Posted by Lisa Graves on March 29, 2011

Scott Walker at AFP ConventionMADISON -- In the midst of the controversy of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's ties to David Koch and Koch Industries, the Center for Media and Democracy has conducted an analysis of the headliners at Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) conventions in the state in the past two years. The events featured select candidates who were running for office, including gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker, Attorney General candidate J.B. Van Hollen, judicial candidate David T. Prosser, Jr., and Congressman James Sensenbrenner. The AFP events also featured an array of national speakers who have supported AFP and its "Tea Party" related activities.

Since our founding in 1994, the Center's mission has been to research and expose corporate- and CEO-funded PR activities and special interest groups, like AFP. The Center also profiles who's who at key meetings, such as David Koch's posh strategy sessions in Palm Springs and Aspen as well as at events funded by Koch and other petro-chemical industrialists trying to influence pollution policies, such as meetings of the Heartland Institute. This report on AFP Wisconsin is part of that continuing reporting on groups attempting to influence elections and public policies. Because many of the headliners were the same at both the 2009 and 2010 AFP events in the state, this article provides a guide to both of the most recent annual events.

Elected Officials Headlining AFP Wisconsin Annual Summits -- "All the Feel of a Tea Party Convention"

As noted in the Post Crescent article on last year's AFP conference in the region, "scheduled to speak are U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser." There is no written transcript of their remarks from the 2010 event, which reportedly drew 2,000 people to the gathering at a posh resort in the Wisconsin Dells. As the Post Crescent noted, people "who staged Tea Party rallies across Wisconsin" gathered for the AFP events "to discuss strategy, hear from national and state conservative leaders and office holders, and look ahead to how they can influence the 2010 elections." According to one report, AFP's annual meeting "had all the feel of a tea party convention, even though there is no such official party in Wisconsin." (A related video, "Tea Party Hits the Dells," is no longer accessible.) (CMD does not take a position for or against candidates for office.)

It is not clear how these candidates for public office, among all those running for office in the state in the past two years, were chosen to be featured by AFP, or if others were invited but could not or chose not to accept the invitation. Below are the elected officials who were listed as invited or attending, along with the year of the conference, the office each was running for and the names of other candidates who were not listed as invited or attending.

Which Candidates Headlined the AFP Summits and What Did They Say or Do There?

Scott Walker (March 2009), then serving as the Milwaukee County Executive and running for the Republican nomination to be Wisconsin Governor against former Congressman Mark Neumann and at the time potentially running against Governor Jim Doyle (who had not yet announced he would not seek a third term) or Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton (who had not announced she would not seek the governorship) or Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (who was not then running).  Walker's campaign had a booth at the event, and Walker headlined a September 2009 AFP event in Milwaukee with right-wing talk show host Michelle Malkin and others. Walker's office called the AFP event the "state's largest taxpayer tea party event," and he was the gubernatorial candidate most closely linked to the Tea Party, although that was not part of his ad campaign.  (Shortly after beginning his term, Walker announced a series of very controversial policies in the state that resulted in extensive public protests.)  

J.B. Van Hollen (March 2009 and March 2010), elected Wisconsin Attorney General in 2006 and was running for re-election in 2010; his eventual opponent, former head of the Department of Natural Resources, Scott Hassett, did not announce his intent to run for the position until August 2009.  (Since re-election, Van Hollen has worked to implement Walker's agenda throughout the labor protests in early 2011.)

David T. Prosser, Jr. (March 2009 and March 2010), appointed as Justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1998 and won a ten-year term, unopposed, in 2001; seeking re-election in 2011. In the non-partisan 2011 primary, Prosser faced Joanne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general, Marla Stephens, director of the state public defender’s appellate division, and Joel Winnig, a Madison attorney.  (Prosser and other candidates discussed Walker's budget and other matters at debates in the spring of 2011; see, for example, the interview segment with the candidates, starting at the 48 minute mark in the above audio link, that reveals their views and approach on the budget.)  Prosser and Kloppenburg advanced to the general election.

Randy Koschnick (March 2010), a county judge who ran for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2009 and lost to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (March 2009 and March 2010), elected to Congress in 1979 representing the suburban counties northeast of Milwaukee; his eventual opponent in the 2010 race was Todd Kolosso.

