Big Labor Pours $7 Mil. Into Recall, Likely to Exceed 2011 Spending

Just released campaign finance documents show Big Labor both inside and outside of Wisconsin pouring just over $7 million into the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and four GOP state senators. In the 2011 recall campaign combined total spending by unions and progressive groups reached $14.7 million, or just over twice what labor unions alone have managed to raise or spend in what is the opening round of the effort to knock out Governor Walker less than two years into his term.


Much of this pre-primary spending, disclosed in reports that ended April 30, went to promoting Democrat gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk and a bevy of attack ads aimed at Governor Walker. Tom Barrett, considered the favorite of Democrat Party insiders in the May 8th recall primary, directly benefited from only a fraction of labor spending.

Because it is still unclear as to which Democrat will be facing off against Walker in a general election set for June 5th, it does appear that labor groups may be holding off on releasing all of the money and manpower they can muster for the effort.

Wisconsin for Falk – an independent group promoting Falk’s campaign – has served as a conduit for millions of Big Labor dollars. AFSCME dumped $1,264,233 into them and WEAC invested an astounding $3,043,800 in the project. The money has mainly been spent on television and radio ads simultaneously bashing Walker and touting Falk. Should Falk lose the primary it is likely that the group will be shuttered in favor of another conduit since groups like WEAC have already promised to rally behind the eventual Democrat nominee.

We Are Wisconsin, an AFL-CIO creation, has a PAC and independent expenditure fund that served as major channels for Big Labor and progressive money flowing into Wisconsin’s 2011 recall elections. For the 2012 recalls they are back in action funded in part by over $524,000 from AFSCME’s state and national accounts and $500,000 from the SEIU.


The National Education Association, according to research conducted by the John K. MacIver Institute, spent only $219,670 on Wisconsin’s 2011 recall elections. They became the first labor group to nearly triple their spending in Wisconsin in 2012 by pouring $668,457 into We Are Wisconsin’s political fund.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee has a PAC that received labor money from We Are Wisconsin. The independent expenditure arm of the Greater Wisconsin Committee took $500,000 from the Democrat Governor’s Association.

Firefighters for Mahlon, an independent group promoting Democrat lieutenant governor candidate Mahlon Mitchell, a firefighter’s union boss, netted a quarter million dollars from the International Association of Firefighters. The fund also benefited from the contributions of local firefighter’s unions from as far away as California and Oregon.

A majority of the unions contributing to Democrat Tom Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign are private sector unions.

All told, the axis of Big Labor still has $2.8 million left in cash-on-hand just over a week out from the Democrat primary. After the primary the recall election campaign will begin in earnest, as Walker becomes the sole focus the Left’s financial phalanx.


The massive movement of money from unions to PACs and independent funds will only increase with the intensity of the recall election. The cozy relationship enjoyed by Big Labor, various front groups, and the Democrat party allows them to effectively shift funds from one group to the next building the appearance that the recall effort is an entirely homegrown Wisconsin affair.

Originally published by Media Trackers.


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