MADISON, Wis. — Why would the right-wing, Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) produce and distribute a high-quality, 4-minute-long campaign-style video to promote Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his agenda as he prepares to announce his long-expected re-election bid? The Bradley Foundation, Walker’s close ally and supporter of his political ambitions, has given FGA nearly one million reasons, doling out at least $925,000 to the group from 2013 through 2016, the latest year for which donation information is available.
“The Bradley Foundation spends massive sums of money to relentlessly promote their right-wing agenda and protect their favored politicians,” commented One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “We know they’ve doled out nearly $1 million to the Foundation for Government Accountability, and that explains why a right-wing front group in Florida is producing slick, campaign-style videos for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.”
As reported by the state news service WisPolitics, Walker’s state office said the group produced the video because he could not attend a meeting hosted by the Foundation for Government Accountability. The four-minute spot features campaign photos of Walker and his family, recycled rhetoric from his stump speeches and features the Governor talking to camera in his office in the State Capitol.
A review of annual tax filings from the Bradley Foundation with the IRS and Bradley Foundation reports on their donations reveals FGA received contributions of $25,000 in 2013, $200,000 in 2014, $350,000 in 2015 and $350,000 in 2016.
Browne noted that this is not the first instance of the Bradley Foundation underwriting efforts including advertising intended to benefit Scott Walker. One Wisconsin Now has catalogued many of them on the Bradley Watch web page, including former Bradley head Michael Grebe chairing Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns and his 71-day run for President in 2015, funding numerous state-based organizations to defend Walker and attack his enemies, sponsoring voter suppression billboards targeting minority voters and supporting organizations that ran a multi-million dollar promotional campaign to boost his sagging political fortunes in 2012.
He concluded, “Gov. Walker and his gang have always been willing to pull out all the stops and spend whatever it takes to try to win an election and keep their hold on power. We can already see that election 2018 will be no different.”