Twelve Violate Contribution Limit in 2005
Violators include two repeat offenders, another who gave double the limit
May 11, 2006
Madison - Twelve wealthy contributors violated the annual $10,000 limit on campaign contributions to state political candidates and committees in 2005, including two who exceeded the limit in 2002 and a Texas contributor who gave $20,000 to two candidates, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.
All of the offenders made most of their contributions to statewide candidates for governor, attorney general and state school superintendent.
One of the repeat offenders was identified last October by WDC as having already exceeded the limit in the first six months of 2005. James Connelly, a Foley & Lardner lawyer from Milwaukee, was later fined $800 – the amount of his contributions which exceeded the $10,000 limit as of June 30, 2005 – by the State Elections Board. However, a review of reports recently compiled for the final six months of 2005 shows Connelly made an additional $200 contribution on August 30, for a total of $11,000 in contributions in 2005 (see table below) to Republican candidates.
Another repeat violator was Richard Blomquist, a Milwaukee financial consultant, who doled out $15,000 in 2005 to three Republican candidates for governor, attorney general and state school superintendent.
The repeat violations followed 2002 contribution limit violations by Connelly and Blomquist that were dealt with lightly by the Elections Board. Connelly was fined a meager $250 in 2002 when he contributed $7,500 more than the legal limit and Blomquist contributed $4,900 more than the limit and was fined nothing.
State campaign finance laws allow the board to fine contribution violators $500 plus triple the amount that they exceed the $10,000 limit.
The 2005 contributor who exceeded the limit by the most was Kent Caperton of Austin, TX, a former Texas Democratic legislator and now a high powered lobbyist who has worked for numerous law firms, representing powerful special interests like Southwestern Bell. Caperton, who had never contributed to a candidate in Wisconsin before, gave $10,000 in late December to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.
The other nine contributors who violated the individual contribution limit in 2005 were:
- George Dalton of Nashotah, founder of marketing firm Call Solutions and financial services company Fiserv, contributed $10,100 to Republican candidates.
- Gregg Steinberg of Northbrook, IL, an executive with International Profit Associates-Integrated Business Analysis. The firm sells consulting services to businesses. Steinberg’s contributions drew attention earlier this year when Doyle and Lautenschlager pledged to return $15,000 in contributions they received from him in 2005 after the company reached an out-of-court settlement with the state involving complaints about its business practices. But Steinberg should still be fined because state law says an illegal contribution must be returned within 15 days in order to avoid a violation.
- Gordon Faulkner, a Madison physician, contributed $14,000 to two Democratic candidates and a Democratic fundraising committee.
- Mark Bradley, a Wausau attorney with Ruder, Ware & Michler, contributed $11,700 to five Democratic candidates, including $9,500 to Doyle.
- Donald Long, a DePere tool manufacturer who owns Imperial Incorporated, contributed $10,400 to two Republican candidates.
- Beverly Greenberg, of Madison, a Time Warner Cable executive who contributed $10,713 to both Republican and Democratic candidates, including $8,000 to Doyle.
- Mark Irgens, a Wauwatosa developer who owns Irgens Development Partners, contributed $10,381 to Doyle and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.
- George Gialamas of Madison, a developer who owns the Gialamas Company, contributed $10,250, mostly to Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Green and Doyle. Each received $5,000 about a month apart late last year.
- Terrence Wall, of Madison, a developer who owns High Crossing Development, contributed $10,605 to five Republican candidates for statewide office and the legislature, and Democratic attorney general candidate Kathleen Falk.
Foley & Lardner
Blomquist Benefits Consulting
|6/30/05||JB Van Hollen||$1,000.00|
Austin , TX
Ben Barnes Group
Northbrook , IL
Physician – No employer disclosed
|10/6/05||State Senate Democratic Committee||$5,000.00|
|8/24/05||JB Van Hollen||$400.00|
Ruder, Ware & Michler
Time Warner Cable
Irgens Development Partners
High Cross Development
*Denotes Irgens’ split share of a joint contribution made by him and his wife.