Outside groups spent $4.5 million on WI Supreme Court race

posted at 3:35 pm on April 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Color me a little surprised by both the top line and the breakdown in this report from Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which took a look at outside spending in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election that narrowly gave Justice David Prosser a victory over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.  According to their analysis, reported today in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest outside-group intervention benefited Kloppenburg, but Prosser benefited overall by a 3-2 margin:

Thirty-five outside groups doled out $4.5 million in the two months before the April 5 general election between incumbent Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg. The groups represented business, labor, abortion, education, environmental, gun and liberal and conservative ideological interests, among others, and hailed from inside and outside the state, including Washington D.C., Virginia and Vermont.

The special interest groups spent an estimated $2.7 million to support Prosser and $1.8 million to back Kloppenburg.

Leading the smear groups was the Greater Wisconsin Committee which spent nearly $1.7 million to support Kloppenburg. The Madison-based group has been a leading spender on outside electioneering activities in most partisan races for statewide office and the legislature and in nonpartisan state Supreme Court races since it was created in 2004 to support Democratic candidates.

Greater Wisconsin sponsored web ads, phone banks and four television ads to support Kloppenburg. One of the group’s worst ads condemned Prosser for not prosecuting a Catholic priest in Green Bay accused of sexually abusing two boys when Prosser was Outagamie County district attorney in the late 1970s.

However, Prosser got helped by an influx of money from established conservative political groups, such as Citizens for a Strong America, a group affiliated with Americans for Prosperity, which put in a strong effort to support the Republicans during the fleebagging episode earlier in the year.  The Club for Growth’s Wisconsin affiliate pitched in $520,000 on its own for a television ad and a radio spot, and the Tea Party Express bought a TV ad for $70,000.  Put together, those three didn’t amount to the same contribution as the GWC on its own, but a total of 35 outside groups spent money in this race.  Presumably, the vast majority of the rest broke for Prosser.

That raises a rather interesting question — actually, two of them.  First, the unions were the main players in hyping this race into a referendum on Scott Walker and the PEU reform bill.  Did they run out of money after those massive and somewhat embarrassing demonstrations at the capital?  One would have expected them to go all out to win the race after framing it as practically an existential moment.

The second question would be whether the media really missed the boat on grassroots support for Walker and by extension Prosser.  The big three mentioned in the front page of the WDC’s report came up over $1 million shy of the total amount that went into supporting Prosser through outside groups. In contrast, the amount of Kloppenburg outside support minus the GWC was around $100,000.  It certainly seems as though the outside spending edge went to Prosser not from big, corporate-based orgs but from small activist groups.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

But the media was stone silent about all those credit card donations in 2008 that went to O’Bambi from unidentified individuals from across the globe.

honsy on April 19, 2011 at 3:39 PM

In other words the only real support Kloppy had was the Greater Wisconsin Committee.

Rocks on April 19, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Heh, the media declared the tea party dead…”unexpectedly”.

Schadenfreude on April 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I guess all our little 5 and 10 dollar donations added up to help with the election! As I have said before, there are more of us than the union thugs!
L

letget on April 19, 2011 at 3:41 PM

First, the unions were the main players in hyping this race into a referendum on Scott Walker and the PEU reform bill. Did they run out of money after those massive and somewhat embarrassing demonstrations at the capital?

No, they funneled it through GWC.

Rocks on April 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

This election was like, the Eagles seemed to have lost the game on the last play, but Andy Reid called for a review, and the refs overturned it, and the Cowboys lost.

I just couldn’t be more happier.

Akzed on April 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Simple; the unions did NOT report their expenditures on this effort. What, you expect the union bosses to act like the little people?
They CLEARLY spent large sums of union money through in-kind contributions of time. They are merely not reporting it.

michaelo on April 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

Consider this money well spent. The right person won and that lib group blew through $1.7 million they won’t have for the 2012 election cycle. Win Win!!!

karenhasfreedom on April 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Glad i send in $50 so true little donations add up.

Ricki on April 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

I and others were waiting for trusted sources to give us direction to whom we could contribute. Once that happened I think the money from individuals started flowing in to support Prosser.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Local unions tend to be affiliates of larger associations of unions. Did they count transfers of funds from, say, the national SEIU to Wisconsin affiliates?

Sekhmet on April 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

It certainly seems as though the outside spending edge went to Prosser not from big, corporate-based orgs but from small activist groups.

Those are words that will never make the MSM.

This is good news. How goes the recall efforts?

petunia on April 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

This is good news. How goes the recall efforts?

petunia on April 19, 2011 at 3:53 PM

News for that is considerably less rosy.

The professional signature-gatherers have filed petitions against three of our guys with the fourth scheduled to be filed today.

As for us… zilch. And we’re running out of time. That’s not to say things are hopeless, of course. A recall election can easily won if the Wisconsin rightroots are suitably informed of the threat to Walker’s achievements.

KingGold on April 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM

… AND lost — LOL

tarpon on April 19, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Being a resident of Wisconsin, I just love the fact that the DIMocrats just waisted 4.5 million dollars.

Life is good!

idesign on April 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

“The second question would be whether the media really missed the boat on grassroots support for Walker and by extension Prosser.”

Consider that ship…

… sailed.

