Friday, November 11, 2011

Justice David Prosser, R - Beyond Wisconsin

Three of every four dollars in individual contributions raised by Supreme Court Justice David Prosser's reelection campaign and another committee created to pay for his recount expenses came from donors outside the state - much of it from a scant seven contributors, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Campaign finance reports show Prosser raised $692,597 from all sources for his 2011 spring reelection, including a $400,000 state public financing grant, $266,000 from the Prosser Victory Recount Fund and $21,588 from individual contributions excluding returned contributions and a $5,000 self contribution to his own campaign.

All told, the two committees raised $294,309 in individual contributions - $70,640, or 24 percent, from Wisconsin donors and $223,669, or 76 percent, from contributors outside Wisconsin.

In addition to the large proportion of out-of-state givers, 24 individual contributions to the recount committee lacked the donor's last name and 50 contributions of more than $100 lacked employer information required by law.

Seven contributors to Prosser's recount committee - all from outside Wisconsin - gave between $5,000 and $50,000 each for a total of $210,000 or 72 percent of the total individual contributions to both committees. State law allows candidates to raise unlimited amounts of money to pay for legal and other expenses involved in a recount. Here's who these big donors are:

  • Dr. John Templeton Jr. and his wife, Josephine, from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania each contributed $50,000. Templeton runs the Templeton Foundation and is a heavyweight backer of conservative causes nationwide, including Freedom's Watch, the Cato Institute and numerous state efforts to ban same sex marriage.

  • Richard Uihlein of Lake Forest, Illinois and owner of Uline - a package, shipping, warehouse and janitorial products retailer - who gave $50,000. Uihlein is a longtime backer of conservative Republicans candidates and groups nationwide like Rand Paul, Eric Cantor, Michelle Bachmann and the Club for Growth.

  • Virginia James of Lambertville, New Jersey who contributed $25,000. James is a retired investor and longtime supporter of conservative political candidates and groups like the Club for Growth, as well as Republican causes like school voucher programs.

  • David Humphreys of Joplin, Missouri who contributed $25,000. Humphreys and his family own Tamko Building Products which is one of the nation's largest manufacturers of roofing materials, and he is a longtime backer of Republican political candidates and causes nationwide.

  • Stephen Mosling of Naples, Florida and Frank Baxter of Los Angeles, California who each gave $5,000. Mosling is a retired real estate developer who has contributed to Republican congressional candidates and party committees in Wisconsin and Florida. Baxter is a retired investment banker and former ambassador to Uruguay under President George W. Bush.

    Anonymous said...

    The large sum of special interest money spent in elections is destroying the ideal of one-man, one-vote. An individual citizen’s vote is greatly diminished by the handful of people who pay to produce and air ads attempting to influence how people should vote. And many of these people are from other states, they aren’t even eligible to vote in our elections, and the ads they pay for are misleading or false. Why should these special interests have such a disproportionate impact on our elections? It’s also wrong if 900 people each give $10 to a candidate and that’s offset by one person who gives $10,000 to the other candidate. This is NOT what democracy should look like. I thought each person’s vote counts the same, but clearly with such large variations in contributions possible, some people exercise more influence. Voting has become secondary to a process emphasizing fund-raising over popular support.

    Anonymous said...

    Applying the one vote per person concept, let us all admit that campaign contributions from unions should also cease. Individual union members can send their $10 to whatever side they choose rather than union officials compelling members to give to a cause they may not support. The unions overwhelm the giving of individuals, especially in an issue such as school choice where inner city victims of failed government schools need outside champions to counterbalance teachers unions (which should not even weigh in on this issue due to their obvious conflict of interest).

    Anonymous said...

    Union members are not compelled to give money to be given to political candidates. They may choose to give money to a separate fund to be used for that purpose, but it is separate and in addition to their regular union dues. The comment that teachers and teacher unions should not weigh in on issues involving public education is like saying doctors should not weigh in on public health issues.