One Wisconsin Now
One Wisconsin Now (OWN) is a liberal attack group that masquerades as a benevolent, non-partisan “watchdog” organization. Labeled by the MacIver Institute as “the court jester of the liberal movement,” One Wisconsin Now is nothing more than a labor union-funded front group that advocates for the extremes of liberal politics. The organization has even taken to questionable election campaign tactics during the highly partisan recall attempt of Republican Governor Scott Walker.
Voter Fraud by Another Name
Governor Scott Walker became public enemy number one for Wisconsin unions after he pushed for and signed legislation severely limiting the power of public sector unions in 2011. The attempt to recall Walker (and several Republican members of the legislature) thrust Wisconsin into the national spotlight. The well-funded effort to oust him from office was led by Democrats; to trigger a recall election, Democrats and their labor union allies had to obtain 540,208 signatures from “qualified electors.” Gov. Walker and his staff then had only 10 days to verify that that the hundreds of thousands of petition signers were actually valid.
Obtaining nearly half a million signatures is no easy feat – unless of course you exploit loopholes in state election law. Enter One Wisconsin Now and its highly disingenuous tactics.
OWN sought to bolster the number of petition signatures (thus making Walker’s task more cumbersome) by seemingly encouraging individuals to sign multiple times: The group wrote and promoted the fact that “You can circulate or sign a recall petition even if you have already signed another recall petition.” OWN explained that Wisconsin election law does not ban the signing of multiple recall petitions, and that even if it’s detected, there is no punishment other than disregarding the extra signatures (the original signature remains valid).
In the end, anti-Walker groups gathered more than 900,000 signatures, forcing a recall election that Walker would ultimately go on to win.
A Highly Partisan Attack Group
To feign impartiality, One Wisconsin Now masquerades as “non-partisan,” and misleadingly explains on its website that the group is “not affiliated with nor works with any political party. One Wisconsin Now does not endorse nor oppose candidates for political office.” That may be how the far-left organization wants to be perceived, but in practice this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Scot Ross, executive director of OWN, boldly claims that “We don’t tell people how to vote,” and that “We don’t advocate for the election or defeat of any candidate.” Despite this, the group published a misnamed “Fact Sheet” on the “12 Ways Scott Walker Failed Wisconsin,” and even paid for anti-Walker banners to be flown by planes during football games.
And despite Ross’ insistence that “We don’t advocate for the election or defeat of any candidate,” Ross included a contribution page link in a blog post leading up to the Walker recall election that read “Yes, I want to recall Scott Walker.”
Since its inception in 2006, One Wisconsin Now has received more than $150,000 in contributions from labor unions, much of which came from the national headquarters of unions such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2009 alone, the AFL-CIO poured $50,000 into OWN for “political activities.”