Another Republican Giveaway to a Controversial Nonprofit
Last week, the Republican-dominated state Assembly voted to allow the sale of “Choose Life” license plates to fund spurious crisis pregnancy centers that aim to persuade women not to even think about getting an abortion.
There’s more to the story, of course.
The conduit between license-buyers and the centers is the nonprofit group Choose Life Wisconsin Inc., which is registered to Wisconsin Family Action’s Julaine Appling.
Appling has a long and controversial track record in Wisconsin.
During the Doyle years, Appling’s group was the main driver of the constitutional ban on gay marriage. Wisconsin Family Action even went to the state Supreme Court earlier this year to argue against the state’s domestic partnership registry, saying it’s too close to marriage for its liking.
But that’s not all.
Wisconsin Family Action appeared in last week’s Wall Street Journal report on the new John Doe investigation. Seems that Appling’s group is among the 29 conservative issue groups that are being scrutinized by special prosecutor Francis Schmitz.
During the 2011 recalls, the Wisconsin chapter of the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity sent out phony absentee ballot applications. Why were they phony? The return address was Wisconsin Family Action’s offices, although Appling denied having anything to do with them.
The Center for Media and Democracy noted that 90% of Wisconsin Family Action’s $1 million in grants in 2011 came from the phony issue group Citizens for a Strong America. Citizens for a Strong America, in turn, received almost all of its funding from the deep-pocketed Wisconsin Club for Growth, which received funds in 2011 from a number of right-wing groups, including a Koch group that just paid a historic campaign finance fine in California for refusing to disclose its donors.
Which other group received funding from Citizens for a Strong America? The dubious United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which also sent out phony absentee ballot applications during the 2011 recalls, although it didn’t send them to Wisconsin Family Action’s offices. (They went to a dead post office box.) Earlier this year, United Sportsmen received a $500,000 grant from the Republican-led Legislature in a late-night vote on the state budget but lost it when its political and Koch connections were revealed.
Now, like United Sportsmen, Wisconsin Family Action’s Appling is set to receive boatloads of Republican-enabled money into her new nonprofit group.
The only thing stopping it is the state Senate—and, perhaps, the John Doe prosecutor.