Paul Ryan (March 2009), elected to Congress in 1998 representing the Janesville area; his opponent in the 2010 race was John Heckenlively.  (Ryan is now leading the House activities on the federal budget and cuts in DC.)

Michelle Bachmann (March 2009), elected to Congress in 2006 representing some counties north of the twin cities; in the 2010 race she faced Tarryl Clark.  (Bachmann is the leader of the Tea Party caucus in the House and is a potential candidate for president in 2012.)

Mike Pence (March 2009), elected to Congress in 2001 in Indiana; he faced Berry Wence in the 2010 election.

Leah Vukmir (March 2010), elected to the Assembly in 2002 to the seat vacated when Walker became a county executive and was running for state senate against incumbent Jim Sullivan. At the AFP event, she served as co-presenter of the AFP "American Dream Awards," who presented the "National Award" to Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, known as "Joe the Plumber," although he is not a plumber.

Bill Kramer (March 2010), elected to the Assembly in 2006 and in 2010 ran against Dawn Caruss. At the event, he received the AFP's "State Award" for 2010, and he was also listed as a presenter at a break-out session on "Transparency & Government Accountability."

Jim Ott (March 2010), elected to the Assembly in 2006 and ran unopposed in 2010. He was also listed as a presenter on a panel titled "Global Warming -- Climate Change -- Economic Suicide."

Dr. Pam Galloway (March 2010), elected to the state Senate in 2010. She was not in the list of elected officials, but was a panelist at session titled "Hands Off My Health Care!" She ran against Jim Edming in the GOP primary and won against Russ Decker in the general election.

What Did the Elected Officials Do at the AFP Event and Who Paid for the Evening Reception?

At both the AFP 2009 and 2010 events, the schedules typically featured a morning session with the elected officials or people running for elections speaking to the crowd (few of the statements are available electronically). The officials were asked to stay for lunch, following an awards ceremony, and then afternoon strategy sessions.

A professionally-printed AFP anti health care reform signHere are some of the topics of those sessions, in addition to the global warming one noted above, in 2010: "Hands Off My Health Care!," "It's Your Vote ... Protect It!" (voter fraud), "Prosperity 101 -- Job Security through Business Prosperity," "Media Relations," "Property Rights and Coordination," "Legal Implications for Organizations," "Dude-Who Stole My Wallet," "Net Neutrality," "Taxpayer Tea Parties," "Countering Alinski's Rules" (how to counter the "center-left" movement and "create a tidal wave" of activism), "Fair Taxation for States" (presented by the MacIver Institute) "Activist and Candidate Training," and "Executive Briefing" (for "Prosperity Warriors"). It is not publicly known which sessions various candidates for office attended. In 2009, the sessions between the elected official's morning speeches and their evening reception were almost the same topics, except the agenda did not include the sessions on state tax and budget policy, Internet policy, or the wallet economics session for younger activists.

On the agenda of both the 2009 and 2010 AFP Wisconsin conferences, participants were invited to attend a closing "reception" with "Invited Candidates for Elected Office" that was "fully sponsored and hosted" by the "Wisconsin Center for Economic Prosperity" (WCEP). Despite hosting this "meet and mingle" reception for elected officials and any of the thousands of participants in the convention, WCEP is a mysterious entity with little public information about its leadership and with two post office boxes as its address and two defunct website addresses, wcep.org and prosperitywisconsin.com. On the AFP agenda, the WCEP events were listed as co-hosted by Rob Kieckhefer and Jason Kohout, two activists. AFP added a disclaimer to the notice of the reception for political candidates in 2010 stating that "the reception and corresponding activities are not sponsored or hosted by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, or the Wisconsin Prosperity Network."

Who and What Is the "Wisconsin Center for Economic Prosperity," Sponsor of the Candidate Reception?

An examination of its filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows that WCEP registered as a PAC in 2010, with P.O. Box in Wauwatosa. And, those FEC filings also showed that the holder of WCEP's checking account as of late last year is none other than Mark Block, who was the president of Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin. Those records also showed WCEP's address for the checking account managed by Block was a postal box in New Berlin that had been used by WCEP since at least 2006. A review of WCEP's state filings show that it has made small contributions to a handful of state political campaigns dating back to 2006, including Leah Vukmir. Its donation to Bill Kramer's campaign in 2008 was returned and two donations to Scott Walker in 2006 were also returned, without explanation. Its filing with the Wisconsin State Election Board list the same New Berlin address used for Block's WCEP checking account in the federal filing.

