April 2, 2011- A new special interest group has purchased an expensive TV ad campaign in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race but operates out of a UPS store. The self-named "Citizens for a Strong America" (CSA) advertises its address as "834 Park Avenue #306" in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, but this address is nothing more than a box at a UPS Store. The TV ad campaign attacks Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg for an ad that was not created by her campaign. The ad CSA is complaining about argues that Supreme Court candidate Justice David Prosser failed to prosecute a priest who young boys said had molested them. (CMD does not endorse or oppose either candidate; CMD reports on front groups, PR campaigns, and spin, with a particular focus on corporate-funded spin.)
Who Are the "Citizens for a Strong America," Besides a Well-Funded Postal Box?
This mysterious group lists no information about its leaders, employees, or funders on its website, citizensforastrongamerica.net. Its website is basically just a brochure. Its contact information is not the kind typically used by a public interest organization; it is just gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Its phone number, 608-831-2974, rings to a voicemail box, which is full.
The group has filed for an IRS number (27-1204594) for its non-profit status under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, but no filings are publicly posted on Guidestar; almost all non-profit groups in existence since 2009 have filed with the IRS and those filings are reprinted by Guidestar. If the group was founded more recently it may be months before records of its overall income and expenditures become available.
Updated! CSA Linked to Office and Staff of David Koch's "Americans for Prosperity," Tea Party Backers
n a review of internet filings, the Center has learned that even though Citizens for a Strong America lists no staff on its website, its website name was purchased by John W. Connors of Milwaukee, who has been a leader of "Americans for Prosperity," a right-wing group chaired by oil billionaire David Koch. On the domain registration through "Go Daddy!," the holder of the web address listed is for Connors and the business address is listed as 1126 S 70th Street, Suite S420, in Milwaukee, along with a gmail address. (After this story broke, the contact information was changed from email@example.com, along with the street address and his home number, to a proxy registration service. Despite the effort to destroy this history, the Center and other groups have screenshots of how Go Daddy! and other evidence in this story looked before the changes were made; these links were also noted in a TV news story for the local CNS affiliate before they were removed. The Center exercised editorial discretion to not post Connors' home telephone number associated with the domain registration as part of the initial story.)
This address is the same street address as Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in Wisconsin. AFP is listed as holding offices on the second floor of that building. It is not clear how many suites in the building are leased by AFP. Although the address listed is in the same building, the phone number listed on the domain registration is for a home number, not AFP.