MADISON – Law enforcement agencies across the state are launching criminal investigations into third-party ad groups running false, misleading, and deceptive statements alleging that Democratic candidates support “free health care for illegal aliens.” The ads are being run in a direct attempt to influence the election.

”I applaud the law enforcement agencies for taking quick action on this matter,” said Joe Wineke, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair. ”These third-party special interest groups have spent millions of dollars in baseless negative attacks spreading lies about Democratic candidates to directly influence the election, and it is time to hold them accountable.”

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin requested the investigations this week after a pattern emerged across the state of multiple shadowy groups airing similar lies to attack candidates and influence the election. Below is a list of the law enforcement agencies taking action thus far.

  • The Kewaunee Co. District Attorney has requested that the Brown Co. District Attorney act as a special prosecutor to investigate ads from the National Republican Congressional Committee, Coalition for America's Families, and the Wisconsin Institute for Leadership attacking Congressman Steve Kagen and Rep. Jim Soletski.

  • The Green County District Attorney has referred to Attorney General JB Van Hollen the complaint regarding the Coalition for America's Families ads attacking Assembly candidate Trish O’Neil.  

  • The Buffalo County District Attorney has referred to the Buffalo County Sheriff the complaint regarding the Coalition for America's Families ads attacking Rep. Jeff Smith and Assembly Candidate Kristen Dexter.

  • The Clark County District Attorney has referred to the Clark County Sheriff the complaint regarding the Coalition for America's Families ads attacking Rep. Jeff Smith and Assembly candidate Kristen Dexter.

These false attacks have been strongly criticized by media across the state and a similar radio ad has been taken off the air in GrantCounty.

The DPW has already filed a complaint on behalf of Democratic candidates, with the Government Accountability Board, over similar untrue ads. The GAB will likely be taking up the matter at its next hearing on November 11, one week after Election Day. Earlier this month, the GAB ruled that they have authority to regulate issue ads, including the ones in question today.