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Posted at 2:50 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Americans for Prosperity to run ads in Wisconsin

By Greg Sargent

Here's something else that will ratchet up the stakes in the Wisconsin standoff and fuel suspicions about the real goal behind the push to roll back public employee rights: The well-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity is set to start running ads in Wisconsin, I'm told.

"We're planning to run TV and radio ads in Wisconsin starting tomorrow, as well as host a few events across the state later this week," Americans for Prosperity spokesperson Mary Ellen Burke emails. "Things are happening quickly as the news story in Wisconsin progresses."

The move by Americans for Prosperity comes after I reported this morning that unions have launched their own ad campaign in the state. While AFP has been bussing supporters into Wisconsin, a financial commitment to an air war represents a significant ratcheting up of hostilities.

The script of the ads is currently being developed; I will update you when it's available.

Americans for Prosperity, of course, was partly created and bankrolled by the secretive billionaire Koch brothers, who are also major financial backers of Governor Scott Walker. Labor and Dems argue that the Koch brothers are orchestrating the Wisconsin anti-union push. But a spokesperson for the Koch brothers gave Ben Smith a statement denying that the Koch brothers have any financial stake in the Wisconsin outcome. And in truth, there's no evidence that Walker needed to have his strings pulled by the Koch brothers to pursue his drive against the unions, something he's relished for years.

That said, the fact that Americans for Prosperity is now going up on the air in Wisconsin makes it clear that this is about something far larger than getting the state's finances under control, and underscores the degree to which this has become, for the right, a national ideological war.

By Greg Sargent  | February 22, 2011; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Labor  
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Next: The conversation is no longer about Wisconsin's finances

Comments

Greg,

They have run them already. I posted about it on Plumline about a week ago.

Now standby for my next post, which will gladden the hearts of workers every where.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Greg, My mistake. it was The Club For Growth that ran ads supporting Walker's stance, in the past couple of weeks.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Underscores the degree to which this has become, for the right, a national ideological war."

For the right? So this has nothing to do with Obama, Organizing for America, or the national unions? C'mon, Greg.

Posted by: sbj3 | February 22, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Americans for Prosperity = Koch Brothers

Koch stands to gain big $$$ from his budget which Greg overlooked.

"And in truth, there's no evidence that Walker needed to have his strings pulled by the Koch brothers to pursue his drive against the unions"

Maybe they are just running ads to blow some money there. There's a reason why they are running ads Greg, and it's not just for kicks.

Andrew Sullivan blogged on the suspected link of Walker and the Koch's.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/how-does-this-help-balance-wisconsins-budget.html

Koch could probably care less if teachers get paid less or not but since their lower wages and benefits will mean more tax $$$ going to corporate tax write off's in future years along with the possible giveaway of State energy assets, its not a huge leap of logic to link Koch to his will to get the Democrats to pass the budget which includes the huge shift in money from lower class to upper class.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

And now for The Great News:

"Poll: 61% oppose limiting union bargaining power"

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm

"The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.


The poll found that 61% would oppose a law in their state similar to one being considered in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law. "

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice, Liam, thanks

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 22, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

But Liam, what about that Rasmussen poll that Nate Silver already ripped to shreds? lol

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/rasmussen-poll-on-wisconsin-dispute-may-be-biased/

There, I just saved you right wingers from having to post the Rasmussen bias polling.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Have you forgotten the provision in the budget bill soon to be passed that is privatizing the Wisconsin utilities? I believe the Koch Brother have a stake in that little deal.

Posted by: marymataisz | February 22, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

OT:
Someone cited this link to make fun of the TEA people.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/21/AR2011022104351.html

Carol set out to poison Myrlinda who had a baby with the assistance of Carol's wandering hubby. She used the mails to send chemical laced packages. The Postal authorities caught her.

She was prosecuted in fed ct under an anti-terrorism statute that was passed to support a treaty.

Carol claims that statute is unconstitutional as applied to her because she is not a terrorist and not someone covered by the Treaty. She recognizes she committed a state crime and she argues that as applied to her, the anti-terrorist statute infringes on an area of criminal law reserved to the states - domestic crimes.

I think she will lose, ultimately, but I bet the Supremes let her re-argue her position in the Circuit. I think it would be a major loss of civil liberties if an appellant could not argue all the ways the statute under which she was charged and convicted might be unconstitutional. I would not limit her argument by saying that only a state, which had no interest in the outcome of her case, had standing to attack the validity of the fed indictment against her. This is an area where restrictive standing rules do an injustice to the person bearing the weight of a federal prosecution.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 22, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "So this has nothing to do with Obama, Organizing for America, or the national unions?"

