UW Regents Gave 100x More to GOP than to Dems

September 6, 2017

UW System

As another school year gets underway on University of Wisconsin campuses, students may be surprised to learn that the UW System is governed by a Board of Regents who overwhelmingly support Republican legislative and statewide candidates despite the liberal reputation of its flagship Madison campus.

Regents are appointed to six-year staggered terms by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who was first elected in 2010, has appointed all but one of the 18 regents – State School Superintendent Tony Evers is the exception. (Evers, who won his third, four-year term last spring, recently announced he will run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.)

All told, the regents and their spouses contributed about $214,000 to legislative and statewide candidates between January 2010 and December 2016. All but $2,050 of their total contributions went to Republican candidates – that’s 100 times more to the GOP. Walker’s campaign received about $111,700 from his appointees and their spouses.

Topping the list (see table below) of contributors was Regent Tracey Klein, a lawyer with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren in Milwaukee, and her husband, Richard, who contributed about $44,200 to all legislative and statewide candidates, including about $41,100 to Walker.

Table
Campaign Contributions by UW Regents to GOP Gov. Scott Walker,
Legislative and Statewide Candidates
January 2010 – December 2016

Regent Employer Walker Contributions Total Contributions
Tracey Klein Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren attorney $41,090 $44,240
Robert Atwell Nicolet Bank Chief executive officer $10,750 $38,750
Mike Jones Michael Best & Friedrich attorney $11,800 $25,400
Michael M. Grebe Quarles & Brady attorney $16,500 $24,700
Jose Delgado Former American Transmission Co. executive $13,500 $20,850
Margaret Farrow Former GOP Lt. Governor and state senator $1,775 $19,061
Gerald Whitburn Former Church Mutual Insurance chief executive officer $9,000 $15,350
Tim Higgins Owner of ChiRho Health Services $2,386 $7,536
S. Mark Tyler President of OEM Fabricators $700 $6,775
John Behling Weld Riley attorney $2,000 $5,550
Regina Millner Owner of RMM Enterprises $2,100 $2,300
Lisa Erickson Food columnist $0 $1,520
Bryan Steil Attorney for Regal Beloit Corp. $100 $1,505
Tony Evers State School Superintendent $0 $450
Janice Mueller Former Legislative Audit Bureau chief $0 $0
Eve Hall Milwaukee Urban League chief executive officer $0 $0
Drew Petersen TDS Telecom vice president $0 $0
Ryan Ring Student regent from UW-Eau Claire $0 $0
TOTAL $111,701 $213,987