How Conservatives Took Over Wisconsin

July 3, 2015

Wisconsin’s current political landscape looks wildly different than it did just a few years ago. Long a state with reliably Democratic leanings, everything changed in 2010 when conservative outside groups helped flip the state legislature and governor’s office from blue to red.

Led by Governor Scott Walker, the state’s new Republican leadership quickly set about imposing its extreme conservative agenda. They introduced an assault on collective bargaining rights that effectively cut public workers’ pay and destroyed their ability to negotiate over health coverage, safety, or sick leave. The severity of the bill prompted impassioned protests centered around the state capitol and forced Republican lawmakers to use underhanded measures to pass it without a single Democrat. Although a judge initially blocked the law because of the Republican tactics, it was reinstated by the state Supreme Court, which had maintained a conservative majority thanks to a narrowly re-elected justice whose campaign got significant […]

NEW REPORT: “The Kochs Spend Tons of Cheddar Badgering America’s Dairyland”

April 27, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

CONTACT
Dawn Le, 202-549-6798, dle@americanbridge.org

The Kochs Have Spent At Least $44 Million to Hijack Wisconsin
Bridge Project Releases “The Kochs Spend Tons of Cheddar Badgering America’s Dairyland” about the Koch Brothers’ Corporate Lobbying and Political Front Groups in Their Effort to Maximize Profits

Milwaukee, WI—For the 2016 election cycle, Charles and David Koch have announced they are on track to spend nearly $900 million to elect politicians that would push their self-serving agenda. In Wisconsin, the Koch brothers have spent more than $44 million since 2010, helping to foster the rise of Gov. Scott Walker, Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Ron Johnson, and to fund political astroturf groups to carry their water.

“What the Kochs are doing in Wisconsin is emblematic of what they’re doing across the country, all their political efforts and PR shams boil down to self-interest and higher profit shares,” said Eddie Vale, the […]

Kochs Launch Ad Campaign Propping Up Vulnerable Ron Johnson

April 4, 2016

Further cementing their relationship, the Koch brothers are launching new air cover for Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. Johnson has long been a reliable puppet for Americans for Prosperity and the Kochs–he even credited AFP with being responsible for his decision to run for Senate. 

While the ad touts Johnson’s “Vision for Wisconsin,” it’s clear that the Kochs aren’t concerned with what’s right for Wisconsin, only their bottom line and maintaining a reliable voice in the Senate. The Kochs so value Sen. Johnson that the whole family gave the maximum personal contributions to his campaign.  

Background:

New York Times Political Correspondent Nicholas Confessore: Sen. Ron Johnson Credited Americans For Prosperity With His Decision To Run For Senate. According to a blog post by New York Times Political Correspondent Nicholas Confessore, “The reception, where Mr. Koch was honored with an award, marked the growing influence of the Tea Party-linked group within a Republican Party […]

Kochs Dump $23.4 Million into Wisconsin Politics

April 1, 2016

Though this weekend all eyes may be on Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary election, Wisconsin politics have been in the sights of the Koch brothers for some time.

From discovering a “rising star” in Gov. Scott Walker to their strong support for current Speaker of the U.S. House, Paul Ryan, Charles and David Koch have spent at least $23 million since 2010 buying their way into the Badger State to advance an agenda that is far from “Wisconsin nice.”

As governor, Scott Walker worked hard for his patrons, making teachers, social workers, and snow plow operators his Public Enemy #1. He slashed funding for senior centers, food banks, public schools, and universities, while at the same time gave tax breaks for the wealthiest and rewrote laws to help his corporate friends get off the hook. Walker was such a promising political investment for the Kochs that they had hoped to back him all the way to the White […]

With Liberty And Justice For All Koch Cronies, Especially Scott Walker

July 16, 2015

Conservative groups in Wisconsin really got all $7.8 million of their money’s worth with today’s ruling in the Scott Walker probe. All four of the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of Walker, thereby ending the John Doe investigation into Walker’s recall campaign, received millions of dollars from Koch brothers-connected groups that were also being investigated. Wisconsin Club for Growth donated $2.76 million and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent $5.56 million to buy favor, culminating in today’s vote. The final vote was 4-2.

Both John Doe investigations threaten to wreak havoc on Walker’s campaign — John Doe 1 resulted in six convictions over wrongdoing in Walker’s Milwaukee County Executive office and John Doe 2 was mired in shady backroom deals and potential illegal coordination. The bipartisan prosecutors even asked for the four bought-and-paid-for judges to recuse themselves, but none did. For more from American Bridge on Walker’s investigations, click here.

