Fact Check: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch's first TV ad - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fact Check: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch's first TV ad


We're less than a month away from the recall election, and you've probably noticed plenty of ads on the airwaves.

Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch just released her first television ad. In it, she makes some claims about her role in bringing businesses to Wisconsin.

Newsline 9 examined the ad to determine whether these claims are based on fact or fiction.

The ad begins with Kleefisch sharing a story.

"Last year, I heard that a high tech company from Illinois—loved by its employees—was fed up with their state's new taxes," said Kleefisch in the ad. "So I called them up and told them why they should move to Wisconsin, and they did."

She's talking about FatWallet.com, a shopping website with about 60 employees. The company moved from Illinois to Beloit, Wisconsin last April after Illinois passed new tax laws.

But Kleefisch's claim to bringing FatWallet to Wisconsin has come under criticism from her recall opponent, Mahlon Mitchell.

"She is making things up and taking credit where it's not due, in order to get elected," said Kevin Benish, Mitchell's communications director.

So what are the facts? We talked to the company itself.

"It's a pretty accurate description of the way that it happened," said Brent Shelton, public relations director for FatWallet.com. He says the company was already considering Wisconsin as a new home before Kleefisch called, but he says the lieutenant governor did have some influence.

FatWallet's former CEO, Tim Storm, echoed that, saying, "I do consider working with the Lt. Governor to have been an important part of that decision making process."

So did Lt. Gov. Kleefisch bring FatWallet to Wisconsin? Certainly not by herself. And political experts say her efforts are tied to Gov. Walker's.

"Theoretically, they're working hand in glove with the governor on their agenda," said Eric Giordano, UWMC political science professor.

But in this particular TV ad, Kleefisch's claims of an influential phone call appear to be based mostly on truth.

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