Russ Feingold has started a new PAC called “Progressives United” for the purpose of combating the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision—a decision that has unleashed a flood of corporate money into the political process.
Over the years, Feingold has been a consistent progressive and has never wavered from his core beliefs. In the run up to the 2010 midterm elections, he and his campaign had created one of the strongest grassroots organizations in the country, which was extraordinarily active throughout the state of Wisconsin.
So, what happened?
No doubt he was battling a demoralized Democratic electorate. But Feingold lost, in large part, because his opponent, Republican Ron Johnson, received millions of dollars of campaign assistance from outside the state, from anonymous donors. Johnson was able to receive these huge campaign donations because of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. There’s no doubt, some of this money came from the Koch brother, who also heavily funded Scott Walker, the current embattled governor of Wisconsin
Senator Feingold, on the other hand, refused to accept money from corporations, which put him at a distinct disadvantage. Flush with money, Johnson flooded the state with TV ads in which he wore a folksy plaid shirt and projected a faux populism. He managed to defeat Feingold 52% to 47%. Feingold did better than expected considering he was vastly outspent, but the result was devastating for Wisconsin and for the country.
Like many other states, Wisconsin was caught up in the Republican wave that swept the country last year, a wave fueled by Citizen’s United. Wisconsin, once solidly progressive, elected a Republican Governor, a Republican State Legislature, and a Tea Party-backed United States Senator.
By starting his PAC, Progressives United, Russ has signaled that he intends to stay active in politics. The PAC is designed as an umbrella organization for organizations and individuals who want to overturn Citizen’s United. But it also could be a base for another run for public office.
In this video, Russ sounds a bit like he is campaigning. If the progressive citizens of Wisconsin mount a successful recall of Scott Walker, which they are threatening to do, Feingold would make an excellent governor. Replacing the right wing, extremist Walker with Russ Feingold would be a huge step toward reversing the corrupting influence of both the Koch brothers and Citizens United. A successful recall could thwart Walker and the Koch Brothers’ plans to destroy public sector unions and privatize the assets of the State of Wisconsin. But even if Russ doesn’t end up as governor, his PAC, Progressives United, may be instrumental in reversing a terrible Supreme Court decision, which would be good for Wisconsin and good for the country .