MADISON, Wis. — The political front group for special interests seeking to divert more state money to the unaccountable private school voucher program has hit the airwaves in their latest attempt to elect legislative allies. According to filings with the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the American Federation for Children (AFC), whose operation here is run by disgraced former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, has thus far registered to run campaign ads and send direct mail in three state Assembly and one state Senate district.
“This gang has been willing to do, say and spend whatever it takes to elect legislators willing to take our tax dollars and send them to millionaires who already send their kids to private schools and to their friends at unaccountable private voucher schools,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “And they’re back at it again this year.”
Information obtained from the Wisconsin Elections Commission shows the Washington D.C. based American Federation for Children is reporting spending $497,045.32 on direct mail and radio, television and online advertising in Assembly Districts 51, 72, 85 and Senate District 12. The expenditures are for attacking Democratic candidates and praising Republicans.
According to the filings, through the end of September, AFC is spending $46,969.38 in the 51st Assembly District to help incumbent Republican Todd Novak and attack his opponent, Democrat Jeff Wright; $96,506.28 in the open 85th Assembly District supporting the Republican Pat Snyder and attacking the Democrat, Mandy Wright; $15,710.96 supporting the incumbent Republican, Scott Krug, in the 72nd Assembly District; and $337,858.36 attacking Brian Van Stippen, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany in the12th Senate District.
Along with Gov. Scott Walker the Republican controlled state legislature has, since taking control of all levers of government in 2010, expanded the unaccountable voucher program statewide, changed the voucher school funding formula to draw funds directly away from public schools to send to private voucher schools and enacted a $30 million tax break that allows millionaires to get a tax deduction for tuition expenses to send their kids to private schools and academies.
Ross concluded, “You better believe this kind of support from the American Federation for Children comes with a price. Pat Snyder, Todd Novak, Scott Krug and Tom Tiffany are all going to be asked to sell out taxpayers and public school kids for the benefit of the voucher school industry. Unfortunately for us, history shows they’ll pay.”