Dan Kelly’s Big Guns

March 3, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly held a fundraiser at a shooting range a day after a gunman killed five people and himself at the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee.

The Feb. 27 fundraiser at a Waukesha shooting range offered participants three levels of giving – $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000 – that were named after automatic weapons.

A day earlier, five Molson Coors employees were fatally shot by Anthony Ferrill, a co-worker, before he killed himself.

Kelly was endorsed in mid-February by the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest pro-gun group. So far, the NRA has not contributed to Kelly’s campaign or sponsored electioneering activities in the race.

Between January 1998 and December 2019, the NRA spent more than $5.5 million on outside electioneering activities to support GOP and conservative legislative and statewide candidates. The bulk of the NRA’s electioneering spending, more than $4.4 million, went to support Walker’s 2010 general, 2012 recall, and 2014 and 2018 reelection campaigns.

In addition to outside electioneering activities, NRA political action committees have directly contributed $121,950 to all legislative and statewide candidates between January 1998 and December 2019.

Kelly’s 10 largest individual contributors between July 2018 and Feb. 3, 2020 were:

Fred and Sandra Young Jr., Racine, retired owners of Young Radiator, $30,000,

William and Suzanne Barry, Brookfield, owners of Speed Systems, $22,500,

Diane Hendricks, Beloit, owner of ABC Supply, $20,000,

Thomas and Connie Schuette, Wausau, retired owners of Wausau Homes, $20,000,

Timothy Michels, Hartland, vice president of Michels Corp., and his wife, Barbara, $20,000,

Kim Hendricks, Janesville, a retired ABC Supply executive, $20,000,

Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, Lake Forest, Ill., owners of Uline Corp., $20,000,

Kathryn Burke, Milwaukee, owner of Burke Properties, $20,000,

Donald Zietlow, Onalaska, owner of Kwik Trip, $20,000,

Craig Leipold, Racine, owner of the Minnesota Wild hockey team, $11,000.

Kelly, a conservative with Republican backing, was appointed in 2016 to fill a vacancy on the high court by former GOP Gov. Scott Walker. Kelly faces Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, who is backed by Democrats, in the April 7 spring elections.

Kelly authored a Supreme Court decision in 2017 that prohibited the city of Madison from banning guns on city busses under a state’s concealed carry law.