Jaws dropped when the supporters of the recall against Gov. Scott Walker recently submitted more than 1 million signatures of Wisconsin residents.
Then jaws dropped again when Walker’s campaign announced a few days later it had raised more than $4.5 million in the most recent reporting period from a total of 21,443 contributions.
State law allows candidates who are targets of recalls to raise unlimited cash while the signatures are being gathered. Walker seized the moment, making a series of out-of-state fundraising appearances during the 60-day window.
“Gov. Walker’s message of moving Wisconsin forward continues to resonate with voters,” said Ciara Matthews, communications director of the Walker campaign. “It is this message, and the success of the governor’s reforms, that have inspired people to contribute to his campaign in overwhelming numbers. These donations will allow us to fight back against this baseless recall and ensure Gov. Walker can continue to lay the foundation for a more successful Wisconsin and keep government working on the side of taxpayers.”
The Walker campaign finished the quarter with a combined total of more than $2.6 million cash on hand in the recall and general campaign funds. The campaign has raised more than $12 million since Jan. 1, 2011. According to the campaign, 16,406 of those contributions were $50 or less, representing 76.5 percent of the overall number of contributions.
A quick review of the Walker donations reported to the Government Accountability Board shows strong support from prominent Wisconsin business executives (name, company and city of residence): John Bergstrom of Bergstrom Automotive, Neenah, $2,500; Frederick Boelter of The Boelter Companies, Hartland, $2,500; John Burke of Burke Properties, Fox Point, $10,000; Jere Fabick of Fabco Equipment, Oconomowoc, $50,000; Gerald Frye of The Benefit Services Group Inc., Elm Grove, $5,000; Robert Greenheck of Greenheck Fan Corp., Schofield, $7,500; William Haack of Zywave, Elm Grove, $8,000; Thomas Halquist of Halquist Stone Company, Menomonee Falls, $2,500; Harvey Hammond of HNTB Corp., Mequon, $5,000; Emery Harlan of Gonzalez, Saggio & Harland LLP, $5.000; Robert Hillis of Direct Supply Inc., Milwaukee, $10,000; Chris Kappl of Wildwood Reserve LLC, Menomonee Falls; Ted Kellner of Fiduciary Management, Mequon, $8,564.84; Dennis Klein, KBS Construction, Milwaukee, $10,000; Richard Klein of Aurora Health Care, Brookfield, $10,000; Herbert Kohler of Kohler Company, Kohler, $8,000; James Leef of ITU Inc., Brookfield, $4,000; Fred Luber of Super Steel Products Corp., Milwaukee, $2,000; Glenn Madrigrano of CJW Inc., Kenosha, $2,500; Michael Mahoney of Park Bank, Mequon, $2,000; Daniel McKeithan of Tamarack Petroleum Company, Milwaukee, $20,000; John Mellowes of Charter Manufacturing Co. Inc., Mequon, $10,000; Mark Neumann of Neumann Homes Inc., Nashotah, $2,500; Albert Nicholas of Nicholas Company Inc., Hartland, $25,000; Eric Peter of Jax Inc., Elm Grove, $2,500; Thomas Quadracci of Quad/Graphics Inc., Hartland, $2,000; V. Ross Read III, Clement Finance & Leasing Inc., Milwaukee; Roy Reiman (retired) of Reiman Publications, $10,000; Steve Ristow of Schneider Excavating, Lannon, $2,500; Michael White of Rite-Hite Holding Corp., River Hills, $16,700; Richard Wiederhold of Managed Health Services, Elm Grove, $2,000; and James Wigdale (retired) of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., Fox Point, $3,000.
A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis of the individual Walker contributions reported in the latest campaign finance report shows that 61 percent came from outside Wisconsin. Nearly $2.3 million of the $4.5 million raised came from just 33 donors.
The largest out-of-state donations included: $250,000 each from Sarah Atkins and David Humphries of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, Mo.; $250,000 from Stanley Herzog of Herzog Companies Inc. in St. Joseph, Mo.; $250,000 from Bob J. Perry of Perry Homes in Houston, Texas; and $100,000 from Bruce Kovner of Caxton Alternative Management LP in New York City.
Perry was the financier of the infamous “Swift Boat” ads against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
The political action committee (PAC) of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce donated $150,000 to Walker’s campaign on Dec. 16 and another $25,000 on Jan. 2.
“Gov. Scott Walker is traveling across America selling out Wisconsin to the highest bidder,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, one of the groups working to recall Walker. “No wonder Walker doesn’t have time to try and stop the six straight months of job loss. Traveling across the country to raise money is his day job, being governor is just his hobby at this point.”
– Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.