Candidates and Interest Groups Spent $81 Million on Recall Efforts


Candidates and interest groups spent nearly $81 million, combined, in the failed effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

The $80.9 million spent on the recall was just for the governor’s race. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Director Mike McCabe says that if you add in what was spent on state Senate recalls this summer and last, the total jumps to nearly $138 million. “We saw spending and fundraising records galore fall in these state Senate recall elections in 2011, and of course fundraising and spending records again set in the governor’s race, too. So money screamed in these elections.”

The leading spender was Walker himself, who poured roughly $36 million dollars into his recall victory. The next biggest spender on the Republican side was the Republican Governor’s Association, which spent $9.5 million.

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On the Democratic side, the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund led the way, spending $5.3 million attacking Walker. The number two spender was Wisconsin for Falk, a labor-funded group that spent $4 million on Kathleen Falk’s unsuccessful primary bid.

McCabe said other groups were able to hide their spending, leaving the Democracy Campaign to estimate. “Even some of the groups that disclose their spending don’t have to reveal their actual donors. So we’ve got an awful lot of dark money that’s flowing into these elections.”

According to the Democracy Campaign, Walker and Republican groups outspent Democrats $58.7 million to $22 million.