CMD Asks Elections Board to Investigate Tea Party Group Supporting Walker


CONTACT: Sara Jerving,

"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."

The Center for Media and Democracy's complaint can be viewed here, and the supporting exhibits can be viewed here.

Four of the ads that CDBO says have run on Wisconsin television can be viewed below.

"America Needs More Scott Walker and Less Barack Obama!"

"Fiddling in Madison While Failing in Washington"

"We Applaud Governor Walker"

"Michael Reagan & Wisconsinites Speak out for Scott Walker"


The author listed as "PRwatch Editors" is for reports attributable to CMD's editors or guest authors.


First- there shouldn't have been a recall vote in the first place. Second- the Dems complain about the Tea Party, but say nothing about the Union involement. Third- Never did hear the Main St. media mention that Walker had gotten Wi. out of the bad debt that the state was in. Fourth- How about the chicken livered Dems that went and hid in another state instead of doing what the were elected for, they should all have been recalled. Fifth- The people voted and they like what Gov. Walker was doing for Wi. Sixth- Sometimes it takes alot of money to over come the lies that were being spread about Gov. Walker. Seventh- Thank God the good folks win every now and then. Walkers win was good over evil.

First- Whether or not you feel that is should or should not be a recall does not negate the fact that there IS a constitutional reason and right for recalls. Second- the Democrats are complaining of breaches within campaign law, not the tea Party involvement. It is that Tea Party is breaking the law. If Unions break the law they should be held accoutable as well. Thirds- Wisconsin is not out of debt and most people did see an increase in property tax accompanied by loss of municiple services and a significant number saw higher insurance costs. Fourth - Democrats left the State to foster a democratic debate as Republicans attempted to force through a bill without any significant public input. Again, also legal. Fifth- only half of Wisconsin likes what Walker is doing. He won the election, not hearts and minds. Sixth - It took a record setting millions of dollars for Walker to even compete for election. Barrett had a fraction of the money and was able to poll evenly. Check your facts. Walker and his buddies spent millions of dollars on half truthes. Seventh - Walkers was a reflection of outside interests looking to indifferently take advantage of Wisconsin's resources and working families. It was about those ignorant individual voters being sucked into the hypocrisy of the struggling working class being forced to pay more taxes, getting fewer public services and get paid less from the same greedy entities that are making millions while at the same time getting million dollar tax breaks with no acoutability for job creation. If you are the 1% you should be supporting Walker; I get that. If you are a working class family you should know that the economic advisor to Reagan that invented the "trickle down" economic fiction recanted his support for the policy that does not work, has never worked and will never work. You must be a complete working class idiot to support a economic policy where the poorest pay the most while the wealthiest pay the least and have no responbility to their fellow Americans. Where are the well-paying, family sustaining jobs? Even if he does create his promised amount of jobs, which he won't and can't reasonably be able to, the jobs are already low paying or re-located from other places in the State. Further, who is going to be able to afford the education for the expertise and technical skills to do the few high paying jobs that are being created after the drastic cuts to education. Obviously after reading the previous post there is a significant need for independent and discerning thought. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is heading down a path of self destruction that comes with the indentured servitude to corporations and decline of educated individuals.