One Wisconsin lawmaker cannot believe that a predominantly Democratic city in the state is once again turning to an outside nonprofit to get out the vote in November.
Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, told The Center Square that Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s support for a new voter engagement program in Milwaukee sounds very familiar.
“This is absolutely Zuckerbucks 2.0,” Brandtjen said.
Brandtjen led an investigation last year into the Mark Zuckerberg funded Center for Tech and Civic Life and the millions of dollars spent in Wisconsin’s five largest (and most Democratic) cities.
“When you have a very partisan and progressive group in charge of getting out the vote, the line on election integrity is gone,” Brandtjen explained. “There is no oversight. What are they telling voters at the door? Are they offering payments? No one knows.”
Milwaukee’s mayor on Monday announced the program. He said the city “had a role to play” in encouraging people to vote.
“I’m not asking anybody to cast their ballots for one party or another or one candidate or another. What I’m asking is for people to participate in our process,” Johnson said.
His office later clarified that Johnson supports the idea of a get-out-the-vote effort, but the city will not be paying for it.
Instead, Brandtjen said, a group called GPS Impact will handle the door-to-door campaign.
“Winning in tough territory is part of our DNA. We’ve helped Democrats, progressive organizations and initiatives, and elected officials win in red states, including Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Louisiana and Ohio,” GPS Impact says on its website.
It remains unclear just who is paying GPS Impact, how much they will be paid, or what exactly they will be doing.
Brandtjen and other Republicans filed open records requests on Tuesday to try and get some of those answers.
“It’s completely irresponsible, and moreover it puts the election into question before we even started,” Brandtjen said.
Wisconsin lawmakers passed legislation last spring that would have prevented outside funding for nonprofit groups like this one in Milwaukee from taking part in elections in the state. But Gov. Evers vetoed it along with several other election integrity measures.