Updated Contributor Database Shows Sizable Casino, Loan Shark Donations to Governor
March 17, 2004
Madison - Two Indian tribes and Washington D.C. lawyers whose firms represent tribes contributed more than $10,000 to Democratic Governor James Doyle in the last half of 2003, according to the latest campaign finance information posted by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Doyle also received over three times as much from payday lenders in the last six months of 2003 than he received from these interests in the previous 10½ years combined, the records show.
The contributions were among about 8,400 records of donations added to the WDC searchable database from campaign finance reports filed by candidates for statewide office and the legislature for the last six months of 2003. The service is free and users can view the information by choosing a specific individual contributor or see how much was donated by contributors who work for a particular employer or live in a particular city.
Contributions to Doyle from tribal interests, which totaled $10,545 (see table below), were nearly eight times more than the $1,370 in direct large individual contributions his campaign received from tribal interests between 1993 and June 30, 2003. Early last year Doyle signed new agreements with the tribes that substantially expanded Indian casino gambling in Wisconsin.
In addition to tribal interests, Doyle also received career-high individual contributions from payday lenders and racetrack owners. The governor accepted $21,500 from payday lenders in the last half of 2003, compared to $6,600 in the previous 10½ years. Doyle also accepted $10,500 from Dairyland Greyhound Park owners in Alabama compared to a total of $6,000 from track interests between 1993 and June 30, 2003.
The figures also show Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer, a West Bend Republican, received most of her large individual contributions - $5,250 - from lawyers of Michael Best & Friedrich. Attorneys from that law firm were also the top givers, grouped by employer, to GOP Assembly Speaker John Gard who accepted $4,300 from them.
Over the years, the state has paid Michael, Best & Friedrich hundreds of thousands of dollars for legal work often done on behalf of Republican legislative leaders and former GOP governors.
Law firms Michael, Best & Friedrich and Foley & Lardner were the top source of individual contributions grouped by employer to all candidates in the last half of 2003 at $40,660 and $27,428, respectively.
Lawyers and chiropractors were the top special interest contributors to all state and legislative officeholders. Lawyers contributed $249,564 to all candidates followed by chiropractors who gave $79,556, including $47,393 to Doyle, in the last half of 2003.