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.
Republican 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.
|Van Hollen, J.B.||$33,700|
|Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee||$8,700|
|Committee to Elect a Republican Senate||$1,290|
|Van Roy, Karl||$1,000|
*Table shows candidates and committees that received $1,000 or more from top donors in 2009.
|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|