We reported earlier this week that executives from two out-of-state companies gave heavily to Governor Jim Doyle's re-election campaign after getting state contracts. No one from either of the companies, Chicago-based Equis Corporation or Indianapolis-based Crowe Chizek, had ever donated to Doyle previously. Or to any candidate for state office in Wisconsin, for that matter.
Our findings prompted a flurry of media coverage. To see a sampling, go here.
Spokespeople for the Doyle campaign and the two companies all said, presumably with straight faces but with their fingers crossed, that there was no connection between the donations and the contracts.
One Crowe Chizek bigwig who works out of offices in Indianapolis and Chicago told The Associated Press his $4,500 in donations to Doyle were a reflection of his interest in community involvement. "As we get involved and do business in communities, we encourage all of our people to get involved in those communities in various ways," Crowe Chizek executive Robert Lazard was quoted as saying.
A spokeswoman for the governor's campaign told reporters she believed the company employees arranged the fundraising events at which the donations were made. But several of the donors contradicted this claim, saying they received invitations to fundraisers from the Doyle campaign after their companies won contracts.