WCEP has reported to the federal government receiving fewer than $7,000 in donations in 2010, almost all of which it spent on two catered luncheons for Republican candidates at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. It reported no expenses related to its "sponsorship" of the AFP reception for candidates in 2009 (at a convention that reportedly had 2,000 participants) and nothing related to this in its quarterly report for the first quarter of 2010. Its donors have included Block and Assemblyman Jim Ott, who were both featured at the AFP event.

Notably, WCEP received four "failure to file" notices from the FEC last year, including one for the year-end report which would cover its activities in the month before the 2010 elections. WCEP's filings with the state also track the spending disclosed federally for the two candidate lunches, but disclose no expenses paid or receipts related to the AFP Wisconsin candidate reception. It is not clear what refreshments if any were provided at the evening receptions WCEP sponsored for AFP convention participants to mingle with elected offices. No spending for the reception space or any refreshments, if any, was disclosed to either federal or state regulatory bodies.

Additionally, WCEP was listed last year as one of three plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit attempting to strike down Wisconsin's "Impartial Justice Act," which provides for public financing of Supreme Court elections to protect against the politicization of the state's highest court. WCEP claimed that its constitutional rights were violated by public financing of elections, that the disclosure requirements were unconstitutional, and that its influence would be diluted if the state law's provision for additional financing are triggered by substantial spending by third parties, like itself. That case is still pending.

Corporations on the AFP Agenda -- Jockey, Wausau Homes, Kwik Trip, the Oldenburg Group, and Others

The 2010 event included a break out session called an "Executive Briefing -- Wisconsin Prosperity Network and Prosperity 101," which was open to "prosperity warriors" and "Prosperity Club Members." The following "Wisconsin Business Leaders" were also listed as convention speakers by AFP along with their corporate affiliation in 2009:

Debra Steigerwaldt Waller of Jockey International. Debra Waller is the Chairman and CEO of this famous underwear and clothing company headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In 2001, she succeeded her mother, Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt, who had served as CEO since 1978, taking over the family business that her father, Harry Wolf, Sr., owned since 1960. Waller has no record of donations to state or federal candidates; her mother was a Tommy Thompson supporter. Because the company is privately held, there is no public record of its executive compensation paid to Debra Waller, or how much it pays in federal or state taxes on its revenues. During Debra Waller's tenure, the company has been criticized for lobbying for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and then closing U.S. factories and outsourcing American manufacturing jobs to Honduras.

(For more on her speech, please see our op-ed " Is Your Underwear Undermining Your Values")

Waller also served as a Director of the Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Bank from 2004 to 2009 (M&I's PAC and its CEO and other leaders made campaign donations to Walker's campaign and others in the party; as the Center's Mary Bottari has reported, M&I is the target of a "Move Your Money" consumer response). According to annual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, as an independent member of M&I's Board of Directors, in 2005 Waller held 15,000 shares and also received a retainer of $24,000 a year, plus $1,500 per board meeting and $1,000 per committee meeting, in addition to stock awards. Waller received $45,000 cash in 2006; $124,965 in total compensation in 2007; and $112,116 in total compensation in 2008 for spending an unknown number of hours as a board member, in addition to her full-time responsibilities and undisclosed compensation as CEO of Jockey.

Waller served on M&I's "Risk Management Committee." In 2008, M&I reported that "internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2008." In September 2008, Wall Street crashed; M&I received $1,715,000,000 in the TARP bailout and it has not paid this back, according to Pro Publica. In addition to compensating its directors handsomely over the past several years, M&I has also paid its executives exorbitantly, giving its CEO an annual salary increase of $125,000 in 2008, despite the crash, although no "bonus" and less in stock than the prior year. Meanwhile, M&I has foreclosed on an untold number of homes and, while not yet paying back federal taxpayers, its execs are poised to receive multi-million dollar payouts as the bank is in the process of being sold, due to contracts from 2008.

In her remarks at the AFP conference in the spring of 2009, as she was ending her term on the M&I board (and receiving over a $100,000 in total compensation for the preceding year), Waller asserted to the Tea Partiers that if she ran her business the way the state and the government run she would be out of business or in jail. She did not discuss the compensation she received from M&I or M&I's receipt of the government bailout money at the conference.

