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ActBlue Nationalizes Wisconsin Recalls


All six Democrats challenging Republican incumbents in Senate recall elections are major beneficiaries of ActBlue, national liberal fundraising organization. ActBlue, founded in 2004, bills itself as a committee that allows liberal Democratic candidates to leverage a national grassroots donor base that wants to get involved in key elections. Candidates who would otherwise be confined to raising money from traditional sources are – with the help of ActBlue – able to reap huge sums of money from a national pool of thousands of liberal donors.

In this case, that sum is $568,045. ActBlue has removed some of the local accountability inherent in state level fundraising by building a platform that funnels out-of-state money into state elections. The Boston Globe reported in 2007 that ActBlue’s founders are seeking to “‘nationalize’ local races,” with their group. To date, they have raised over $170 million for liberal Democratic candidates.

Recent campaign finance reports by the six Democratic challenger candidates illustrate just how successful the left has been at using ActBlue to pour hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars into Wisconsin. As an important left-wing fundraising mechanism, ActBlue supports its operations with a 1% fee from all contributions, as well as requests for support from donors and Democratic campaigns. So, in addition to raising a massive amount of out-of-state money for Wisconsin’s Democratic senate recall candidates, ActBlue has benefited by receiving thousands of dollars in payments from these campaigns. The following is an accounting of all the money, most of it out-of-state, that ActBlue has funneled into the Democratic campaigns, and the amount of money each indebted campaign has paid ActBlue.

Candidate District ActBlue Money Received Money Paid to ActBlue
Rep. Fred Clark 14 $77,066 $2,455
Rep. Sandy Pasch 8 $89,230 $3,292
Shelly Moore 10 $97,416 $3,438
Nancy Nusbaum 2 $84,256 $3,079
Jessica King 18 $129,054 N/A
Rep. Jennifer Shilling 32 $91,023 N/A
Total: $568,045 $12,264

The bottom line is that ActBlue has as of July 11, 2011 funneled $568,045 into the campaigns of six Democratic state Senate campaigns as part of their strategy to influence state elections with out-of-state money. For voters, this means that each of these candidates is now beholden to a powerful national constituency that does not always understand the issues facing Wisconsin, nor care about which solution may be the most effective solution for the citizens of this state. Make no mistake about it, these fundraising numbers show that the recall election isn’t just something Wisconsinites are participating it, is has been nationalized by the left into a polarizing battle where one side seeks to buy a state election with outside money.

By Brian Sikma

Note: Figures above have been rounded to the nearest whole dollar and are taken from campaign finance reports and’s website.


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