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Venture capitalist behind fraud billboards

The anonymous donors behind dozens of controversial billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning against voter fraud have come forward

Stephen and Nancy Einhorn are the "Private Family Foundation" behind billboards warning that "voter fraud is a felony" that can result in “up to 3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine."  Stephen Einhorn runs investment banking and venture capital firms. The couple has given nearly $50,000 to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) since 2005. 

TheGrio and One Wisconsin Now first reported Monday that the billboards were funded by the Einhorn Family Foundation. In a statement to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Einhorns confirmed that they were behind the ads and said that they placed them "as a public service," not for partisan advantage.

“By reminding people of the possible consequences of illegal voting, we hope to help the upcoming election be decided by legally registered voters," they wrote.

Clear Channel took the billboards down earlier this month under pressure from civil rights groups and labor unions, who argued that the ads -- placed around Milwaukee, Cleveland and Columbus -- were meant to intimidate minority voters. The ads went against the company's policy of barring anonymous political advertising. 

“We asked the client how they would prefer to work with us to bring the boards into conformance with our policy,” Clear Channel Outdoor spokesman Jim Cullinan said at the time. “The client thought that the best solution was to take the boards down, so we are in the process of removing them.”

Speaking anonymously to conservative radio host Charlie Sykes last week, the foundation chief said he would have gone public at that point but did not want to put his family at risk. "Our children expressed grave concerns for their own safety, and we had to respect that above all," he said. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



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Rachel Weiner · October 31, 2012

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