowell Holtz Sleazy Election Deal to be Stephen Einhorn

Einhorn’s Previous ‘Anonymous’ Election Caper, Funding Racist Voter Intimidation Billboards

MADISON, Wis. — WisPolitics.com is reporting Stephen Einhorn is one of the “business leaders” Lowell Holtz, candidate for state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said encouraged him to try to negotiate a sleazy deal involving a guaranteed state job, benefits and a chauffeur in exchange for a campaign endorsement from his primary election opponent. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that this is not the first time an “anonymous” Einhorn caper has resulted in electoral scandal, having previously exposed Einhorn’s foundation as the sponsor of the notorious, racist voter intimidation billboards in 2010 and 2012.

“It seems that sleaze is the result when Mr. Einhorn tries to orchestrate a secret election deal,” commented Ross. “Last time it was his family foundation that we busted trying to secretly foot the bill for racist voter intimidation billboards. Now, this deal with Lowell Holtz.”

A 2012 joint investigation by One Wisconsin Now and theGrio.com’s Joy-Ann Reid uncovered it was the Einhorn Family Foundation, established by Stephen and Nancy Einhorn, that, in concert with the Bradley Foundation, sponsored anonymous, racist voter suppression billboards in Milwaukee in 2010. In 2012 the Einhorn Family Foundation again sponsored billboards in Milwaukee and Ohio.

The billboards, at first identified as being paid for by a private family foundation appeared in the lead up to the November 2010 election and were primarily located near majority-minority neighborhoods in Milwaukee. The advertisements featured a person of color behind prison bars with a headline declaring, “voter fraud is a felony.” Similar billboards, again sponsored “anonymously” by the Einhorns appeared again prior to the November 2012 election.

As reported by numerous media outlets, Lowell Holtz met with another candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, in December 2016 to discuss a scheme to provide significant taxpayer funded compensation to the candidate who agreed to support the other. On the table was a guaranteed job at the Department of Public Instruction for three years at a taxpayer-funded salary of $150,000 per year. In addition to the job, they would have been provided with a chauffeur and full state benefits, a total compensation package likely worth in excess of $500,000, as well as the promise of taking over complete control of some of the state’s largest school districts.

Holtz has attempted to excuse his outrageous behavior, claiming he was just doing what he was told to do by “business leaders,” whom he refuses to identify. Yesterday it was reported by Wispolitics.com that, “Two sources said Einhorn, a partner at Capital Midwest Fund, pushed for the candidates to meet in the hopes one would emerge as strong challenger to Evers.”

Ross concluded, “In retrospect, maybe Mr. Einhorn would have just been better off buying a billboard for Lowell Holtz.”

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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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