Feds Investigating Wisconsin Money Laundering

July 8, 2003

The FBI is investigating allegations of campaign money laundering in Maryland and Wisconsin by a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Party committee, the Washington Post is reporting today.

The Democracy Campaign first blew the whistle on this shadowy committee in 1999, and later provided state investigators information about its activities as they conducted a probe that ultimately led to criminal charges against five top legislative leaders in Wisconsin.

A Democracy Campaign review of IRS records found that the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) raised over $681,000 from Wisconsin in 2002, but reported sending only $4,000 directly to a Wisconsin independent expenditure group, Citizens for Clean and Responsible Government, for campaigns in two state legislative races. DLCC also reported a few small payments to political consultants in the state, most notably Raghu Devaguptapu, who is one of three legislative staff members charged in the Capitol corruption scandal.

The rest of the money raised was likely laundered through party committees in other states before returning to Wisconsin to influence elections here, because much of the money came from corporations, which cannot legally donate to political campaigns in Wisconsin.

WDC’s review of the DLCC’s filings with the IRS show contributions from Alliant Energy, Madison Gas & Electric and MG&E subsidiary Central Wisconsin Development Corporation, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Dairyland Greyhound Park, LaCrosse-area road builder Mathy Construction Company, Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation, Badger Liquor Company, General Beer Distributors Company, building contractor J.F. Ahern Company, Racine road builder James Cape & Sons Company, Black River Falls road builder Lunda Construction Company, Elkhorn road builder Mann Bros. Inc. and over 20 other Wisconsin corporations.

In addition to the corporate money, DLCC also raised significant sums from Wisconsin labor unions, most notably the Wisconsin Education Association Council. WEAC gave $300,000.