Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seniors Show Dramatic Shift In Partisan Support

A recent Gallup poll that shows older Americans dramatically shifted their political support from Democrats to Republicans supports a trend the Democracy Campaign has seen involving campaign contributions by retirees. 

The Gallup poll showed Americans aged 65 and older moved from reliably Democratic supporters to Republicans supporters between 1992 and 2012.  The Gallup story cites race as a primary factor because older Americans are predominantly non-Hispanic whites while younger age groups of Americans are more racially diverse and tend to support Democrats.

Whatever the reason for the shift, Gallup's contention that yesterday's Democrats support today's Republicans jibes with a Democracy Campaign finding in 2011.  A review of campaign contributions from retirees to candidates for governor and the legislature from 1993 through 2010 showed parity between Republican and Democratic candidates early on, and then a sharp shift to Republican candidates since the 2006 election cycle.

An updated Democracy Campaign analysis of large campaign contributions - those who contributed $100 or more in a year - from retirees by decade found this:

Retirees contributed about $1.5 million to Republican candidates and $1.2 million to Democrats between 1993 and 2002.   But from 2003 to 2012 retiree contributions jumped to $10.4 million to Republicans compared to $4.5 million to Democratic candidates for statewide office and the legislature.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Eisenga Contributed To Pro-Walker Electioneering Group

A wealthy Wisconsin donor contributed $6,250 to an outside electioneering group that supports Republican Governor Scott Walker around the time the contributor contacted the governor and sought to change the state's child support laws in his favor.

The contributor, Michael Eisenga who is president of American Lending Solutions in Columbus, was among 19 donors who contributed a total of $1 million in 2013 to the Republican Governors Association's 527 group.  The RGA's state political action committee recently sponsored its third television ad slamming Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke in her bid to defeat Walker in the 2014 fall elections.

Eisenga's first-ever contribution to the group September 10 came in between two direct contributions totaling $9,500 to Walker last March and December.  In addition to the direct contributions to Walker, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice recently reported Eisenga contacted the governor last fall about changing the law and sent Walker an article about an appeals court ruling on Eisenga's divorce and child support payments.

But legislation to do just that by GOP Representative Joel Kleefisch of Ocononomoc was pulled after media reports - here and here - detailed Eisenga's role in writing the bill.

Campaign finance records show Eisenga has contributed $43,625 since 2001 - all to Republican candidates for statewide and legislative offices, including $19,500 to Walker and $10,000 to Kleefisch and his wife, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

It also was reported that Eisenga’s former wife claims political donations were made in her name without her knowledge or consent. If true, the contributions would be illegal.

Other media reports said Eisenga’s company was the largest violator of the state’s “no call” list, soliciting more than a million individuals on the list. Eisenga also managed to put his children on BadgerCare, the state health care program intended for low-income families, despite a net worth estimated at between $20 million and $30 million.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Hiding Political Adultery

Elected officials are supposed to be faithful to the people.

Instead, many if not most of them are cheating on us. They are carrying on an affair with wealthy political donors, special interest groups and the lobbyists who represent them. They shower gifts on these mistresses, all the while neglecting the wishes and needs of the people they vowed to serve.

Like conventional philanderers, political adulterers go to great lengths to cover up their infidelity. Here in Wisconsin, the majority leader in the state Senate is now proposing to cement in state law a loophole allowing special interests and lobbying groups to conceal from the public who supplies the money they use to influence elections. The Senate's second-in-command, the assistant majority leader, has been pushing another scheme to blind the public to the financial interests of nearly all political donors.

Meanwhile, they are doubling down on the hanky panky. Literally. The Assembly already voted on a bipartisan basis to approve legislation that would double Wisconsin's limits on political donations. Senators are hoping no one will notice as they continue to flirt with the idea of ratifying the Assembly's action and sending it along to the governor for his signature. The Senate majority leader also wants lobbyists to be able to hand out checks year-round.

Take one step outside the Capitol and you find people of every political stripe in agreement that there is too much money in politics. Go inside the Capitol, and there is a bipartisan consensus that there's not enough.

Most people may be unaware that in 2012 a grand total of 243 donors – including 149 from out of state – reached Wisconsin’s $10,000 annual limit on campaign contributions. That tiny group of donors whose ability to influence lawmakers would be doubled is equal to four one-thousandth of 1% of Wisconsin’s population. But most voters are instinctively aware that their elected representatives are sneaking around on them. They have a sixth sense for adultery.

For their part, the politicians know they are betraying our trust and obviously fear having their infidelity exposed. Otherwise they would not be trying so hard to keep their affairs a secret.

They are fooling themselves. Their illicit activity is an open secret. Voters can tell when they are being two-timed.