Big Labor Already Spent at Least $6 Million on Wisconsin Recalls

Nine State Senate Races Subject to Unprecedented National Influence

MacIver News Service | July 11, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] In the first eight days of July nearly three million dollars has been sent to Wisconsin by national liberal organizations and individuals, with more than two million dollars coming from large national labor unions.

Big Labor has now sent more than six million dollars to finance recall efforts in Wisconsin according to a review of campaign finance reports conducted by the MacIver News Service. The figures only account for disbursements reported to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board; these organizations do not have to report expenditures made for efforts to communicate with their own membership.

The contributions can come in the form of monetary contributions like wire transfers and checks or in-kind contributions. Wisconsin statutes define “in-kind” contributions as a disbursement by a contributor to procure a thing of value or service for the benefit of a registrant who authorized the disbursement.

All told, Big Labor has spent more than $6,419,000 in the recall efforts this year, having delivered $2.2 million to the state since July 1.

The AFL-CIO sent $3,884,170 to the “We are Wisconsin” Super PAC in six monetary disbursements since May, the last one being for $778,431 on July 5.

As previously reported by MNS, The deceptively-named “We are Wisconsin” effort has a decidedly non-Wisconsin infrastructure, with well in excess of 90% of its funds and many of its key operatives coming from out of state.

AFSCME has set up a special account for the Wisconsin recalls and from that delivered $1,855,617 in monetary and in-kind contributions to “We are Wisconsin” in the last eight weeks. On July 7 alone, AFSCME sent an $800,000 monetary contribution to that Super PAC.

Six Republicans Senators, Alberta Darling, of River Hills; La Crosse’s Dan Kapanke, Robert Cowles, of Green Bay, Ripon’s Luther Olsen; Randy Hopper, of Fond du Lac and River Falls’ Sheila Harsdorf, are facing recalls. Three Democratsic Senators, Robert Wirch (Pleasant Prairie) Jim Holperin (Conover) and Dave Hansen (Green Bay) are also up for recall in the next few weeks.

For the pro-union Democratic party forces across the country, the Wisconsin state senate recalls are viewed as a symbolic counterattack against efforts to weaken Big Labor, long recognized as the driving force within the Dem party infrastructure. These groups are pouring millions of dollars into nine state legislative races this summer in an attempt to wrest control of the state senate from Republicans who recently voted to modify government unions’ bargaining powers here.


Third in series of reports by the MacIver News Service.