Special Interests Hedge Bets In Governor’s Race

Review shows contributors doling out thousands for access to Walker, Barrett

Posted: September 22, 2010

Madison – More than 300 lawyers, manufacturers, builders, bankers and other special interests each made contributions to both candidates for governor – Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett – totaling nearly $450,000 between July 2009 and June 2010, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

The Democracy Campaign analysis parallels previous reviews that showed wealthy special interests frequently make generous contributions to both Democrats and Republicans. This “double giving” to candidates in both major parties undercuts the frequent claim by special interests that they contribute for the same reason as average citizens – to participate in the democratic process and support the candidate and party that best reflect their views, and not to obtain favors from policymakers.

The review found 311 donors made contributions to Walker and Barrett totaling $449,302 from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010. Walker received $245,374 from these double givers which was 7 percent of the $3.44 million in large individual contributions he received during the period. Barrett received $203,928 from these contributors which was 8 percent of the $2.54 million in large individual contributions he accepted during the period.

Topping the list of double givers (Table) was Dennis Klein of Brookfield, chairman of KBS Construction, who contributed $14,150 to the candidates. Klein gave Barrett $3,150 and $6,000 on December 18, 2009 and March 3, 2010, respectively, and $5,000 to Walker on September 3, 2009.

Klein was followed by Mary Waterman with Waterman Waterpark Consulting in Wisconsin Dells contributed $200 to Walker on October 28, 2009 and $9,500 to Barrett on June 23, 2010.