Ron Johnson Launches Statewide TV Ad on Senator Feingold’s Progressives United Scandal

Footage shows Senator Feingold saying one thing and doing another on issue that matters to him most, lining his own pockets with political group that was supposed to help candidates

The Ron Johnson campaign today released its next statewide TV and digital ad, highlighting the way Senator Feingold used his Progressives United PAC as a “legalized slush fund” to line his pockets and further his own political interests. Senator Feingold promised supporters Progressives United would help candidates and causes, but only five percent of the money went where he said it would, similar to notorious scam PACs.

“After all of Senator Feingold’s dodges and political games, it’s clear he is in it for himself, not Wisconsin,” Johnson spokesman Brian Reisinger said. “Senator Feingold promised Progressives United would help candidates and causes, then spent most of the money on himself and his political operation – he’s abandoned his principles, lied to Wisconsinites, and become everything people hate about politics, all to get back to Washington.”

The ad, entitled “In It For Himself,” takes footage from interviews Senator Feingold conducted when he launched his PAC in 2011 and as a Senate candidate in 2016. After running through Progressives United’s history of only giving five percent to candidates, the ad ends with a local television reporter asking Senator Feingold, “How do you explain that?” The answer: Senator Feingold is in it for himself, not for you.

Key Facts on Feingold’s Campaign Finance Corruption
  • 1990s/2000s: After promising to raise more than half his money in Wisconsin, Senator Feingold’s legislative proposals include requiring that Senate candidates raise more than half their money from their home states, and restricting political action committees.
  • Feb. 16, 2011: Senator Feingold launches his own political action committee, Progressives United, even though he had proposed legislation to restrict PACs during his nearly two decades in Washington.
  • June 15, 2015: Progressives United, the political action committee Senator Feingold founded after previously being against PACs, is revealed to have given only 5 percent of the money it raised to candidates and causes – with the rest going to line Feingold’s pockets, pay his future campaign staff, and more fundraising to build a national donor apparatus.
  • Aug. 13, 2015: Confronted with his new national fundraising apparatus, Senator Feingold announces he will no longer honor his promise to raise more than half his money from Wisconsinites, saying “there is no hypocrisy.” He goes on to raise outside money using fundraising lists built by his shadow campaign, Progressives United.
  • August 30, 2016: Senator Feingold’s shadow campaign at Progressives United blows up into a full-on email scandal at the State Department. It is reported that Senator Feingold had a conversation with Jon Tester, head of the DSCC, about a potential campaign while he was still at the State Department, and had a shadow campaign operating during his time there – potential violations of federal law.  Senator Feingold refuses to call on the State Department to release all of his emails and other public documents, as is required under federal law.