Wisconsin corporations and individuals contributed $290,876 to groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for negative political advertising and other electioneering activities during the first six months of 2005.
So-called 527 groups like the well-known America Coming Together and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are named for the Internal Revenue Service code that regulates them.
Ten of Wisconsin’s 107 contributors doled out $10,000 or more in contributions during the six-month period. Topping the list was Daniel Bader, of Milwaukee, a long-time generous giver to Democratic candidates and organizations, at $50,000; and Mary and Terry Kohler, of Sheboygan, who have been big contributors to Republican candidates and conservative causes, at $45,000.
The top five 527 recipients of Wisconsin contributions are the Democratic Governors Association at $90,000; three pro-Republican groups – the Club for Growth at $51,950, College Republican National Committee at $37,235 and GOPAC at $36,950; and the pro-Democratic Laborers Political League Education Fund at $33,320.
The Wisconsin contributions are nearly evenly split, as they were in the 2003-04 election cycle, between Republican- and Democratic-leaning 527s. Republican 527 groups received $147,404 and Democratic 527s accepted $143,272 from Wisconsin contributors. The remaining $200 went to a 527 group that has supported Republicans and Democrats.