MILWAUKEE — An effort by One Wisconsin Institute asking concerned citizens to email the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s board members and their companies using the Institute’s webtools has generated over 10,000 communications in just over a week, including an urgent call by a WMC senior staffer, who used the Institute’s email device to implore WMC’s members to not back down from financing its fall issue ad campaign.
“Over 10,000 emails went into the inboxes of WMC’s board members and their companies because the people of Wisconsin have some strong opinion about their work,” said Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Institute. “We hope this is just the beginning and ask anyone who has not yet taken the opportunity to do so by visiting our site.”
Those interested in authoring their own electronic message to can do so by visiting: http://www.instituteforonewisconsin.org/page/speakout/wmcads. The tool delivers an email to all of the WMC board members and their businesses. This effort comes out of the Institute’s work as the host of http://www.WMCWatch.org, a comprehensive online warehouse of information of WMC and its lobbying, fundraising and spending to support its agenda.
In addition to the Wisconsinites who used the site to express their opinions about the state’s largest corporate lobby, WMC Vice President for Government Relations James Buchen employed the Institute’s site to ask its board members to not withdraw from WMC IMC’s issue ad fundraising campaign. His email included reference to a unanimous June board decision to finance ads in the coming months:
“It appears that the email campaign is an effort to disrupt WMC’s fundraising drive for the WMC Issues Mobilization Council, Inc. We hope that this will not be the case. We hope that Directors will continue to show the resolve and fortitude demonstrated at the June Board Retreat when the Board voted unanimously to launch our fall issue campaign.
Recently, it was revealed WMC members were being asked to finance an effort to raise $1 million by Labor Day to finance issue ad spending during the fall election cycle. WMC’s issue ad arm is expected to spend several million dollars to aid pro-corporate, anti-worker legislators and candidates. Buchen’s email added:
“One Wisconsin Institute is affiliated with One Wisconsin Now, which has close ties to organized labor. One Wisconsin Now has supported candidates for public office that WMC has opposed. One Wisconsin Institute and One Wisconsin Now have been engaged in a protracted campaign to disrupt WMC and harass WMC Directors.”
Criticism of WMC has been mounting in the media, on blogs and at the grassroots level, most recently with an article authored by departing University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, who said the organization has been taken over by “political extremists” and created a “toxic” political environment.
Ross said he thought some might be concerned with Buchen’s calling attempts to communicate with WMC’s board members as an effort to “harass.”
“It is unfortunate that WMC’s staff finds having to hear from Wisconsin citizens a form of harassment,” said Ross. “Aren’t the hard-working people who finance the corporate tax cuts for members of WMC entitled to express themselves? For an organization which is constantly talking about its first amendment rights to communicate, WMC’s complaining could come off as just a bit hypocritical.”