Summer recalls targeting six Republicans and three Democrats attracted $43.9 million in spending from special interest groups and candidates, with Democrats outspending Republicans by almost $3 million, according to an analysis from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
The spending broke a number of state records for spending in legislative races. It also surpassed earlier spending predictions—Common Cause Wisconsin predicted the races might attract up to $30 million in August.
The biggest spenders were outside special interest groups. The We Are Wisconsin PAC, which is made up of unions, spent $10.7 million, edging out the conservative Club for Growth’s $9 million.
Many of the spenders, like the Club for Growth, were organized under new rules put in place by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that don’t require them to disclose where their funding comes from. The flood of open money in the state has led open government advocates to push for better disclosure requirements.
Republican candidates spent $4 million, according to the analysis, while Democrats spent slightly less.
The most expensive campaign came in Wisconsin’s 8th Senate District, where incumbent Republican Sen. Alberta Darling fought off her Democratic challenger at a total cost of $10 million.
|We Are Wisconsin PAC||$10,746,194|
|Club for Growth Wisconsin*||$9,000,000|
|Greater Wisconsin Committee**||$4,000,000|
|Citizens for a Strong America*||$1,700,000|
|American Federation for Children**||$1,300,000|
|Progressive Change Campaign Committee & Democracy for America**||$1,300,000|
|Wisconsin Family Action*||$850,000|
|Republican State Leadership Committee**||$800,000|
|Americans for Prosperity*||$800,000|
|Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce*||$700,000|
|Wisconsin Senate Democrats||$500,000|
|Wisconsin Education Association Council PAC||$499,391|
|Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee**||$400,000|
|Wisconsin WOMEN VOTE!||$264,845|
|Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin||$173,601|
|People for the American Way||$167,119|
|MoveOn.org Political Action Wisconsin Independent Expenditure Committee||$134,993|
|Jobs First Coalition*||$100,000|
|Citizen Action of Wisconsin||$90,896|
|Wisconsin State AFL – CIO*||$85,000|
|Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters||$81,499|
|Volunteers for Agriculture PAC||$79,545|
|State Government Leadership Foundation*||$50,000|
|National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund PAC||$40,411|
|Wisconsin Sierra Club Education Committee||$31,328|
|Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC||$25,000|
|Our Country Deserves Better||$25,000|
|Winnebagoland Uniserv PAC||$15,010|
|NAACP National Voter Fund||$14,990|
|Faith Family Freedom Fund||$12,365|
|Wisconsin Right to Life||$10,564|
|Voces de la Frontera Action Committee||$10,018|
|Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin Defense Fund||$3,654|
|National Federation of Independent Business SAFE Trust PAC||$2,277|
|Friends of Ann Schmidt||$253|
|Wisconsin Recall Initiative||$150|
*Phony issue ad group and estimated spending.
**Estimated phony issue ad and independent expenditure spending.