Corporate-backed ad campaign begins in Wisconsin

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Politico reports today that the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), backed by billionaire oil tycoons David and Charles Koch and the controversial U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is expanding its ad campaign "against Democratic state Sen. Jim Holperin and launching a media blitz against state Sen. Dave Hansen, a member of the Democratic leadership."

As we recently reported, the conservative Koch Brothers donated $60,000 to the RSLC in 2010. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization that recently came under fire for its relation to a dirty tricks smear campaign, gave $4 million to the RSLC. The RSLC spent approximately $1 million on elections in Wisconsin in the 2010 cycle.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, other top donors include:

  • Tobacco giants Altria ($1.4 million) and Reynolds American ($1.3 million),
  • Insurance company Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($1 million)
  • Karl Rove’s American Crossroads ($1.2 million)
  • AstraZeneca ($510,368)
  • AT&T ($334,846)
  • Citigroup ($201,397)

Of course, Wisconsin Republicans are no strangers to special interests. Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) may face investigation by the state ethics board regarding a call he took from someone he assumed was David Koch. As we reported yesterday, Walker’s budget includes a hand out for his big real estate industry donors. And just last week, Wisconsin Republicans traveled to Washington, D.C. to rake in campaign cash from BGR Group, a major lobby shop whose clients include health insurance interests, energy interests, and multinational corporations and foreign governments.