FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 14, 2012
CONTACT: Sara Jerving, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama" Spent Tens of Thousands of Dollars on Ads Backing Walker in the Recall Election, But Did Not Comply with State Election Law
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has filed a complaint requesting that Wisconsin's elections board investigate a Tea Party-affiliated group from California that spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads supporting Governor Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election, but did not register as a political committee in the state or report its funding and spending, as required by Wisconsin election law.
The complaint, filed today with Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB), identifies at least four ads run on Wisconsin television by the California-based Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama (CDBO) that clearly met the definition of "communications for a political purpose" under Wisconsin law. Any group spending over $25 on communications for a political purpose must register as a political committee and disclose its funding and spending to the public. CDBO reported to the Federal Election Commission that it spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads in Wisconsin this spring, but has not filed required disclosures with the state detailing how much it spent on ads supporting Walker, or where that money came from. CDBO also made national fundraising appeals expressly asking for donations to air pro-Walker ads on Wisconsin television.
"The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama is one of the secretive groups headquartered out-of-state that spent heavily on political ads in Wisconsin's recall election without fully disclosing to the people of Wisconsin how much they spent or who bankrolls this Tea Party-affiliated group," said Lisa Graves, CMD's Executive Director and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice. "We ask the GAB to expedite its investigation of CDBO, which also bought ads last summer in connection with the state Senate recall elections, without full disclosures to the people of Wisconsin, and may run more ads about state candidates in the months leading to the November elections." Added Brendan Fischer, CMD's Law Fellow: "We are asking the GAB to protect the integrity of Wisconsin elections and the transparency requirements in state law by holding this California group accountable for what appear to be multiple violations of Wisconsin's election statutes."
Four of the ads that CDBO says have run on Wisconsin television can be viewed below.