Timothy NerenzDr. Tim Nerenz of the Oldenburg Group. The Oldenburg Group, Inc., is a military contractor with facilities in Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Hampshire; it is also involved in the mining industry and has a lighting subsidiary. Dr. Nerenz is an executive vice president at Oldenburg and previously ran for Congress as a Libertarian; he made a personal donation to Walker's gubernatorial campaign for $250. (The company's CEO, Wayne Oldenburg, was not listed as attending. He has focused most of his donations on Republican candidates for federal office, such as to Congressman Paul Ryan; he has spent over $70,000 on federal candidates and party donations, including a $25,000 donation to the RNC in 2008, plus over $20,000 to Wisconsin state candidates since 1994.)

In 2010, Dr. Nerenz was a listed speaker and the following corporate leaders were listed as speakers:

Tom Schuette of Wausau Homes. Tom owns this privately-held house construction company, along with Jay Schuette. Since the beginning of 2009 members of the Schuette family have donated $27,000 directly to Wisconsin political campaigns, $25,000 of which went to help Scott Walker become governor. The donations to Walker included a $10,000 check from Jay Schuette of Illinois. Since 1990, members of the Scheutte family associated with the Wausau construction firm have donated almost $70,000 to state candidates, but the last election cycle was their biggest yet. The Schuette family has spent about $150,000 on federal donations to parties, PACs, and candidates, primarily to the National Association of Home Builders as well as the maximum of $9,600 to Ron Johnson (by Tom).

Steve Loehr of Kwik TripSteve Loehr of Kwik Trip. Loehr is the Vice President of Operations Support for this privately-held gas station, food, and tobacco sales company, which is owned by the Don Zietlow family. The Loehr family has donated over $17,000 to Wisconsin political campaigns since 2000, including over $3500 since 2009 to Scott Walker, as well as donations to J.B. Van Hollen and to "the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate" and other candidates. Steve Loehr has contributed a relatively small amount to some Democrats and committees. Federally, Loehr has made over $20,000 in donations to PACs like the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and to the Petroleum Marketers Association, as well as to federal candidates and the Republican National Committee (RNC).

(The Zietlow family, which owns Kwik Trip, was not listed on the agenda. The Zietlows have contributed over $80,000 to Wisconsin political campaigns since 1993, including over $6,000 to Scott Walker's campaign for governor. It has also previously made some contributions to some Democrats. The Zietlows have spent over $100,000 on federal donations to PACs, parties, and candidates in the past two decades, including over $40,000 to the NACS. Kwik Trip is also listed as a "leading" contributor to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation.)

Steve Fettig of Tankcraft and Plasticraft Corp. Tankcraft is a metal fabrication firm in Darien, Wisconsin; Plasticraft is a plastic molding firm located in Alabama and Iowa. Steve Fettig is the IT manager and treasurer for the firm; the CEO is Robert Fettig, the Vice President is Daniel Fettig, and David Fettig is an engineer. Cumulatively, along with Maryellen Fettig, the Fettig family contributed almost $20,000 in the past two years to Scott Walker, out of over $40,000 on state campaigns in the past two decades, as well as over $40,000 on federal candidates and parties.

Geraldo (Jerry) Gonzalez of Gonzales, Saggio & Harlan, LLP. The Gonzales firm is a national law firm with a score of attorneys in Milwaukee. Gonzales is a name partner and founder of the firm and has received numerous honors. He, along with Josephine Gonzales, has spent over $20,000 in donations to state candidates, including over $6,000 to Walker's race for governor, along with $400 to Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. The Gonzalezes have donated over $3,000 federally, including three donations to Democrats prior to George W. Bush's election and the bulk on donations to Republican candidates or party entities. Gonzales is on the Roundy’s Foundation Board of Directors.

AFP does not disclose publicly the names of all corporations or corporate CEOs that make financial contributions to its activities, so there is no information available on whether any of these corporations or business leaders have contributed anything besides their time to advance AFP's agenda.

Right-Wing Leaders and AFP

In addition to these public officials and business executives at the 2009 or 2010 event, the AFP Wisconsin events also featured right-wing glitterati:

Tim Phillips of AFPTim Phillips (2009 and 2010). Phillips is the President of AFP nationally (not in attendance was David Koch, the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of AFP). Phillips previously co-founded "Century Strategies" with Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. That group's clients included Bush for President, the Georgia, Florida and Virginia Republican Parties, members of Congress including Majority Leader Dick Armey (Armey left his post as Speaker of the House to lead FreedomWorks, another group whose genesis stems from Koch-funding and which is actively supported the Tea Party; in the aftermath of the vote to strip Wisconsin state workers of their rights, Armey sent a note to followers exclaiming "We won in Wisconsin"). (Other national AFP staff who work with Phillips were also listed as speakers.)