Ah yes, the old "black man in the White House" defense.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I Am Shocked. Shocked I tell you!.
61% of Americans are so callous that they do not even care about how much pain Teachers are inflicting on our Billionaire Oligarchs.

I am shocked I tell you!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think someone needs to write the ad tying Koch to the privatization of Wis utilities and let Wisconsin voters know they are being bamboozled by American's for Prosperity and see how they like the idea of being cheated out of billions over the course of a decade to a bunch of oil Oligarchs who's daddy made his fortunes in Russia.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 22, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Someone cited this link to make fun of the TEA people."

I wasn't making fun of anyone. I was pointing out that they are busy making fools of themselves, as usual.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Ha! Tea Party is gon be PISSSSED!

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2011/02/boehner_says_house_would_seek_to_avert_shutdown.php

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Shame on The Weeping Boehner for giving in.

He must face a primary challenge from a Tea Party Candidate in 2012.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Oil at 2 1/2 year high

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/22/us-markets-oil-idUSTRE71192R20110222

Renewables NOW!

The Republican Party is single-handedly preventing America from moving towards an energy future that DECREASES our reliance on countries like Libya.

Thanks. Thanks a lot, GOP.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Qadaffi of Libya offers to die as a Martyr.

I hope that the protesters agree to take him up on his reasonable offer.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 22, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still

That poll is great. Basically there isn't a majority in favor of taking any specific steps to address the financial problems of the states, whether they are tax increases or spending cuts:

Key results:

• 71% oppose increasing sales, income or other taxes while 27% are in favor that approach.

• 53% oppose reducing pay or benefits for government workers while 44% are in favor.

• 48% opposed reducing or eliminating government programs while 47% were in favor of cuts.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm

Posted by: jnc4p | February 22, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

So this is the part I don't get. Each one of these cities, counties, states, federal gov't sat at the table and negotiated with the unions until a contract was agreed to. Everyone negotiated "in good faith" and pensions and their funding were included in the contracts. Nothing was hidden. The cities, counties, states, etc. failed to include their portion of pension funding in their budgets to the tune of billions of dollars in short falls. Now, after years of these government agencies dithering, the bill is due. AND EXACTLY HOW IS THIS THE WORKERS' FAULT? Should these governments (local, city, state, etc.) manage to default on contracts that were negotiated "in good faith" with their workers, what do you thing is next?

Posted by: mjohnson1116 | February 22, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Democracy in action, GOP style:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Public workers protesting collective bargaining reform today at the Ohio Statehouse are being denied entry into the building, according to the Ohio Democratic Party.

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/02/union_protesters_locked_out_of.html

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 22, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

You should see some of the cr@p that gets posted on the Expose Obama list about this stuff. They literally want to balance the budget yesterday. That means essentially wiping out all entitlements and all discretionary spending.

And their rants are always couched with -- "without raising taxes" (on the rich obviously)...

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad. No, actually, it is funny.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on the new USA Today poll:

http://wapo.st/heVUyN

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 22, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"That means essentially wiping out all entitlements and all discretionary spending."

Who are these people? I need to subscribe to their newsletter.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 22, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p: "Basically there isn't a majority in favor of taking any specific steps to address the financial problems of the states, whether they are tax increases or spending cuts."

That's what jumped out at me, too.

This is why we need to deal with these problems now - the sooner the better. If we wait and kick the can down the road then when we finally DO make the changes (that everyone knows are required), they will be that much more painful. I'd rather be eased into higher taxes and fewer benefits/services then have it shoved down my throat all at once. When the average Joe has to eat a shyt sandwich and public employees are enjoying outstanding benefits and pensions that he is paying for then there's gonna be heck to pay.

As Cohen writes today:

"When it comes to government workers, we are the boss and we pay the bill. To quote what Sam Spade told the woman he loved in the "The Maltese Falcon," "I won't play the sap for you." When it comes to public-sector unions, my sentiments exactly."

Posted by: sbj3 | February 22, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought - but maybe Koch or one of their friends is interested in this...

Verbatim from Wisconsin Bill 11 and the amendments made to current legisltation
OTHER STATE GOVERNMENT

Currently, this state owns and operates numerous heating, cooling, and power plants that were constructed by the state to provide heating, cooling, and power to state facilities. The Department of Administration (DOA) determines the method of operation of these plants and may delegate this authority to any other state agency that has managing authority for a plant.

This bill permits DOA to sell or contract for the operation of any such plant.

(with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. - Page 24 of Bill 11 Section 16.896 Amended)

The bill exempts such sales and contracts from the requirement for approval of the Public Service Commission (PSC) that may otherwise apply under current law.

