Hijacking Campaign 2016
Prosperity for Everyday People
Posted: September 27, 2016
Updated: March 9, 2017
Prosperity for Everyday People has a Windsor, Wis. address and supports Democratic candidates for state offices.
The organization appeared in the 2016 fall elections by sponsoring television ads to support Democrat Mark Harris in the open 18th Senate District race in November. The ads sponsored by Prosperity for Everyday People praises Harris’ record as Winnebago County executive. Harris faces Republican Dan Feyen. The group also opposed Republican incumbent Luther Olsen in the 14th Senate District.
Some of the group's funding has come from labor. A 527 organization used by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry contributed $50,000 on Oct. 5 to Prosperity for Everyday People. Earlier, a state political action committee controlled by Operating Engineers Local 139 gave the group $50,000 in late July.
The group’s executive director, Sam Raymond, told the Wisconsin State Journal, that the group’s top issues include fair taxation, job creation, and veterans and elderly care. Raymond is a former Washington, D.C. energy and political consultant and campaign manager for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia.
The group is registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501c4 organization which allows it to secretly raise and spend unlimited amounts of money without reporting its activities. In addition, paperwork filed with the state shows that the group created a state independent expenditure committee earlier this month called Wisconsin Prosperity, which must report its fundraising and spending activities.
Dark money and other phony issue ad groups do not have to report their activities because they do not expressly tell listeners how to vote. Electioneering activities sponsored by independent expenditure groups generally explicitly tell listeners how to vote.