How did this couple become the face of Wisconsin’s down and out?

An ad from the Republican Governors Association in support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a good example of the silliness of political advertising.

It’s a hit ad on Mary Burke, Walker’s Democratic challenger, in which the faces of struggling Wisconsinites is shown.


Only Joe Korb and his wife aren’t in the soup line. They run a company that manages over 600 properties around Madison, live in a house appraised at over $800,000 and seem to be doing just fine.

So what are they doing in an ad as the poster children for struggling people in Wisconsin? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Daniel Bice found out:

In 2012, the Korbs backed ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson in his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. The two signed release forms with FP1 Strategies, then working on the Thompson campaign, allowing the firm to use their photo in whatever manner it wanted without compensation.

“I also understand that FP1 may treat such films and photographs as sole owner, including the right to sell, broadcast, and publish same in any medium,” said the release, signed Sept. 7, 2012.

Any time, any place.

Now the same company is doing media for the GOP governors group. When putting together the first Burke attack ad, FP1 Strategies apparently plucked the photo of the Korbs from its files.

Joe Korb, 47, said he would like to have his picture pulled from the ad. He and his wife have not contributed to either candidate in the governor’s race.

A spokesman for the Republican Governors Association blamed the viewers for jumping to conclusions, of course.

“That’s an assumption,” he said. “There are people looking for jobs and struggling for jobs. But we’re not saying it’s these exact people.”