Mike Browne, Deputy Director
MADISON, Wis. — In the weeks before the February 20 primary election for state Supreme Court, Mike Screnock was the beneficiary of nearly $600,000 in television ads courtesy of the state big business lobby, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. When he addresses the group at their annual meeting in Madison today, One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin wondered how he’ll say thank you.
“There are nearly 600,000 reasons Mike Screnock owes the big business special interests,” said Beilman-Dulin. “They made a huge down payment just to get him through the primary election, and it wasn’t done out of the kindness of their hearts. The question is, how does Screnock intend to thank them?”
According to information collected by One Wisconsin Now, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) were the leaders of an all out effort from Wisconsin’s right-wing political machine on behalf of Screnock. WMC dropped nearly $590,000 into a media blitz that, along with dark money outfit the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, spent over $660,000 on statewide tv and radio advertising.
In addition, Scott Walker’s Republican Party of Wisconsin, contributed at least $142,000 directly to the Screnock campaign and the National Rifle Association sent a mailing encouraging their members to support the candidate they said has “vowed” to protect their agenda.
Beilman-Dulin noted the bar for pandering to the big business lobby has been set high for Screnock by 2016 Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Bradley. In the lead up to her election, the right-wing homophobe skipped out of a court hearing to give a speech to the WMC in which she declared, “I am your public servant.”
But, Beilman-Dulin added, Screnock appears to already be well on his way. Screnock has refused to support changing the rules of the court to guide judges on when they should not participate in cases that involve parties that gave big money to their campaigns. The rules in place now were literally written by WMC in 2010.