MADISON — The battle for Green Bay has gotten a lot more expensive — and a lot more desperate.
Liberal PAC money is rolling into the “WI-5” city in the form of ads, mailers and other messaging campaigns in a furious effort to protect left-leaning city council incumbents and candidates Ten seats are up for grabs in Tuesday’s election, and so is the direction of Wisconsin’s third-largest city — led by an unpopular left-wing mayor deeply connected to the 2020 election scandal.
“This election is crazy critical, where the conservatives are trying to get election integrity back from a partisan party that’s running Green Bay right now,” said Matt Roeser, a poll watcher and grassroots activist in Green Bay’s conservative politics.
City council elections don’t usually get a lot of national attention. Green Bay is different, for many reasons.
According to the latest campaign finance records the Open Democracy PAC, a national hybrid PAC, has dumped at least $97,000 into the city council race. The money has gone into digital ads in support of liberal candidates friendly to Mayor Eric Genrich’s liberal agenda. In all, Open Democracy has spent $224,325.75 on Wisconsin local elections in the last week, according to the state finance system.
The Washington, D.C.-based Open Democracy PAC is part of the liberal voting activist movement vigorously pitted against voter integrity laws. It was created to “build pro-voter majorities from the ground up and ensure that candidates champion voter access once they reach office.”
Advisory board members include, Marc Elias, former chair of Perkins Coie’s Political Law Group, the same law firm that brought American politics the sleazy and bogus Russian “dossier.” The scandalous opposition research, paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the National Democratic Committee, was used to attack candidate, and then-president, Donald Trump. Elias is also known as the Democratic Party’s political “fixer.” *See U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and others.
As Open Secrets reported, Open Democracy received $150,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund. “The liberal dark money behemoth poured more than $57 million into liberal political groups during the 2020 election cycle.”
Environmental activist PAC Wisconsin Conservation Voters Independent Expenditures Committee has dropped at least $112,000 on Green Bay and Brown County races, according to the state campaign finance database.
Restoration PAC, a conservative Super PAC, also has entered the fray. On Tuesday, it dropped an ad in the Green Bay market highlighting “the unprecedented hijacking of the 2020 election by outside Mark Zuckerberg money and Democrat operatives.”
“This shameful abdication of responsibility by the Green Bay mayor and city council is unprecedented in American history and requires accountability,” Restoration PAC Founder and President Doug Truax said. “We aren’t going to let it slide.”
There’s much at stake in Green Bay. Sources say Wisconsin’s spring elections are a “test run” for the all-important mid-term elections in November, a Wisconsin ballot that includes a U.S. Senate race and an election for governor. Roeser said conservatives have an opportunity to take five council seats and turn the majority, a frightening prospect for a liberal mayor whose friendly council has protected him from broader scrutiny and accountability.
Roeser said a lot of voters are furious with the way Mayor Eric Genrich, his former top aide turned city clerk and city officials handled the hotly contested 2020 presidential election.
Emails and other documents show the city allowed a long-time Democratic operative to infiltrate the clerk’s office in the lead up to Election Day. The activist was part of a network of liberal groups under the umbrella of Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life. CTCL pumped out hundreds of millions of dollars in “safe elections” grants, funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, mainly to Democrat-heavy cities in battleground states like Wisconsin. Green Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Kenosha were the so-called “WI-5” that signed contracts with CTCL and received the lion’s share of the Wisconsin grants in return for following CTCL’s demands.
Genrich’s allies on the city council tried to whitewash the election problems and questions with a hasty resolution asserting the the city’s conduct was above reproach. That didn’t sit well.
“A lot of people do not trust Green Bay running an election,” Roeser said. “We’re trying to get back a reasonable city council because this fall is a big election. If people around the country can’t rely on Green Bay to run a fair election how can the fall election be looked at as fair.”
“That’s why there’s so much money and desperation coming in right now,” Roeser said of the liberal political action cash flooding Green Bay.