Mark Block (2009 and 2010). Block was then the state director of AFP. He left at the end of 2010 to run talk show host Herman Cain's effort to get the Republican nomination for president in 2012). Back in 2001, Block was the campaign manager for Supreme Court Justice Jon Wilcox and settled a lawsuit filed by the state election board for $15,000. As part of that lawsuit, Block acknowledged that the board "may be able to prove" election violations if the case went to trial; the board had "accused Wilcox's campaign of coordinating an undisclosed campaign effort worth some $200,000 with an outside group," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Other AFP Wisconsin staffers who work with Block were also listed as speakers.)

Grover Norquist (2009 and 2010). He is the head of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). Norquist infamously said "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." ATR has received donations from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is part of the Koch Family Foundations. Its corporate and CEO donations are not fully disclosed to the public.

Paul Driessen (2009 and 2010). Driessen is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (an anti-climate change legislation group which has received funding from Chevron, Exxon and the Scaife family, but which does not fully disclose its corporate or CEO funders) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (a group with a similar agenda, which has received funding from ExxonMobil but which does not fully disclose the corporations or CEOs that have funded its work).

Eric O'Keefe of the Sam Adams AllianceEric O'Keefe (2009 and 2010). O'Keefe is the founder of the Sam Adams Alliance, which has profiled the Tea Party and attacked health care reform; he also helped launch the American Majority group to train people to run for office. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and previously worked for the Koch-funded Citizens for a Sound Economy, among other roles.

Jay Verhulst (2009 and 2010). Verhulst has been listed previously as a rep of AFP Wisconsin, as of 2008, but is now the leader of the newly created Foundation for Common Sense, Inc. FOCS' funding sources are not known.

Lonny Leitner (2009 and 2010). Leitner has served as a regional director of American Majority, a group that was founded in 2008 to train candidates and activists and joined the group at its founding. He previously worked on campaigns for Republican candidates, such as working as a field director for Bush-Cheney 2004. His group's funding sources are not known.

Don Parmeter (2010). Parmeter is the Executive Director of the American Environmental Institute, which was created in 2010. He is the co-chair of the National Water & Conservation Alliance, and he is an opponent of the federal government's expanded authority under the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act and of the Clean Water Restoration Act. The Institute's funding sources are not known.

Right-Wing Media and AFP

Additionally, the following columnists, reporters, talk shows hosts or frequent talk show guests were listed as speakers at the AFP event:

Stephen Moore (2009 and 2010). He sits on the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal's notoriously right-wing opinion pages. He is the former head of another right-wing group, Club for Growth, is a writer for the reactionary National Review, and is a frequent guest on FOX. He's the author of "Bullish on Bush" and a staunch proponent of the Bush tax cuts, calling on Republicans to "starve the beast" of government.

John Fund (2009 and 2010). Fund formerly sat on the Wall Street Journal's editorial board and now works as columnist for the Wall Street Journal and for the right-wing American Spectator. He collaborated with Rush Limbaugh on the book The Way Things Ought to Be.

Lord Christopher Monckton (2009 and 2010). Monckton is a columnist and former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who has been a leader in efforts to fight legislation related to global climate change.

Patrick McIlheran (2009 and 2010). He is a columnist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on a panel on "Media Relations 101"). His blog is called "Right On" and he describes himself as "generally a right-wing guy." At the 2010 convention, McIlheran was given the "Media Award" by AFP.

Brett Healy (2010). Healy is the president of The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, which was founded in 2009 and is funded in part by the Bradley Foundation. Its board of directors has included AFP's Mark Block. This think tank and media outlet has produced numerous articles that support Walker's views.

