Wisconsin Democrats call for ‘checks and balances’ on third-party advertisements

Media playback is not supported on this device Waukesha politicians back candidate in Dassault recall

Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson have called for more oversight and regulation of “outrageous” third-party group advertisements after the UK-based Super PAC spent $5m trying to recall an African-American Milwaukee mayor.

In a Facebook post, Baldwin said “This is not the first time that third party attack ads by US right wing groups have attacked Democratic candidates and candidates supporting policy we support.”

She said the Wisconsin groups that have been receiving millions in US money are “using Wisconsinites’ tax dollars and local time to promote outside agendas and attack our candidates and policies.”

Baldwin referenced a US Senate race in Mississippi and the recent case of Dunder Mifflin Farm Supply v. King, which involved the use of outside organizations. The US Supreme Court decided that state laws requiring disclosure were burdensome to independent groups.

“We need to stop allowing outside groups to abuse this loophole and instead protect Wisconsinites from the outrageous out of state groups spending their tax dollars and local time to attack our candidates and policies,” she said.

Johnson’s message was more general, calling for the “ineffective lack of oversight” which allows right-wing groups to target Senate candidates, and specifically Baldwin, in ads that only have Wisconsin candidates listed as talking points.

He said the groups could have avoided being “targeted by outside groups, which exploit the loophole to attack Democratic candidates and candidates supporting our policies.”

The Wisconsin Democratic Party said Tuesday that the group Action Directions is based in the UK, and uses Wisconsin as a mailing address, but said it has nothing to do with inside groups attempting to influence Wisconsin elections.

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