Recall Election Spending Tops $60 Million

In this update: 1. Spending in governor’s race tops $60 million 2. Legal bribery 3. Trojan badgers Recall Election Spending Tops $60 Million

Email date: 5/31/12

In this update:
1. Spending in governor’s race tops $60 million
2. Legal bribery
3. Trojan badgers


Spending in governor’s race tops $60 million
Based on campaign finance reports filed this week by candidates for Wisconsin’s highest office and reports of interest group spending that are coming in daily, close to $62 million already has been spent on the recall election for governor. Governor Scott Walker has accounted for more than $29 million of that spending himself. Democratic candidates have reported spending roughly $4 million with the party’s nominee, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, accounting for $2.9 million of the total. As of this morning, outside interest groups reported spending $21.5 million on the race and so-called issue ad groups that do not disclose their spending have dumped at least another $7.5 million into the election.

Overall spending has been lopsided in favor of the Republicans so far, with somewhere between a 2-to-1 and 3-to-1 edge for the GOP.

In the most recent reporting period covering activity from April 24 to May 21, Governor Walker raised more than $5.1 million, including $4.8 million from individual donors and just over $300,000 from political action committees. Of his itemized individual contributions, 70% came from outside Wisconsin and 30% came from state residents. Overall, Walker has now raised $30.5 million and spent $29.3 million trying to fend off the recall. Of the $27.8 million he has collected from individuals since January 2011, 62% of the donations were from out of state and 38% came from Wisconsin residents.

Yesterday, the Democracy Campaign posted a list of donors who gave Walker more than $1,000 in the last month. In addition to his pre-election report, Walker also filed a special report of late contributions that shows he raised an additional $833,000 since May 21.

For his part, Barrett raised $3.1 million from April 24 to May 21, including nearly $2.6 million from individuals and $508,000 from PACs and other political committees. Of his itemized contributions in this latest reporting period, 70% came from Wisconsin and 30% came from out of state. Since he entered the race at the end of March, Barrett has raised $3.94 million and spent $2.94 million. He has collected about $3.4 million from individuals, with 74% coming from Wisconsin residents and 26% from out of state. WDC also posted a list of Barrett’s biggest donors yesterday.

The previous record for spending in a state election was set in 2010, when $37.4 million was spent in the last election for governor.


Legal bribery
With these staggering – and sickening – amounts of money being thrown at Wisconsin elections, it’s time to call it what it is. Legal bribery. The Democracy Campaign’s director and the heads of two other citizen groups did just that in a commentary that appeared in the Crossroads feature of last Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Trojan badgers
The ancient legend of the Trojan Horse is well known. To this day, it stands as a symbol of deceit and concealed agendas and sneak attacks. It’s more than a symbol these days in Wisconsin. That’s the subject of our latest Big Money Blog.