Earlier this month, dozens of billboards appeared in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Cleveland and elsewhere warning that “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY!” and can lead to prison sentences of up to three and a half years. In no small part because voters are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud at the polls, the billboards were widely viewed as an effort to intimidate minority voters who are uncertain about their rights from voting. Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns the billboards that displayed the intimidating message, eventually agreed to remove the message and donate space on 10 billboards to display a counter-message clarifying that “VOTING IS A RIGHT. NOT A CRIME!”
Clear Channel explained that it would pull the billboards because they “violate our policy of not accepting anonymous political ads.” The identity of the big GOP funders behind these billboards has now been revealed:
Stephen Einhorn – a Wisconsin venture capital fund manager and major GOP donor – acknowledged Monday that he and his wife Nancy paid for dozens of anonymous billboards in and around Milwaukee and two Ohio cities warning residents of the penalties for committing voter fraud. . . . The Einhorns have made campaign donations to many Republican politicians, including Gov. Scott Walker, to whom they have given $49,750 since 2005, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
In addition to funding Wisconsin’s anti-union governor, the Einhorns both made maximum-dollar donations of $2,500 each to Mitt Romney’s presidential election campaign. Both Einhorns also gave to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in addition to other GOP House and Senate candidates. Stephen donated $25,000 to the tea party group Freedomworks, and Nancy gave $30,800 to the Republican National Committee.