You Report: Election 2010

Published — October 12, 2010 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

AFSCME invests big in Wisconsin House race


AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees labor union, is spending a whopping $750,000 on a 30-second ad in Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District race — more than either candidate has spent since the start of the 2010 campaign cycle, according to AFSCME filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The union ad lambasts Republican challenger Reid Ribble for his views on Social Security. Ribble hopes to unseat incumbent Democrat Steve Kagen and has spent about $435,000 toward that effort, while his opponent has spent almost $575,000 to win a third term representing the Green Bay area, according to the latest data available from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Entitled “Wrong for Wisconsin,” the TV ad claims that Ribble would “eliminate Social Security as we know it.” To ram this point home, it plays audio of the Republican at a 2009 candidate forum saying “We have to establish a phase-out of the current Social Security system.”

Also featured in the ad is an array of senior citizens expressing their dim view of such a proposal. It closes with a grainy photo of Ribble beside black and red text: “Reid Ribble. Wrong on Social Security. Wrong for Wisconsin.”

Brandon Moody, campaign manager for Ribble, told the Center that the ad is false and noted that a similar earlier ad making the same claim about Ribble’s views on Social Security reform had been criticized by newspapers and non-partisan fact-check organizations. “The labor unions are desperate,” he said, “So they’ve doubled down on their buddy Steve Kagen’s lies with $750,000 in Washington, D.C. lies of their own. Media outlets and non-partisan groups have already proven that this ad is a blatant lie and a deliberate attempt to deceive voters and scare seniors, but the unions don’t care about the truth.”

A spokesman for AFSCME did not respond to a request for comment.

Ad Title: Wrong for Wisconsin

Paid for By: AFSCME

Cost: $750,000

Disclaimer: Paid for by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees,, which is responsible for the content of this advertising. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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