Wisconsin Club for Growth engages in express advocacy in email against Happ

As I’ve mentioned here before, a number of years ago some anonymous hater, whose soul must be a pit of dark matter as dense as a collapsed star, signed me up for weekly emails from the Wisconsin Club for Growth. Most of the time, I just ignore them, as their constant stream of “global warming is a hoax” and “stupid liberals want to tax you to death” gets old.

But today, I read this, and it caught me short:

It’s because Democrats across the board have embraced this approach to seeking office that their defeat is now necessary everywhere. Wherever they win, they will begin turning the system of government itself into an engine of chaos.

Little indication of this is likely to come from the Democrats’ nominee in Wisconsin’s race for Attorney General. This month’s primary eliminated the two most blatant of the Democrat contenders, leaving Republican Brad Schimel the task of defeating the one best suited to conceal any intention of toeing the line for her party’s unhinged base.  …

If you doubt that Susan Happ would stage a repeat performance, you’re overlooking the most important aspect of her candidacy. With all due respect, It isn’t Susan Happ, it’s who wants her to hold the office.

Most of this is worth ignoring, of course–“Democrats unhinged blah blah blah” is hardly breaking new ground in wingnut prose.

But it caught me short because the Wisconsin Club for Growth has spent the last six months insisting that they do not do express advocacy. That is, they never say “vote for” or “vote against” any particular candidate. Because they are a 501c4 (an aide to Governor Scott Walker actually called them “your 501c4“) non-profit “social welfare organization,” they are not allowed to engage in anything beyond “issue advocacy.” Something like, “Call Susan Happ and tell her she’s a meanie!” But that’s as far as they can go.

And their entire defense against the “John Doe” investigation into the alleged illegal coordination between the Wisconsin Club for Growth and the Walker campaign is that WCfG never said “vote for Walker” or “vote against Barrett.” That they only do issue advocacy, they claim, means there’s simply no way they could be coordinating with a candidate’s campaign.

But look at what WCfG have here: They open with a clear call to defeat Democrats in elections (“defeat is now necessary”). Then they name a specific Democrat in a race and her Republican opponent.

While they do not say the magic words of  “vote against Happ,” there is no other way to read this email message than “vote against Happ.” Democrats must be defeated, she’s a Democrat …

I hope to see complaints filed on this one. No, this isn’t going to be the thing that puts WCfG’s Eric O’Keefe in jail (a boy can dream!), but there has to be some kind of accountability. These people can’t be allowed to swear up and down they don’t do express advocacy and then do it in their very next email.


In case you don't believe me, a screen shot of the whole section of this week's email pretty expressly advocating a defeat of Susan Happ.
In case you don’t believe me, a screen shot of the whole section of this week’s email pretty expressly advocating a defeat of Susan Happ.

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4 thoughts on “Wisconsin Club for Growth engages in express advocacy in email against Happ

  1. If you have the original e-mail the GAB is interested in looking at it. They request that the item be sent to them at gab.wi.gov to see if it crosses any legal lines.

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