“Suspicious” Fire Destroys We Are Wisconsin Offices

Fire Destroys We Are Wisconsin PAC Offices in La Crosse; Recall Efforts Subdued

We Are Wisconsin’s La Crosse headquarters a ‘total loss’ after Saturday morning blaze.

By Mark Maley, July 30, 2011, FoxPoint-Bayside Patch

Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown. Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control in the afternoon, however, that wasn’t the case and it continued into the evening, the newspaper reported.

We Are Wisconsin used the building at 432 Jay St. to oversee its efforts in the 32nd Senate District recall election, which will be held Aug. 9. Incumbent Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in that district.

A spokesman for the group told the La Crosse Tribune that the group’s office was a total loss.

We Are Wisconsin is a political action committee made up by a coalition of unions that has spent more than $2 million supporting Democratic recall candidates around Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

In the 32nd District, the group has spent about $400,000 to get Shilling elected, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The group is also active in the 8th Senate District recall race between incumbent Republican Alberta Darling and Democratic challenger Sandy Pasch. In that Milwaukee-area race, We Are Wisconsin has spent at least $570,000 on pro-Pasch ads.

Throughout the day Saturday, those active in the recall effort were taking to Twitter and calling the fire “suspicious” since it occurred just 10 days before the recall. However, fire officials haven’t yet determined the cause of the blaze, according to local media reports.

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