Walker has already had […]

Koch Candidates Unmask the Billionaires’ Charade for Criminal Justice Reform

June 2, 2015

Another Koch lackey is exposing the thinly veiled truth about the Koch outcry for criminal justice reform: The campaign is a PR stunt to rehabilitate the Koch brand. Despite their promises to help reform the criminal justice system, the hypocritical billionaire brothers continue to back candidates who spin the cycle of mass incarceration. Recently, Maryland Governor — and Koch pawn — Larry Hogan vetoed six pieces of major criminal justice reform legislation, according to the Intercept. Hogan’s vetoes of a so-called Koch priority reaffirms that criminal justice reform is merely a sham campaign by the Koch brothers.  

The Kochs have been candid about creating a “do-gooder” image that helps their bottom line. In a March profile, Koch Industries’ marketing executive, Steve Lombardo, admitted the initiative was “a key part of the strategy to deflate the negative narrative around the Kochs.”  Now that the Kochs are being branded as out-of-touch oil […]

Kochs Continue War on Workers by Lobbying to Repeal Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage

April 2, 2015

Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is joining forces with other anti-worker organizations to lobby the Wisconsin state legislature in hopes of ending the state’s prevailing wage. The prevailing wage creates an even playing field for workers on local and state public works and constructions projects. Republican lawmakers are citing a study funded by a trade association called Associated Builder and Contractors (ABC) to argue that the prevailing wage is unnecessarily adding to the cost of such projects.

However, the study seems to be deeply flawed; one economics professor even called it “a mirage.” If AFP and its cronies are successful in ending the prevailing wage it could drive workers away from the state.

 

State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said, “Repealing prevailing wage would be another huge hit against the middle class and small businesses in Wisconsin. Over the last decade, Wisconsin has been the worst state in the nation for […]

Koch carbon takes over downtown Green Bay

March 27, 2015

A Koch Industries subsidiary, C. Reiss Coal, is wreaking havoc in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The mineral transport company produces enormous coal piles that have monopolized part of the downtown waterfront for over ten years. A Wisconsin county commissioner is pushing for a study to measure the potentially deleterious health effects of the dust buildup that has become menace to the facility’s neighbors.

Green Bay Mayor, Jim Schmitt, said, “We thought maybe they’d get out of this business, but they’re committed to (it) … I would like nothing more for them to self-relocate (but at a cost of) of at least $20 million, it’s not going to happen in the next four years.”

Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for the facility said they have no plans to move the piles.

This is not the first time Koch Industries has jeopardized the health of it’s neighbors. Over […]

AFP & Walker teaming up again to attack workers’ rights in Wisconsin

February 27, 2015

Another day, another Governor Scott Walker and Koch brothers’ scheme to further their extreme agenda and harm working families in the Badger State. This week, the Wisconsin state legislature is ramming through legislation that would make the state a right-to-work state, a measure that will pass both chambers and that Governor Walker has pledged to sign into law.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the bill is taken word-for-word from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that counts Koch Industries as a key member. This is not the first time Governor Walker has pushed legislation from the Koch-funded group. Governor Walker has used his governorship to sign a litany of ALEC bills into law, including anti-consumer tort reform provisions, restrictive voter ID laws, voucher and virtual school expansions, the privatization of the state’s economic development functions, and more. Now that the ALEC-inspired right-to-work legislation is before the Wisconsin legislature, the Kochs’ political arm, […]

New Walker Appointee Teamed Up With AFP To Support Solar Energy Cost Hikes

February 19, 2015

This week, Bloomberg Politics dubbed Scott Walker the “King of Kochworld.” The article chronicled his deep and long-established ties to the Koch brothers’ network and their support for the ultra-conservative makeover he’s given the state of Wisconsin. It’s a love affair that could pay big dividends for Walker, as he looks to become the beneficiary of a large chunk of the eye-popping $889 million they’ve promised to spend this cycle.

Well, Walker is living up to his regal title. This week, his administration announced a number positional of shakeups, including the appointment of a gentleman named Scott Neitzel to run Wisconsin’s Department of Administration. According to the Wisconsin DOA website, their ultimate goal is to “offer Wisconsin residents the most efficient, highest-quality state government services possible.”

But in Neitzel’s previous role, as an executive at Madison Gas and Electric, he was hardly fighting for his new constituents. Instead, Madison Gas and Electric was teaming up with Americans For Prosperity, fighting to protect profits for Big Oil and petrochemical companies like Koch Industries at the expense of solar energy users. The coalition was pushing for legislation to hike fees and increase regulations on customers who produced their own solar power.

From personnel moves to policy pushes, Scott Walker’s motives are clear — the only constituents he’s looking out for are the ones he reigns over in Kochworld.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation