A conservative group’s ad promoting Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley features footage from Bradley’s campaign.
Bradley has previously pledged not to coordinate with outside groups during her campaign to retain her appointed seat on the state’s highest court, but said she would not oppose outside groups campaigning on her behalf.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Reform’s ad, “Rebecca Bradley: Fair and Independent,” was released Tuesday on broadcast and cable stations across Wisconsin as part of a six-figure media buy set to last until Feb. 8, according to Federal Communications Commission records.
The ad features footage from a video titled “Rebecca Bradley: A Day In The Life,” which was uploaded to Bradley’s campaign YouTube page on Jan. 21 and does not include a voice over. The video shows Bradley talking to various people, including apparent judges and law enforcement officers, and walking through a law library.
In a statement, Bradley campaign spokesman Luke Martz said Bradley “respects the rights of interested voters to exercise” their First Amendment rights in the race.
“The pictures and footage the campaign has posted are in the public domain,” he said. “We have no issue with any independent group utilizing that material to continue to showcase a positive message.”
Chris Martin, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, said the group used “publicly available footage in the production of this ad.”
Martin said the group located the footage online and was not “alerted to its existence by Justice Bradley’s campaign.”
The advertisements are set to run ahead of a Feb. 16 primary during which Bradley faces opponents Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald and State Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Donald in a statement Monday said in light of the group’s significant media buy, he urged the candidates to pledge “to reject special interest money and help from either political party.”
“While I know no candidate can directly control outside spending, all three of us can publicly ask these special interest groups and super PACs to spend their money elsewhere,” he said.
Kloppenburg spokeswoman Melissa Mulliken said Bradley “said she wasn’t going to coordinate and this certainly looks like coordination.”
“Voters in Wisconsin expect and deserve judges and justices whose word is good, and this raises questions,” she said.