The Republican Governor’s Association has launched a television advertising campaign to defend Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in his political fight to defund and dismantle public employee unions and to take away their bargaining rights. The advertising comes as a brand new New York Times/CBS News poll shows a majority of American voters oppose any weakening of these rights by nearly two to one.
Let’s not forget who the RGA is: a major front group for a who’s who of corporate special interests. Among their 2010 donors are Texas developer Perry Homes ($8 million), Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. ($1.3 million), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($900,000), cigarette maker Altria ($1.1 million), insurance giant Blue Cross/Blue Shield ($867,000), and, of course, Koch Industries ($1.1 million). The Chamber, News Corp., and Koch have all made targeting organized labor a priority. A full list of their top 20 donors can be found at the Center for Responsive Politics website.
The RGA, which was headed last year by former lobbyist-turned-Governor Haley Barbour, spent $5 million from their corporate special interest reserves to elect Walker last year, according a press release from the organization. They haven’t yet disclosed who’s funding these ads (tip to reporters: it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?). But you can bet that last year’s corporate special interest donors want to make sure they get the return on the investments they made.