Final Numbers: Special Interest Spending Near $3.6 Million in Wisconsin

April 6, 2011

Non-Candidate Spending Sets New Record, Outpaces 2008 Butler-Gableman Race

Contact: Erik Opsal, 763-234-5907 (cell), 646-292-8356 (office);

New York, NY – A recount looms in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, but one thing is official — special interest groups set a new record, spending just under $3.6 million on television ads in the election, topping the previous record in Wisconsin of $3.38 million set in 2008, according to data released Wednesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

In the primary and general elections, non-candidate special interest groups spent a combined $3,581,460 on TV ads. The Greater Wisconsin Committee, which sought to defeat Justice David Prosser and elect challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg, spent an estimated $1,365,340. Four conservative groups seeking to re-elect Justice Prosser — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Citizens for a Strong America, Wisconsin Club for Growth, and the Wisconsin Tea Party Express — spent a combined $2,216,120.

The special interest group TV ad spending data were calculated and prepared by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG for the Brennan Center. CMAG captures TV satellite data in the nation’s media markets; its calculations do not reflect ad agency commissions, the costs of producing advertisements, or airtime purchased on local cable networks that are not aired by satellite. Accordingly, these estimates are conservative, and underestimate the precise actual amounts of expenditures.

For more information, visit or contact Erik Opsal at or at 646-292-8356.

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The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a nonpartisan public policy and law institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice. The Center works on issues including judicial independence, voting rights, campaign finance reform, racial justice in criminal law and presidential power in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group, the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector. For more information, visit