The Wisconsin-based, right-wing website Media Trackers reached a new low on Monday when it printed a libelous story against the partner of State Rep. Mark Pocan, accusing him of sending bizarre text threats to a volunteer for Chad Lee, Pocan's opponent in his race for Congress. Although Media Trackers took down the story late in the day, the damage had been done. It was picked up by right-wing sources in Wisconsin and across the nation. The organization's "mea culpa" fails to apologize or take responsibility for its role in the smear and the outlet still has a picture of Pocan and his partner Phil Frank on the front page of its website with a note that it would "continue to follow developments in this story" -- as if there were a story to follow.
- Connor Gibson, Greenpeace
Earlier this year internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a major hub of climate change denial and right-wing extremism, were publicly leaked. The documents exposed the Heartland Institute's funders and strategies for attacking climate science, and led to a mass exodus of Heartland's corporate funders.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) "I Built My Business" astroturf bus tour started rolling through Wisconsin this week in support of Republican candidates for office. NFIB advertises itself as the nonpartisan "Voice of Small Business," but CMD's new web resource NFIBexposed.org presents a wealth of facts that challenge that assertion.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, an alumnus of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) from his time as a state legislator, received an award named after one of ALEC's founders, Paul Weyrich, in February 2012.
At a recent rally in Madison, Wisconsin, 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin had a lot to say about Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and the dire threat liberals supposedly pose to Medicare, but he failed to answer basic questions from the crowd about the funding for his own organization.
Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial "corporate bill mill" for state legislators, and their first meeting is scheduled at the Heritage Foundation headquarters. Each of those three organizations -- the RSC, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation -- were founded in 1973 by Weyrich. (Weyrich passed away in 2008.)
A communications director for Mitt Romney's campaign, Ciara Matthews, has been demoted after prohibiting reporters from asking the GOP presidential candidate questions about Todd Akin or abortion. Matthews was recently communications director for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall campaign and has long been an anti-abortion advocate -- and even wrote last year that Republicans should be speaking more about abortion.
Wisconsin's hotly-contested race to select its GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate is another battle between out-of-state Super PACs and Tea Party-associated nonprofits spending millions to convince election-weary voters to select their preferred candidate. The influx of outside spending is fueling a race to the right as candidates compete for the label of "true conservative." Here is a rundown of the groups spending big to influence Wisconsin's GOP primary.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker flew to DC over the weekend to thank the Americans For Prosperity astroturf group for its help with the Wisconsin recall. Walker headlined AFP's 2012 "Defending the American Dream" Summit two months after winning his June 5 recall battle -- with a $10 million assist from the organization that was founded and is funded and led by billionaire David Koch. (The $10 million spent by AFP was $3 million more than what was spent by Walker's opponent.)