Posted by: mndem1234 | February 22, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@NoVA: "Who are these people? I need to subscribe to their newsletter."

No you don't. They are birthers and conspiracy terrorists. You are far too smart to run with that crowd.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

No you don't. They are birthers and conspiracy terrorists. You are far too smart to run with that crowd.

ugh. birthers.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 22, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"ugh. birthers."

Yeah, the list is very scummy.

Here's a recent portion:

"""Did you know that America has a new ruling monarchy of liberal tyrants who have decided that they will feast on cake while the rest of the people suffer?

They refuse to understand that our country is broke, as they callously crush our children’s futures under their jack-booted, rampant and failed socialist policies. We have NO money and yet these people haughtily REFUSE to stop spending. It's not that those in our self-appointed ruling class are “not getting it” ... they just don’t care.

These ruling elites are shameless. One by one, these sniveling wretches of the progressive left have marched up to the podium to spread their lies... if we don't waste your money and destroy your livelihood, all hell will break loose. Wringing their hands, they tell us that they must have our hard-earned dollars."""

You get the idea. Totally unhinged from reality. You may oppose Democratic policies, and that's fine, but I've never seen you stoop to this kind of filth.

The email list is run by, and usually written by, Republican establishment propagandist Floyd Brown -- of Willie Horton infamy.

He posts plenty of birther stuff and other conspiracy junk from a variety of conservative websites, but I just pulled up that one bit from one of the recent emails, just to give you the idea of how truly pathetic it is. Floyd Brown. Total scumbag. And co-founder of Citizens United, compatriot to Jerome Corsi of WND, etc etc etc. All these birther Tea Party freaks have been in the GOP establishment for years if not decades.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 22, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

We have all heard the expression "are you helping with the solution or are you part of the problem". We have some brainless wonders out there trying to grand stand and play king of the mountain. If they were coming from their heart, even I would buy into it, but they are not coming from their heart they are coming from Koch Brother payola agenda just like back in the 60's and 70's. It won't fly, all the Sarah Palin guided voters will not bite the second time around. There are better ways to prosper than destroying the lives of the lowest of our countrymen with a pretense of practicing sound economics to help the rich get richer and pay off their cohorts while financially damaging those who work the hardest and can hardly defend themselves. After the dust settles form this debacle we will need to enact new legislating protecting the working class, the group with the most hardest, thankless jobs.

Posted by: budshi | February 22, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

All these rightwing/Libertarian orgs are coordinating an assault on the middle class all across the country! - assisted by Fox & Frightwing radio, of course.

Posted by: angie12106 | February 22, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Why are union leaders so frightened of the prospect of having to collect the union dues - instead of the state taking the dues directly out of the employee's paycheck?

Why are union leaders so worried about having their union members re-certify the union each year?

Why are union leaders trembling over the concept of giving the union workers the option of choice?

Could it be that union workers may finally have the power to hold the union bosses accountable for their political actions?

What if union workers were given the option - and they said no.

No wonder we see so many clenched fists and threats. The big bosses are worried!

Posted by: StopGovtBondage | February 22, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

WI voters need to campaign in 2012 to rid themselves of the KOCH brothers' Walker one. Also, vote as many Republicans out in 2012 as possible or the working class will continue to catch hell, unfortunately. Republicans are not for the middle class and/or low income families. Look at Boehner's so-called cut spending budget which mainly includes deep long cuts against working class - the wealthiest are untouched.

Posted by: netstoy | February 22, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that Scott Walker's no-bid loophole relating to contracts for the sale and operation of public heating, cooling and power plants has been noted on this thread (see page 24 of Wisconsin Senate Bill 11, 2011 session).

The loophole is one of the biggest giveaways since Manhattan was sold for $24. And this is supposed to be a bill to balance Wisconsin's budget?

As usual, budget balancing is done on the backs of the working stiffs. Welcome to 21st century America.

Posted by: ANetliner | February 23, 2011 12:58 AM | Report abuse

So the Americans for Prosperity group is running ads supporting Governor Walker. Big whoop. Greg himself reported yesterday that the unions had already gone on the air with ads bashing Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin. Not only that but Obama's political machine has been bussing union thugs into Wisconsin from the beginning to participate in "protests". Poor, poor little union workers getting stiffed by the man. Please!! Big labor is one of the largest sources of campaign cash for the Democratic party in the last elections. They even took out tens of millions of dollars of loans to try to defeat Republicans. And the public employee unions provide a large portion of that campaign cash. Maybe if the unions didn't blow all that money on campaigning for Democrats, as waste of money it turned out in 2010, they could use it to support the workers who's wages get reduced every paycheck to pay those union dues.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 23, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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