70 Fat Cats Gave 13% Of Campaign Contributions

Statewide candidates and officeholders got most from top donors in 2009

May 26, 2010

Madison - Seventy individuals and couples gave $874,161 or 13 percent of the total large individual contributions in 2009 and they invested much of it in the governor and statewide candidates in the upcoming 2010 general election, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Auction 2010Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker accepted $284,485 from these contributors, followed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle who got $242,286 and Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett who took $117,600 (Table 1). Republican candidate for governor Mark Neumann accepted $70,000 and Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who won reelection in spring 2009, received $49,750 from these donors.

Walker’s $284,485 came from 29 of these elite donors. They represent a half-percent of Walker’s 5,875 large individual contributors in 2009, but they gave 12 percent of the $2.38 million in large individual contributions Walker accepted.

Barrett’s $117,600 came from 18 of these top donors. They represent 2 percent of Barrett’s 827 large individual contributors in 2009, but they gave 19 percent of the $622,159 in large individual contributions Barrett received.

Neumann’s $70,000 came from six of these top contributors. They represent 2 percent of Neumann’s 270 large individual contributors in 2009, but they gave 33 percent of the $214,745 in large individual contributions Neumann accepted. Neumann’s self contributions and loans to his campaign – totaling about $1.09 million – were not included in the Democracy Campaign analysis because candidates can contribute as much as they want to their own campaigns but regular contributors must abide by contribution limits.

Among these top donors (Table 2) were 11 individuals identified by the Democracy Campaign last month who exceeded the annual $10,000 limit on total state and local campaign contributions. Topping that list was William B. Johnson of Hayward, owner of Johnson Timber Corporation, who contributed $14,000 in 2009, including $10,000 to conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Randy Koschnick, who Abrahamson defeated last spring, and $4,000 to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.

Another individual who exceeded the $10,000 annual contribution limit in 2009, William Gardner of Hartford who is president of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, told state regulators last week he used corporate money to reimburse employees for making political donations which is illegal in Wisconsin. Gardner gave $10,000 to Walker and $3,500 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee. Walker returned Gardner’s donation as well as $33,800 in contributions from seven other railroad employees. The Assembly Democratic committee donated its contribution from Gardner to the state school fund.

Some of these top donors contributed to both Republicans and Democrats. Unlike most voters who cast their ballots for candidates who fit their ideological suit, many wealthy special interests give to both sides – sometimes even Democratic and Republican candidates running for the same office – because they want sway with whoever wins.

For example, Dennis Klein of KBS Construction in Milwaukee contributed $5,000 to Walker and $3,150 to Barrett, among others. John Schmidt, a U.S. Oil executive in Appleton, contributed $6,000 to Walker and $1,500 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee which is a mega-fundraising committee used by legislative leaders to raise money to help elect Assembly Democrats. Gregory and Carrie Penner who are part of the Arkansas-based Walton family which owns Wal-Mart contributed to 19 legislators – $13,200 to 13 Republicans and $6,550 to six Democrats.

The Democracy Campaign also found 16 of the 70 wealthy contributors – about 23 percent – were outside Wisconsin. Four of the top five donors included three out-of-state couples that each gave $20,000 – Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong of Los Angeles, Jay and Beryl Snyder of New York, Kenneth and Jean Neumann of Plainfield, Illinois, and the Penners of Menlo Park, California who contributed $19,750.

The Soon-Shiongs and the Snyders made their contributions to Doyle last May and June. The Neumanns gave their $20,000 to Mark Neumann last July, and Emmanuel and Kimberly Mamalakis of Brookfield contributed $10,000 each to Barrett last December.

The 70 top donors represent a half-percent of the 13,946 individuals and families who made contributions totaling $100 or more last year to candidates for statewide office and the legislature. The nearly 14,000 individuals and families represented one quarter of one percent of Wisconsin’s 5.51 million people and the top 70 donors represented one one-thousandth of one percent of Wisconsin’s population. Their contributions are 13 percent of the total $6.94 million in large individual contributions in 2009.

Tables
RecipientsContributors

Table 1
Recipients* Of Contributions By Top 2009 Donors

NAME AMOUNT
Walker, Scott $284,485
Doyle, Jim $242,286
Barrett, Tom $117,600
Neumann, Mark $70,000
Abrahamson, Shirley $49,750
Van Hollen, J.B. $33,700
Koschnick, Randy $15,450
Davis, Brett $10,000
Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $8,700
Vukmir, Leah $5,250
Sullivan, Jim $3,950
Plale, Jeffrey $2,100
Leibham, Joseph $2,000
Darling, Alberta $2,000
Schultz, Dale $2,000
Fernandez, Rose $1,800
Coggs, Spencer $1,800
Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $1,290
Fitzgerald, Scott $1,150
Kanavas, Theodore $1,100
Bies, Garey $1,100
Lawton, Barbara $1,000
Williams, Annette $1,000
Murtha, John $1,000
Fields, Jason $1,000
Van Roy, Karl $1,000
Williams, Mary $1,000
Nerison, Lee $1,000
Honadel, Mark $1,000
Ripp, Keith $1,000

*Table shows candidates and committees that received $1,000 or more from top donors in 2009.

