June 29, 2015
Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign failed to report donor occupation and employment information required by state law for more than 3,600 individual contributions that totaled more than $1.6 million in 2014, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.
The Democracy Campaign filed a complaint with the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB), alleging that Walker’s campaign violated Chapter 11 of the state’s campaign finance laws, which requires a candidate to identify the occupation and employer’s name for contributors who give a candidate more than $100 in a calendar year.
Employer and occupational information is a critical element of campaign finance disclosure because it allows citizens to see the special interests behind the contributions seeking to influence their elected officials.
In addition to contributors with missing employer and occupational information, the Democracy Campaign’s review of Walker’s 2014 campaign finance reports also found that about 120 contributions with missing employer information also lacked contributor addresses. Those contributions ranged from $105 to $9,000, and totaled nearly $59,000.
Walker’s 2014 campaign finance reports lacked required employer and occupational data for 1,120 contributors who gave $500 or more; 486 contributors who gave $1,000 or more; 95 contributors who gave $2,500 or more; 18 contributors who gave $5,000 or more; and three contributors who gave $10,000. (See table below.)
|10/20/2014||Meinerz, Sue M.||Wauwatosa||WI||$10,000|
|3/25/2014||Harding-Brown, Gregory||Santa Barbara||CA||$10,000|
|8/11/2014||Seidel, Kathleen||New York||NY||$5,000|
|8/4/2014||Hope, Jason||Sioux Falls||SD||$5,000|
|10/1/2014||Kunza, Joel||Ham Lake||MN||$5,000|
The Democracy Campaign’s complaint cited 143 contributions of more than $1,000 that lacked required address, employer or occupational information about the contributor, and provided supporting evidence from Walker’s campaign finance reports. The Democracy Campaign also asked the GAB to review all of Walker’s 2014 campaign finance reports for disclosure violations and take appropriate action. The law allows the GAB, which can initiate its own investigations of campaign finance violations without a complaint, to levy civil fines of up to $500 per violation.
Walker and other candidates may amend their campaign finance reports at any time, and as many times as they want. But the employer and other identifying information for these 2014 contributors has been missing from the public eye for at least five months for contributions made as late as last December, and, in many cases for nearly a year.
For instance, nearly 1,000 contributions with missing information that total about $434,500 were made during the first six months of 2014 – a year ago and longer. Those contributions were initially disclosed in a campaign finance report due last July, so the governor has had about 11 months to find and disclose the missing information through amended reports.
More than 1,850 contributors to Walker with missing information were from outside Wisconsin and gave the governor about $750,600, or 47 percent, of his $1.6 million in contributions with missing information. Topping the list of total contributions with missing contributor information from other states was California, $102,424; Florida, $88,195; Illinois, $86,138; Texas, $59,718; and Minnesota, $51,140.
Summary and Notes
3,657 individual contributions of more than $100 that lacked donor address or employment/occupational information. These contributions total $1,606,943.
The complaint cited Ch. 11.06 of state statutes.
123 contributions lacked a contributor street address, and 116 of those contributions lacked a street address, city, state and zip code. The 123 contributions ranged from $105 to $9,000 and totaled $58,972.
970 contributions with missing contributor information were made during the first six months of 2014. These contributions totaled $434,483.
1,855 contributions, or 47 percent, were from outside Wisconsin. These contributions totaled $750,589.