Six Well-Heeled Contributors Violate Campaign Finance Laws

September 26, 2001

Madison - Six of Wisconsin’s most generous contributors to Republican and Democratic campaigns violated state campaign finance laws during the first six months of 2001 by exceeding the annual $10,000 limit on contributions, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

A WDC analysis of records filed with the State Elections Board shows that the six each contributed between $10,200 and $12,950 (See table). The recipients included 11 Republicans, eight Democrats and the two non-partisan candidates for state school superintendent.

Topping the list was Stephen Marcus of Milwaukee, chairman and president of Marcus Corp. which owns a chain of movie theaters and several hotels. Campaign records show Marcus contributed $12,950 to mostly Republican candidates, including $9,250 to Gov. Scott McCallum.

Sandra Mills, a Menasha wholesale trade company executive, contributed $10,625, including $10,500 to McCallum and school superintendent candidate Linda Cross. She and her husband made $250 in joint contributions to two other candidates. For joint contributions, it has been the Elections Board’s practice to evenly split contributions between spouses to determine whether contribution limits have been violated.

Kenneth Hendricks, a Janesville construction company owner, and Julilly Kohler, a Milwaukee real estate developer, contributed $10,500 to candidates between January and June. Hendricks contributed most of his money - $10,000 - to McCallum. Kohler’s contributions included $6,000 to school superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster and another $4,500 to Democratic legislators and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett.

Rounding out the list of violators were Madison auto dealer Ron Thorstad, who contributed $10,250, and David Mann, an Elkhorn road builder, who contributed $10,200. Thorstad contributed $10,000 to Democratic Attorney General James Doyle who is a candidate for governor in 2002, and $250 to two Senate Democrats. Mann contributed $10,000 to McCallum and $200 to an Assembly Republican and a GOP Senate candidate.

CONTRIBUTORS WHO VIOLATED
ANNUALCAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION LIMITS FOR 2001
(January - June 2001 Contributions)

CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
Stephen H. Marcus
River Hills, WI
Marcus Corp.

5/7/01 Gov. Scott McCallum$8,250
2/9/01 Gov. Scott McCallum$1,000
5/31/01 Attorney Gen. James Doyle$1,000
2/20/01 Sen. Gary George$500
3/27/01 Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti$250
6/25/01 Sen. Brian Burke (Finance co-chair)$250
1/19/01 Sen. Brian Burke (Finance co-chair)$250
6/13/01 Rep. Antonio Riley$250
2/14/01 Sen. Alberta Darling$250
4/25/01 Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen$250
3/10/01 Sen. Dave Zien$200
5/24/01 Sen. Michael Ellis$150
4/26/01 Rep. Scott Gundrum$150
1/16/01 Rep. Scott Gundrum$100
3/15/01 Rep. Scott Walker$100
TOTAL $12,950
 
CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
Sandra R. Mills
Menasha, WI
Mills Supply Co.
3/1/01 Gov. Scott McCallum$10,000
3/15/01 Linda Cross (DPI candidate)$500
Mills, Stew Jr & Sandra*
Mills, Stew & Sandra*
5/23/01 Rep. Terri McCormick$200*
1/29/01 Rep. Terri McCormick$50*
TOTAL $10,750*
 
CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
Julilly Kohler
Milwaukee, WI
JWK Real Estate
4/2/01 Elizabeth Burmaster (DPI candidate)$5,000
6/30/01 Tom Barrett (gubernatorial candidate)$4,000
2/7/01 Elizabeth Burmaster (DPI candidate)$1,000
3/29/01 Sen. Brian Burke (Finance co-chair)$250
3/25/01 Rep. Jon Richards$250
TOTAL $10,500
 
CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
Kenneth A. Hendricks
Janesville, WI
ABC Supply Co.
3/4/01 Gov. Scott McCallum$10,000
5/25/01 Rep. John Gard (Finance co-chair)$500
TOTAL $10,500
 
CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
Ronald Thorstad,
Madison, WI
Thorstad Chevrolet
1/23/01 Attorney Gen. James Doyle$6,000
5/9/01 Attorney Gen. James Doyle$4,000
5/24/01 Sen. James Baumgart$150
2/2/01 Sen. Jon Erpenbach$100
TOTAL $10,250
 
CONTRIBUTOR
LOCATION
EMPLOYER
DATE CANDIDATE AMOUNT
David L. Mann
Elkhorn, WI
Mann Brothers Construction
3/21/01 Gov. Scott McCallum$10,000
6/13/01 Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen$100
5/21/01 Dave Marcello (33rd Senate candidate)$100
TOTAL $10,200

*Sandra Mills’ total contributions of $10,625 include $10,500 worth of contributions listed in her name, plus $125 of the $250 in joint contributions. For joint contributions, it has been the Elections Board’s practice to evenly split contributions between spouses to determine whether contribution limits have been violated. 

Copies of the pages from candidate campaign finance reports that show the contributions in the above table are available from WDC upon request.