Hijacking Campaign 2013

Club for Growth Wisconsin

Posted: February 8, 2013
Updated: January 17, 2014

Estimated Spending: $350,000

This is a conservative ideological group that supports Republican candidates for statewide office and the legislature. Club for Growth Wisconsin is the state arm of the national Club for Growth and refuses to disclose how much it spends on its electioneering activities.  The Democracy Campaign estimates the organization has doled out an estimated $11.3 million on Wisconsin elections since 2007. The bulk of that cash - about $9.1 million - was spent on the 2011 and 2012 recall races for governor and 13 state Senate seats.

Club for Growth Wisconsin is based in Sun Prairie and run by long-time political consultant R.J. Johnson.

The group sponsored more than $300,000 in television advertising leading up to the February spring primary to support incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack, according to the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice At Stake which track special interest spending and influence in judicial elections nationwide.  The club's ad touted Roggensack's judicial experience and legal opinions. Roggensack faced Marquette Law School professor Ed Fallone in the April general election for reelection to another 10-year term on the high court.

The group also sponsored a 30-second radio ad in March that criticized Fallone for standing by the founder and leader of a Milwaukee community center who was a former gang member and convicted drug felon. Fallone was president of the community center's board at the time - about a decade ago.  Fallone eventually withdrew his support of the individual after it was discovered the community center leader had an extra-marital affair with a woman who came to the center for help.

Club for Growth reportedly sponsored radio ads and television ads in circuit court races in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties. 

The club and longtime Republican campaign contributors supported Roggensack even though Supreme Court races are labeled nonpartisan because Roggensack was considered one of the seven-member court's four conservative justices. Several unions, including AFSCME, and longtime Democratic campaign contributors supported Fallone.

Last active election: Recall 2012