A lot more money was spent on recent elections than we thought.
Independent groups spent nearly $10 million on the fall elections, so said the Government Accountability Board back in mid-November. However, Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is now saying it was nearly twice that amount. “So in total about $19 million, not a little less than 10, but about $19 million got spent by interest groups trying to influence elections, so only about half of the spending was disclosed.”
McCabe says about 30 groups disclosed their advertising spending to GAB, but another ten groups managed to avoid disclosure of $9 million in advertising.
If the special interest groups kept it secret, how did this watchdog acquire the information? “We did everything from looking at TV ad invoices, contacting television stations all across the state, and examining the ad invoices, to poring over IRS filings…”
McCabe says there was probably more spending that even he hasn’t yet discovered. He says Wisconsin’s disclosure rules are “woefully inadequate.” The biggest spenders: the Greater Wisconsin Committee ($5.4 million), which supports Democratic candidates, and the Republican Governors Association ($5 million).