Hijacking Special Elections and Recall 2011

Wisconsin WOMEN VOTE!

Posted: June 24, 2011
Updated: January 14, 2014

OathSpending

This is the state independent expenditure arm of the Washington D.C.-based EMILY's List, a group that provides financial and other campaign resources to elect pro-choice Democratic women to state and federal offices around the country.

EMILY's List  worked with the national organization Progressive Kick to raise money for outside electioneering activities in nine recall elections involving six  Republican senators and three Democratic senators in 2011.  The nine faced recall as fallout from the March 2011 passage of GOP Governor Scott Walker controversial bill sharply curtailing employee collective bargaining rights.  The  Progressive Kick also registered a corporation in Wisconsin for the purpose of making independent expenditures.

Wisconsin WOMEN VOTE! sponsored two television ads - here and here - attacking incumbent Republican Senators Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls and Dan Kapanke of La Crosse.  The anti-Harsdorf ad showed a child climbing on playground equipment.  "Every child has to climb the ladder of success but Sheila Harsdorf is making it harder for our children to succeed" by supporting cuts of more than $800 million in public education but giving tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals, the ad says.

The anti-Kapanke ad showed a black sedan with personalized "Sen Kapanke" license plates driving on a road and passing a child sitting at a pupil's desk, an elderly couple sitting on a bench and a family of four seated at a table eating.  The ad's narrator says Kapanke supported $800 million in cuts to public education, massive cuts to senior health care programs and tax increases on middle class families.  Near the end of the ad, the car stops to pick up two men in dark suits - a reference to Kapanke's support for tax breaks for large corporations and wealthy individuals. 

This organization is registered with the Government Accountability Board following the January 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC as a corporation making independent disbursements.