J Street PAC names Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson Top Target in 2016 Elections

Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson / AP
January 18, 2016

The controversial J Street PAC announced it will center its attention on attempting to unseat Republicans who led efforts to oppose President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and will focus on Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) during the 2016 elections, according to the Times of Israel.

They write:

J Street will focus this year on unseating Republican senators in Illinois and Wisconsin who led opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

In an interview with JTA on Friday, Ben Shnider, political director of the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, said the organization would focus on defeating Sen. Mark Kirk from Illinois and Sen. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin.

"They were two of the biggest detractors of the deal," said Shnider, referring to the nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers. "Iran is being defanged, and they stood in the way."

The deal, in which Iran gained relief from international sanctions in exchange for rolling back elements of its nuclear program, went into effect this weekend after UN inspectors confirmed Iran had met its obligations under the agreement.

J Street threw its support behind Russ Feingold, the former Democratic senator from Wisconsin, early last year. Feingold was one of three candidates who were first endorsed by the PAC.

J Street has bundled hundreds of thousands in lobbyist contributions for Feingold since 2010, despite the former senator pushing for campaign finance reform that included stricter rules on lobbyist disclosure during his 18-year career in Washington.

"Regardless of how reforms might impact us, our priority must be to convince our constituents that we are here to advocate their best interests, not those of well-connected lobbyists," Feingold said in August 2007 in relation to lawmakers accepting bundled lobbyist contributions.

However, in 2010, during the months leading up to Feingold’s defeat, he accepted over $200,000 in bundled lobbyist contributions from the J Street PAC.

In addition, J Street has bundled more than $100,000 in lobbyist contributions for Feingold during the 2016 election cycle.

"Senator Feingold is so liberal that his foreign policy is downright dangerous. His support for President Obama’s reckless Iran deal is another example of how Senator Feingold’s far-out ideology would put our nation at risk," Johnson spokesman Brian Reisinger told the Washington Free Beacon. "Senator Feingold’s decision to take gobs of money from a special interest group that lobbied for the Iran deal like J-Street proves he’s even traded in his principles on campaign finance too."