The $737,000 ad buy features the stark contrast between Walkers performance for his donors and his performance for the state. It highlights taxpayer money doled out to business via Walkers own creation, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), that replaced the former Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Walkers WEDC, which he appointed himself to head, is a quasi-private organization unlike the government operated Department of Commerce.
The ad in brief: Scott Walker uses Wisconsin’s job creation money to reward his political cronies. That’s how it is in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin—his friends and cronies come first, Wisconsin comes in Dead Last. It will run throughout the state, but not in Madison (they don't need reminders of Walkers failed economy there).
This is most definitely not the first outside group running ads. It's the first one that targets Walker and his dismal record. There have been plenty of media buys from groups supporting Walker and attacking his opponent, Mary Burke. Last year an anonymous group already booked over half a million dollars for an ad buy in the final weeks before the November election.
Don't worry about Walker. The Republican Governors Association recently spent over $1 million in ads attacking Mary Burke and have a $2 million ad buy scheduled starting next month.
Walker has also received help from ad campaigns over the last year by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business lobbying group, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a national conservative group largely funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.Why wouldn't they? After all, Walker has a long history of rewarding his donors.
The ad grows out of a study done by the grassroots group One Wisconsin Now which looked at Walkers WEDC and found disturbing things.
Among the key findings of the report, "W is for WEDC", are:That's right. 60% of the taxpayer dollars given to business by WEDC were to Walker donors. Small wonder Walker dumped the Department of Commerce to create and head his own private agency to funnel out taxpayer money.
•Gov. Walker received a more than $1 million direct campaign benefit and $1 million to the RGA from WEDC aid recipients, who in turn received nearly 60 percent of economic development dollars - $570 million of the $975 million distributed.
•WEDC economic development dollars are not resulting in promised job creation.
•WEDC fund recipients include companies engaged in health and safety violations, mass layoffs and conflicts of interest.
WEDC has been embroiled in scandal right from the start when it was revealed they lost track of loans they issued and didn't bother to ensure that money given out with the promise of new jobs actually led to any jobs at all. Walker dismissed those concerns, citing the troubles of a brand new agency, blah, blah, blah, and promised better oversight. When Wisconsin media lost sight of the story (it sure didn't hurt when WEDC sponsored the Milwaukee Journal Sentinels online News Watch), there wasn't much, if any, follow up.
Of course, Walker held a hasty presser in response to the ad in an attempt to debunk it. Naturally he blamed "shadowy groups" (not his OWN shadowy groups, like the ones involved with the latest John Doe Probe) and his normal boogeyman, "big gubmint unions". He ended with more attacks on Mary Burke.
Most interesting was his use of cherry picked numbers from reports he's been routinely dismissing as "unreliable" since they consistently showed Wisconsin's economy and job growth declining.
From the Journal Sentinel (link above)
Relying on those statistics is a reversal for Walker. Those monthly figures are based on a survey of a sample and can fluctuate significantly; Walker's office has dubbed quarterly figures based on an actual count of jobs as the "gold standard."Hey, it's Walker. He uses whatever numbers work for him at the time. Kudos to the media for pointing out his flip-flop.
For two years, Walker has argued against using the monthly Current Employment Statistics.
Burke seized on that shift in a statement she issued after Walker's news conference.
"This is what career politicians do — cherry pick numbers as they see fit, even if they directly contradict past commitments to use the numbers they've called 'the gold standard,'" her statement said.
LATE BREAKING JOHN DOE II NEWS:
A federal appeals court is releasing 2 dozen John Doe II documents.
A federal appeals court ordered the unsealing of two dozen documents Thursday in litigation over a now-halted secret investigation into fund raising and spending by conservative groups backing Gov. Scott Walker.It is not yet known when the document will be available since the court ruling was just issued.
The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed 10 other documents to remain fully or partially sealed.
5:47 PM Central Time: EVEN MORE NEWS:
Wisconsin Republicans are sure trying their damndest to get their Voter ID Law unstuck from its court hold. They petitioned the Appeals Court to allow their voter suppression law to do its electoral magic this November and, once again, got smacked down.
The Appeals Court will be hearing arguments September 12 and will rule on the request to reinstate the law after that.
So far, so good for voting rights in Wisconsin. But there's no guarantee so we need to stay vigilant. Republicans keep on demonstrating that they'll go to any lengths to win elections.