JAS Cited on Wisconsin Election Spending; ‘Dark Money’ a Force

Justice Bradley and Gov. Walker
Justice Bradley and Gov. Walker

Wrapping up this week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the Associated Press relied on an analysis by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice to report that candidates and outside groups spent at least $4.3 million in the race.

Incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley, who earlier was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to fill a vacancy on the court, won election over Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg for a full term on the court. You can read details about the spending breakdown from Gavel Grab.

A blog of The American Prospect, meanwhile, reported that “dark money groups poured more than $2 million into the race.” It continued, “The dark money-fueled ad war gave the race an ugly undertone. The lion’s share of outside spending came from the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, a conservative group with ties to Walker and the Koch brothers that has been at the center of many controversial state political battles in recent years.”

Nor is Wisconsin alone, The American Prospect noted: “Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election is just the latest example of a troubling trend for fair courts advocates. Outside spending has soared in the years since the Citizens United ruling, and conservative political networks are targeting the courts in states where judges are elected in the hopes of adding more conservative judges. Much of that outside spending comes from nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups that don’t have to disclose their donors.” The article was titled, “Dark Money Was the Real Winner in Wisconsin.”