Wisconsin

The Baldwin Hypocrisy, Part I: “Dark Money”

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Editors Note: Media Trackers will be running a series of articles highlighting hypocritical positions taken by Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Part I focuses on Baldwin’s hypocrisy concerning “dark money.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin recently celebrated her endorsement from “End Citizens United last week:

So, who is “End Citizens United?”

IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK.

Established March 1st, 2015, End Citizens United is a Political Action Committee funded by grassroots donors. We are dedicated to countering the disastrous effects of Citizens United and reforming our campaign finance system.

 

OUR MISSION

To combat Big Money in politics and dismantle our rigged political system by electing campaign finance reform champions and passing state ballot measures. These champions will work toward overturning Citizens United, ending unlimited money in politics, and ending dark money.

It’s notable that ECU’s mission statement includes ending dark money. Because Baldwin is no stranger to it. As Media Trackers previously reported, Baldwin last month was one of the featured guests at a reception in Washington, D.C. sponsored by “Give Green.”

Baldwin was billed as one of Give Green’s newest champions and is billed as a “featured candidate” to receive contributions on the group’s website. So what is Give Green? It’s an money raising effort for pro-environmental candidates funded by the League of Conservation Voters, which has been described as a “dark money heavyweight” by the Center for Public Integrity:

The liberal League of Conservation Voters is fast becoming one of the nation’s strongest “dark money” forces — a realm conservative groups have typically dominated.

 

New documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity show the nonprofit League of Conservation Voters spent a record $36 million in 2012, of which more than 40 percent — nearly $15 million — came in the form of “direct and indirect political campaign activities.”

 

That’s up from about 25 percent in both 2010, when congressional midterm elections were held, and 2008, the last year when control of both Congress and the White House was at stake.

Baldwin’s fellow Democrat, former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, drew charges of hypocrisy for decrying “dark money sources,” while associating with LCV during his 2016 bid to unseat Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

Baldwin last cycle received nearly $10,000 from the LCV in donations. That was in addition to the nearly $400,000 LCV spent on independent expenditures for Senator Baldwin.

Further, Baldwin used her dark money hypocrisy in an e-solicitation for dollars:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Tammy Baldwin
Subject: It’s too early for this@tammybaldwin.com>We knew Super PACs and out-of-state millionaires would spend a lot of money against me eventually.But even in this post-Citizens United landscape, I don’t think we expected “eventually” would come so soon.

A mega-donor from Illinois dropped $2 million to back one of my potential challengers who hasn’t even entered the race yet. And alt-right PACs are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to run.

I have good news, though. While the alt-right and uber-wealthy try to outspend and out-insult each other, we’re getting organized.

With only 8 hours until our midnight deadline, we need your help.

Can you help us defend against out-of-state millionaires trying to influence voters? All it takes is $5 or whatever you can afford, to help us reach our $15,000 goal.

Thank you,

Tammy

At this point, Clarke isn’t considered likely to enter the senate race.  So, Baldwin celebrates an endorsement by a group that wants to get dark money out of politics, but at the same time has a close relationship with a group that is considered a dark money heavyweight.

Alec Zimmerman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin  said: After nearly two decades in Washington, Senator Tammy Baldwin has made a habit of saying one thing and doing another,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.  “Instead of standing up for hard-working Wisconsin families, she’s too busy playing political games and appeasing liberal special interests in Washington to care.” 

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