MADISON, Wis. — Dan Kelly’s deep ties to the extreme right have defined his campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court. From revelations about Kelly’s legal work for right-wing causes to the array of far-right special interest groups that have endorsed him, numerous recent reports have detailed Kelly’s extensive background as a right-wing judicial activist.
Here’s what we’ve learned during the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court about Dan Kelly’s troubling extremist ties:
- Dan Kelly was paid nearly $120,000 by the state and national Republican Parties to work on “election integrity” issues. Kelly’s work included advising the Wisconsin GOP on their efforts to overturn the 2020 election by appointing a slate of fake presidential electors.
- Seeing an ally in Dan Kelly, election deniers have swarmed to support his campaign. Those voicing support include Stop the Steal extremist Scott Presler and election conspiracy theorist Charlie Kirk. Presler, who organized several “stop the steal” rallies, recently landed in Wisconsin to campaign for Kelly for the month before the Spring Election.
- Groups involved in the efforts to overturn the 2020 election have dropped over $3.9 million to support Kelly. Kelly’s backers include Dick Uihlein, a billionaire GOP donor who contributed extensively to groups involved in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol and poured his personal fortune into promoting election misinformation.
- Kelly’s financial disclosures show he has done work for multiple far-right organizations since leaving the Supreme Court in 2020, including the Bradley Foundation, the Illinois-based Liberty Justice Center, and the law firm Troutman Pepper. The Liberty Justice Center has done legal work on behalf of Fair Courts America, a PAC funded almost exclusively by Dick Uihlein. Troutman Pepper, like Kelly, has been retained by Wisconsin Republicans in recent years to argue GOP interests in court. The Bradley Foundation is one of the leading financial backers of the conservative legal outfit WILL.
- As a lawyer in private practice, Dan Kelly provided legal counsel to Wisconsin Right to Life, one of Wisconsin’s leading anti-abortion groups which opposes abortion in nearly all circumstances—including cases of rape or incest. All three of the leading anti-abortion groups in Wisconsin have endorsed Kelly.
“Dan Kelly has built a career out of advancing right-wing causes in court, and it’s clear he intends to continue that career on the Supreme Court,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Haley McCoy. “Every new revelation tying Kelly to the far-right fringe is just another reason that Dan Kelly would be a disaster for Wisconsin.”