Table 2
Top Contributors To Legislative And Statewide Campaign Committees In 2009

NAME LOCATION EMPLOYER AMOUNT
Soon-Shiong, Michele and Patrick Los Angeles, CA Abraxis BioScience $20,000
Snyder, Jay and Beryl New York, NY HBJ Investments $20,000
Neumann, Kenneth and Jean Plainfield, IL Greenscape Ventures LLC $20,000
Mamalakis, Emmanuel and Kimberly Brookfield, WI SXP Analytics $20,000
Penner, Gregory and Carrie Menlo Park, CA Walmart Stores $19,750
Stayer, Ralph and Shelly Fond du Lac, WI Johnsonville Foods $19,500
Faulkner, Judith and Gordon Monona, WI Epic Systems $19,000
Johnson, William B. and Patricia Hayward, WI Johnson Timber Corp. $19,000
Thomsen, Mark and Grace Milwaukee, WI Cannon & Dunphy $18,000
Lynch, Donald and Barbara Whitefish Bay, WI Retired $17,000
Ziegler, Andrew and Carlene Mequon, WI Artisan Partners $16,000
Bechthold, Ned and Helen Waukesha, WI Payne & Dolan $15,950
Burke, Kathryn and John Fox Point, WI Burke Properties $15,400
Kellner, Ted and Mary Mequon, WI Fiduciary Management $15,250
Bader, Linda and Daniel Milwaukee, WI Helen Bader Foundation $15,000
Jaeckels, David and Karen Milwaukee, WI Building Committee Inc. $15,000
Byrnes, Jeanne and John Wauwatosa, WI Mason Wells Inc. $14,600
John Schmidt and Julie Schaller-Schmidt Appleton, WI US Oil Co. $14,500
Rottier, Daniel and Frankie Madison, WI Habush, Habush & Rottier $14,300
Klein, Dennis and Barbara Milwaukee, WI KBS Construction $14,250
McKeithan, Daniel and Patricia Milwaukee, WI Tamarack Petroleum Co. $14,050
Gardner, William Hartford, WI Wisconsin Southern Railroad $13,500
Klauser, James and Shirley Pewaukee, WI Retired $13,250
Schmidt, Mary and Tom Appleton, WI US Oil Co. $12,700
Bradbury, Helen and Philip Madison, WI Stone Housing Development $12,500
Lancaster, Colin and Tia Fox Point, WI Stark Investments $12,285
Sprenger, Sally and Gary Mequon, WI Anew Health Care Services $12,000
Einhorn, Nancy and Stephen Milwaukee, WI Einhorn Associates $11,400
Berg, Crystal and James Hartford, WI Custom Pak Products $11,390
Bluemke, Duane Oconomowoc, WI US Counseling Service $11,350
Fabick, Jere C Oconomowoc, WI Fabco Equipment $11,000
Cannon, William M Brookfield, WI Cannon & Dunphy $11,000
Greenberg, Beverly and Martin Milwaukee, WI Time Warner Cable $10,986
Read, Marion and Verne Milwaukee, WI Retired $10,900
Barry, William and Suzanne Brookfield, WI Speed Systems $10,700
Habush, Robert L Milwaukee, WI Habush, Habush & Rottier $10,600
Ziegler, Heather and Stephen Oconomowoc, WI Inpro Corp. $10,500
Bechthold, Kurt and Lori Mequon, WI Payne & Dolan $10,500
Menard, John and Faye Eau Claire, WI Menards $10,500
Butlein, Jayne and Eric River Hills, WI Techteriors $10,250
Baumgartner, Donald and Donna Milwaukee, WI Paper Converting Machine $10,200
Minahan, William Milwaukee, WI BCI - Building Committee Inc. $10,100
Quadracci, Betty Milwaukee, WI Quad-Graphics Inc. $10,000
Weis, D James Rhinelander, WI Habush, Habush & Rottier $10,000
Stansfield, Jim R Onalaska, WI Stansfield Vending $10,000
Schiek, John Incline Village, NV Retired $10,000
Rezek, Garth M Woodbridge, VA Atlantic DQ $10,000
Schwartz, Bernard New York, NY Retired $10,000
Stryker, Jon Kalamazoo, MI Jon Stryker Architecture $10,000
Van Ameringen, Henry New York, NY Van Ameringen Foundation $10,000
Wendt, Gregory W San Francisco, CA Capital Research Global Investors $10,000
Eisenga, Mike Columbus, WI First American Funding $10,000
Gehl, William and Carol Milwaukee, WI Gehl Co $10,000
Dubois, Charles Oconomowoc, WI Standard Process Laboratories $10,000
Conroy, Kevin T Fitchburg, WI Exact Sciences Corp. $10,000
Burow, Matthew Slinger, WI Catalyst Construction $10,000
Gill, Tim Denver, CO Gill Foundation $10,000
Dunn, Robert P Madison, WI Hammes Co. $10,000
Long, Stacie E Mt Dora, FL Homemaker $10,000
Kuester, Jonathan Watertown, WI Carpenter $10,000
Kuester, Dennis J Milwaukee, WI M&I Bank $10,000
Hymowitz, Gregg New York, NY Entrust Capital $10,000
Holley, Ronald Kingwood, TX Ron Holley Developments $10,000
Jansen, James R Madison, WI Habush, Habush & Rottier $10,000
Neumann, Tricia Chicago, IL Trustwave Holdings $10,000
Neumann, Stella Huntley, IL Retired $10,000
Neumann, Matt Oconomowoc, WI Neumann Developments $10,000
Johnson, Ronald H Oshkosh, WI PACUR $10,000
Johnson, Rebecca L. Spooner, WI Jersey ’s Sports Bar and Grill $10,000
Skipper, Walter Elm Grove, WI Quarles & Brady $10,000
TOTAL $874,161