Thursday, January 26, 2012

Senate Recall Targets Attract Big Donors

Four Republican senators targeted for recall later this year collectively raised $260,434 in five weeks, thanks mostly to a small band of wealthy special interest donors, including Milwaukee’s chamber of commerce which gave three of them $10,000 each.

The senators were targeted for recall because of their support for a successful plan by GOP Governor Scott Walker that slashed public employee collective bargaining rights and for deep cuts to health care, education and other state programs.

The recall process allows targeted legislative and statewide officeholders to exceed normal campaign contribution limits and collect unlimited amounts from donors until the state verifies recall petitions against them and sets an election date. Individual and political action committee contributions to state Senate candidates are normally limited to $1,000 per donor per candidate in a four-year election cycle.

Topping the list in fundraising between December 11 and January 17 was Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau who raised $105,663. More than a quarter of that – $28,000 – came from just six donors, including $10,000 from the Milwaukee chamber of commerce’s PAC; $5,000 each from Waukesha liquor distributor Aldo Madrigrano and Madison real estate developer Joe Alexander; $3,000 from Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Local 215 PAC; and $2,500 each from retired Green Bay paper company executive Paul Schierl and Duane Foulkes, founder of metal fabricator Apache Stainless in Beaver Dam.

Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine accepted $64,206. He also drew a $10,000 donation from the Milwaukee chamber of commerce PAC and $3,000 from the Milwaukee firefighters PAC. Robert Schuemann, a retired Signicast executive from Milwaukee, gave $2,000. Wanggaard also got 14 $1,000 contributions from individuals and PACs, including $5,000 from five out-of-state givers who are longtime backers of Milwaukee’s school voucher program: William and Patricia Hume and William Oberndorf of San Francisco, Arthur Dantchik of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania and Virginia James of Lambertville, New Jersey.

Senator Pam Galloway of Wausau accepted $58,915 between December 11 and January 17. More than half her take – $34,000 – came from six committees and individuals. The Milwaukee chamber of commerce and Wausau plastic surgeon John Butler each doled out $10,000; campaign fundraising committees for Republican Senators Mike Ellis of Neenah and Mary Lazich of New Berlin each gave $5,000; and Schierl and Wausau investment consultant Neil Gulsvig each contributed $2,000.

Senator Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls accepted $31,650 in contributions over the five week period. His biggest contribution was $2,500 from Schierl. He also received 13 $1,000 contributions from PACs and individuals, including $5,000 from the same five out-of-state school voucher supporters who contributed to Wanggaard.

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