Tracking Big Labor’s Massive Investment in the Failed Wisconsin Recall

As a grown man cried on CNN and liberal pundits complained everywhere else that ‘their side’ was outspent 8 to 1 in the failed attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker, we at the MacIver Institute knew that was a demonstrably false narrative. An examination of the campaign expenditures of the candidates alone does not tell the complete story.

For months, the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy has been tracking the grassroots activities, financial contributions and independent expenditures of more than fifty state and national leftwing organizations who were active in Wisconsin in the days leading up to the June 5th election.

So far, we can track more than $23 million dollars in financial support*. MacIver News’ staff complied this graphic of Big Labor’s unprecedented spending using official reports on file with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (Totals are accurate as of 6/12/12).

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Larger view of image

These figures include direct contributions from political action committees to candidates, independent expenditure campaigns, and individual third party expenditures. The overall effort, however, is likely much larger. Member-to-member communications and issue advocacy totals are not required to be reported to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and are therefore not included in this total.

In addition, from phone banking, to get out the vote canvassing, from rallies to radio ads, MacIver’s Liberal Mobilization Matrix (click here for a larger view of the graphic at the top of this post) chronicles the paid and volunteer ‘ground game’ activities of dozens of labor, liberal and democratic party organizations.

Therefore, anyone who insinuates that the Right outspent the Left by 8 to 1 in this race, would be claiming conservatives spent more than $180 million on the race.

While we can document our findings, such claims from the Left are undocumented and baseless.

Also illegitimate is any argument that contends the Left didn’t give their all to this effort. The physical absence of President Obama has led many to make that claim, however the mobilization matrix and our earlier reporting on OFA’s efforts in Wisconsin refute such a notion.

The level of resource deployment by the Left in the recall was unprecedented in Wisconsin campaign history.

*Note, this does not include Big Labor’s spending during 2011’s Senate recalls.