A political action committee was fined by the state for collecting $170,000 in excessive donations that were used to finance contributions to Governor Scott Walker’s recall campaign, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has learned.
The Government Accountability Board fined the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce PAC $500 in February and ordered it to get back $170,000 of the $175,000 in contributions it gave the Walker campaign in December. The board also required the PAC to return the excessive contributions to the donors. Individual contributions to a PAC are limited by a $10,000 per year overall cap that an individual may contribute to all state and local candidates and political committees.
But three of the PAC’s donors contributed a total of $200,000. Topping the list was Ted Kellner, Mequon, founder of Fiduciary Management who gave $100,000; Patrick English of Wauwatosa, chief executive officer of Fiduciary Management, at $50,000; and William J. Nasgovitz, Shorewood, a Heartland Advisors executive who also contributed $50,000.
The PAC collected a total of $219,250 from 12 donors who gave between $200 and $100,000 between November 29 and December 15, 2011. Nine of the 12 contributors worked for Fiduciary Management and a tenth donor was the spouse of an employee at the Milwaukee firm. Those 10 donors collectively contributed $159,250 to the PAC. The remaining contributors to the PAC were Nasgovitz, and David Uihlein Jr. of Milwaukee who contributed $10,000.
In turn, the PAC contributed $175,000 to Walker in two contributions of $150,000 December 14 and $25,000 December 29. The PAC also made three $10,000 contributions December 29 to three of the four Republican state senators who were targeted for recall this year – Van Wanggaard of Racine, Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and Pam Galloway of Wausau. Galloway later resigned from office but a June 5 election will be held with the others for her seat.
In addition to the $100,000 he gave to the Milwaukee chamber PAC, Kellner contributed an additional $32,750 in 2011 to Walker, three GOP senators targeted in the 2011 recall elections and an Assembly representative. Kellner exceeded the $10,000 annual limit on individual campaign contributions in 2001 and 2006.
English personally contributed $6,000 to Walker campaign in 2011 in addition to his $50,000 contribution to the chamber of commerce PAC. Nasgovitz did not contribute to candidates for statewide office or the legislature in 2011.