Seven Percent Solution on April 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM

The professional signature-gatherers have filed petitions against three of our guys with the fourth scheduled to be filed today.

As for us… zilch. And we’re running out of time. That’s not to say things are hopeless, of course. A recall election can easily won if the Wisconsin rightroots are suitably informed of the threat to Walker’s achievements.

KingGold on April 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM

We have recall Petitions on six fleebagers. they are so worried that they broke in to an office and stole recall petition signatures. Typical behavior from the left

idesign on April 19, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Ah HAH! Prosser’s win was bought & paid for by the evil Koch brothers DBA shadowy, evil front groups!!!!11!! /sarc

KS Rex on April 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

The special interest groups spent an estimated $2.7 million to support Prosser and $1.8 million to back Kloppenburg.

Leading the smear groups was the Greater Wisconsin Committee which spent nearly $1.7 million to support Kloppenburg.

Color me skeptical with these numbers.

I’m finding it very difficult to believe that only a little over $100k was spent by other outside groups for Kloppenburg.

That doesn’t sound right.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

This does not include spending by Unions on propaganda sent to their own members.

pablo5108 on April 19, 2011 at 4:40 PM

PEU’s are a whole different beast from the now thuggish regular labor unions I grew up with.

The big hoodwink was the labor unions’ attempts to morph the PEU situation into a “Norma Rae” struggle … and the voters knew better.

marybel on April 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Meanwhile, Gov. Walker is supposedly bought-and-paid-for by a $43,000 contribution from the Koch Industries PAC.

Heh.

ss396 on April 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Most of my family in WI is consertive but I do have a few that live in Madison. They are mad that both Walker and Prosser won. They said that WI is now going to go down the tube. I didn’t say anything and thought I’m glad we won. They are union and affiliated with UW Madison so I didn’t exepect they were for Prosser. They said he cheated and that they no longer think there vote matters and probably won’t vote anymore. LOL It’s a huge loss for the dems in Madison.

Brat4life on April 19, 2011 at 4:46 PM

“COUNT IT!!”
/crr6

“That’s one for the good guys!”
Khun Joe

Khun Joe on April 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Key words: “outside groups.” Unions would donate money via the state/local union affiliates. Thus, their monies would not be considered to be from “outside.”

Oldest money-laundering trick in the book.

DINORight on April 19, 2011 at 5:08 PM

But the media was stone silent about all those credit card donations in 2008 that went to O’Bambi from unidentified individuals from across the globe.

That was an amazing tale of fraud they covered up. The Obama campaign found a loophole in the way credit card contributions are made and drove a semi full of cash through it. They bought *debit* cards with cash and then used those debit cards to make donation on a global basis. Stunning.

EasyEight on April 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Wow, somebody‘s still got money. Looks like we’re all in the wrong business.

J.E. Dyer on April 19, 2011 at 5:23 PM

I guess all our little 5 and 10 dollar donations added up to help with the election! As I have said before, there are more of us than the union thugs!
L

letget on April 19, 2011 at 3:41 PM

You bet. Keep the money away from the GOP nationally and support the real conservative candidates by cutting out the middle-man.

OmahaConservative on April 19, 2011 at 5:33 PM

I am sure stolen union money was not included.

WoosterOh on April 19, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Sorry, but $1.7M from one group for the Klopster and then only another $100K from everyone else just is not believable, especially considering the hyperventilating by the national Left over this race.

paul1149 on April 19, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I guess Klopp has until 5PM Wednesday to announce if she wants a recount, partial or full. If she does, of course it will be partial.

WoosterOh on April 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM

bbbbbbut every poll said the people were with the PEUs.

Hmmm

angryed on April 19, 2011 at 6:08 PM

This “report” is as fishy as a 5 day old Mackerel if anybody asks me (which they didn’t) ha!

golfmann on April 19, 2011 at 6:36 PM

On the bright side, that’s 1.8 million Barry won’t get for his campaign.

GarandFan on April 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I had exactly the same question earlier today. I sent t tweet @wisdc http://twitter.com/#!/p8riot/status/60450878464864256

No response yet.

Look at what ACTBlue has reported to have raised recently for WI. http://blog.actblue.com/blog/2011/04/2011-march-statistics.html

So, out of $5Million raised and as important as this election was, they only provided $100K?

DWB on April 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Sorry, but $1.7M from one group for the Klopster and then only another $100K from everyone else just is not believable, especially considering the hyperventilating by the national Left over this race.

paul1149 on April 19, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Sure it is. The Left has always relied on someone else to actually do anything; preferably some large organization. This fits their methodology to a ‘T’ – someone (else) should do something.

ss396 on April 19, 2011 at 9:26 PM

I splurged, too. And it made me very happy.

Yellowdog12 on April 19, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Color me skeptical with these numbers.

I’m finding it very difficult to believe that only a little over $100k was spent by other outside groups for Kloppenburg.

That doesn’t sound right.

ButterflyDragon on April 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I agree – something tells me that a significant amount of money spent on Kloppenburg was conveniently omitted for the purposes of this report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

And looking toward the very bottom of the report, lo and behold we find the wiggle clause.

The Democracy Campaign’s spending estimates for outside special interest groups are conservative because they do not include ads aired on local cable networks not carried by satellite.

Gator Country on April 19, 2011 at 9:57 PM