MADISON, Wis. — The National Rifle Association is trying to revive the flailing campaign of Gov. Scott Walker by placing a $1 million television buy for the next month in several markets around Wisconsin. The $1 million buy covers markets in La Crosse, Green Bay and Wausau.
“Gov. Walker has bent over backwards to serve the special interests who have financed his campaigns and the gun manufacturers are no different,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Gov. Walker has one focus: what’s best for his 20-year political career and kowtowing to the special interests is part and parcel of the Walker way.”
The buy, totaling just over $1 million will run beginning tomorrow, September 17, through October 13. The buys include $445,000 in La Crosse, $367,000 in Green Bay and $267,000 in Wausau.
Not only has Walker opposed common sense safety measures, as part of the 2013-15 state budget, Gov. Walker signed a sweetheart deal into law giving a $500,000 taxpayer-funded biennial grant, renewable at $450,000 every two years thereafter, to a politically connected but wholly unqualified organization. The group, United Wisconsin Sportsmen (UWS), endorsed Walker in his 2012 recall election and lobbied the state legislature on behalf of his top priority in 2013: legislation paving the way for a 4-mile wide pit mine in Northern Wisconsin.
The grant, ultimately rescinded by Walker following public exposure of the scheme’s details, required the recipient to, “have a relationship with a nationally recognized organization that provides proven and successful firearms safety education” and can use that relationship to host shooting events. In addition, the group is required to work with a “nationally recognized shooting expert.” According to a news report, United Sportsmen proposed working with the National Rifle Association and their former Washington D.C. lobbyists.
Ross concluded, “The NRA was the potential beneficiary of a scheme to funnel public money to a thinly veiled political front group. This ‘thanks a million’ TV ad buy reeks of the kind of political payback we see all too much of in Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin.”