Leader of Koch Front Group Behind Ads for David Prosser, Walker's Ally on Wisconsin Supreme Court
As of last Friday, just three groups have spent nearly $1.4 million to keep Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) ally David Prosser on the Wisconsin Supreme Court — 40 percent more than Prosser’s opponents have spent to defeat him. Moreover, new evidence unearthed by the Center for Media and Democracy suggests that Prosser’s advantage comes from a familiar source. Nearly $400,000 of Justice Prosser’s support comes from Citizens for a Strong America (CSA), a group with close ties to the billionaire Koch brothers:
[E]ven though Citizens for a Strong America lists no staff on its website, its website name was purchased by John W. Connors of Milwaukee, who has been a leader of “Americans for Prosperity,” a right-wing group chaired by oil billionaire David Koch. On the domain registration through “Go Daddy!,” the holder of the web address listed is for Connors and the business address is listed as 1126 S 70th Street, Suite S420, in Milwaukee, along with a gmail address. … This address is the same street address as Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in Wisconsin. AFP is listed as holding offices on the second floor of that building. It is not clear how many suites in the building are leased by AFP. [...]
In other documents on the web about him, Connors’ work email address is listed as at afphq.org and he is described as involved in grassroots campaigns and marketing for AFP. He has been with AFP for a couple of years. During college, Connors interned for Walker and worked on his campaign.
CSA also shows the same kind of disregard for the truth that is typical of Koch-funded operations. Their flagship ad accused Prosser’s opponent, prosecutor JoAnne Kloppenburg, of jailing an 80 year-old farmer, and was labeled “ridiculously false” by a leading non-partisan fact-checking site.
Nor is CSA the only right-wing group fighting tooth and nail to keep Walker’s ally on the court. After Prosser allowed corporate lobbyists from an organization called Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to write the state supreme court’s “justice-for-sale” ethics rules, WMC rewarded Prosser with nearly $600,000 in corporate-funded ads. The anti-tax advocacy group Club for Growth also kicked in over $400,000 for Prosser.
Of course, none of these corporate efforts to buy a supreme court seat would have been legal just a few years ago. Wisconsin banned corporations from buying state elections in 1905, but that law effectively ceased to exist when the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of corporate campaign funds in its infamous Citizens Uniteddecision.