States Rights

Dark money? AFL-CIO accused of campaigning without disclosing

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed a complaint with the state’s campaign and elections agency against the AFL-CIO, alleging the labor union failed to disclose its activity in attempting to influence a state Assembly election.

The complaint, filed with the Government Accountability Board, charges that the AFL-CIO campaigned for Democratic candidate Elizabeth Coppola in her run for the 21st Assembly District special election last year. The special interest group, however, did not disclose its spending in the race, according to the state GOP.

In the race to fill the seated vacated by former state Rep. Mark Honadel, R-South Milwaukee, Coppola, a United Way fundraiser, was defeated by Jessie Rodriquez, an outreach coordinator for Hispanics for School Choice, in a race infused with more than $100,000 in special-interest money.

In its complaint, RPW says the labor union provided staff support to Coppola, hosted phone banks, and “used its resources to canvas neighborhood’s” on the candidate’s behalf, but did not report the activity. Upon recently learning of the attention drawn to its unreported activity, the AFL-CIO took down webpages linking its campaign efforts to Coppola, the GOP said in a statement.

A link filed in the complaint leads to a web page bearing the iconic blue fist of the AFL-CIO, featuring a photo of Coppola and urging district voters to cast their ballots in the Nov. 19, 2013, special election. The site also makes an urgent request.

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