Additionally, the following right-wing radio talkers were on the list of speakers: Herman Cain (2009 and 2010); James T. Harris, WTMJ (2009); Vicki McKenna, WISN/WIBA (2009); Brian Schimming, WIBA; Sue Jeffers, KTLK (2009); and Pat Snyder, WSAU (2010). In addition, Niger Innis who speaks frequently and serves as the national spokesman of the Congress of Racial Equality -- which his father Roy has chaired since 1968 -- spoke at the AFP event. Also speaking at the event was Sheila Weinberg, a frequent talk show guest and the CEO of The Institute for Truth in Accounting, which she founded in 2002.

Frequent Tea Party Speakers and AFP

Linda Hansen. She is the leader of the Wisconsin Prosperity Network, which is closely associated with AFP.

Fred Kelly Grant. Grant is an attorney and the president of American Stewards of Liberty (formerly Stewards of the Range), as well as the author of "Justice My Ass."

Bob Basso. He is a motivational speaker whose acting as "Thomas Paine" and calling for a second American revolution has been lauded by Tea Party activists.

Others attending in 2009 or 2010 include Regina Kolbow, Jolene Churchill, Maggie Delaporte of Women Patriots of Wisconsin as well as Ardia Cerny and Mary Ann Hanson of the Wisconsin Federation of Republic Women, Tim Dake of the Grandsons of Liberty, Oriannah Paul of the Sheboygan Tea Party; and, Meg Ellefson, Wausau Tea Party. Dorothy Feder of the Eagle Forum was also listed in the 2010 program.

Doctors and the AFP Agenda

In addition, the 2010 event featured the following doctors speaking on a panel against the federal health insurance reform legislation, titled "Hands Off My Health Care!"

Dr. David Gratzer. Dr. Gratzer writes articles and does media at the Manhattan Institute, which has received over a million dollars from the Kochs.

Dr. Pam Galloway. At the time of the AFP conference, Dr. Galloway worked primarily as a specialist in treating breast cancer in Wausau, Wisconsin, and was the Chair of the Marathon Republican Party; she has since been elected to the state Senate. She is a Member of Right to Life and the National Federation of Independent Businesses and an opponent of the federal "Affordable Care Act." She has contributed over $70,000 to state candidates, including over $45,000 to her campaign for the Senate and $2500 to Walker, in addition to over $7000 in federal donations to party entities or candidates. There is no video of her statements at the AFP conference but the John Birch Society has a featured video interview of her views on health care. As of 2008, Dr. Galloway was listed as a member of the AFP Wisconsin advisory board on its "Legislative Report Card."

Dr. Christopher MagieraDr. Chris Magiera. Dr. Magiera practices gastroenterology and internal medicine in Wausau; he is a member of the Health Care Access and Finance Council of the Wisconsin Medical Society and of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Magiera also serves on the Wisconsin Board of Advisors of AFP for its "FightBackWisconsin.com" effort. He has donated over $38,000 to Wisconsin candidates, including to Dr. Galloway and Walker, as well as over $29,000 federally to candidates and the Republican Party of Wisconsin. There is no video available of his remarks at the AFP event. In 2007, WMC urged members to get involved in a state event organized by Dr. Magiera and Mark Block of AFP against state efforts to reform health care provided by the state.

Dr. Joshua Block. There is no information available about him, although he was listed as affiliated with AFP at Tea Party events.

The Next AFP Wisconsin Defending the American Dream Summit

Curiously, no fourth annual AFP Wisconsin summit has been publicized. The past two events took place in March, but there is no information on what was billed as the "4th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit" for AFP Wisconsin provided on the organization's campaign website: http://www.fightbackwisconsin.com/Events.php.

Had it occurred in sync with the previous two events it would have been held right in the midst of the Wisconsin labor protests that have rocked the state with hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents protesting the policies of new Governor Scott Walker. Walker, who attended the 2009 AFP Wisconsin conference and other AFP-related Tea Party events during his run for office, has proposed a number of policies that bear some resemblance to the agenda of AFP. As the Center has reported previously, Walker's campaign was directly supported by Koch Industries' PAC and groups funded by David Koch -- such as the Republican Governors Association and other entities -- ran expensive "issue" ad campaigns in the run up to the 2010 elections.


Lisa Graves is Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the publisher of PRWatch.org, SourceWatch.org, and BanksterUSA.org. She formerly served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice, as Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts.

Comments

Great job, Lisa, on the AFP conventions and who attended them! Jawdropping. This needs to be publicized. Maybe someone at prwatch could email this article to Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC? And radio personalities like Thom Hartman? And Free Speech TV?

Keep up the good work.

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