Special Interests Hedge Bets In Governor's Race

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.
Special Interests Hedge Bets In Governor’s Race

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

September 22, 2010


Auction 2010The 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.

In addition to currying favor with the winner of the governor’s race, many of these contributors may also be giving to both candidates so as not to slight the loser in November. If Barrett loses, he still remains mayor of Milwaukee and if Walker loses he remains Milwaukee County executive.

Several other double givers illustrated the bet-hedging argument even better by contributing to both Walker and Barrett on or close to the same day, including:

  • Five executives with Miron Construction in Neenah who each gave Barrett $1,000 on June 15 and then gave Walker $2,000 each on June 30. They were David Voss Jr., Timothy Kippenhan, Dean Basten, Corey Brumbaugh and Royce Alsbach.
  • Five employees of M&I Bank in Milwaukee gave Walker a total of $3,000 on June 11 and then gave Barrett a total of $1,500 on June 28. They were Richard Becker, Ann Benschoter, Patricia Justilliano, Thomas Root and Ryan Deneen.
  • Seven executives with WE Energies in Milwaukee gave Walker contributions totaling $6,500 between March 2 and March 17, and later gave Barrett the same June 22. They were Frederick Kuester, Allen Leverett, Roman Draba, Kristine Rappe, James Fleming, Gale Klappa and Susan Martin.
  • Leni Siker, president of Siker Financial Services in Milwaukee, contributed $1,175 to Walker in two contributions May 4 and May 5 and then gave Barrett three contributions – two on June 14 and another June 23 – totaling $1,200.
  • John Busby, president of Miller Compressing in Milwaukee, contributed $2,000 to Barrett on June 9 and $2,000 to Walker June 30.
  • Michael Falbo, president of Southport Bank in Kenosha, contributed $1,000 to Walker December 29 and $1,000 to Barrett on December 31.
  • John Herbert, president of network operations at Time Warner Cable in Milwaukee, contributed $1,000 to Barrett on April 16 and gave Walker $250 on April 15 and $750 on April 27.
  • Liquor distributor Aldo Madrigrano, president of WOW Distributing in Sussex, contributed $2,500 to Walker on June 4 and the same to Barrett on June 28.
  • Mark Cameli, an attorney with Reinhart, Boerner in Milwaukee, gave Barrett and Walker each $1,000 on December 19 and December 29, respectively. Later, he gave Barrett two contributions totaling $1,000 on May 13 and June 4 and Walker another $1,000 May 27.

Top* Contributors Who Gave To Both
Democrat Tom Barrett And Republican Scott Walker
July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010

Contributor City Employer Amount
Klein, Dennis J Brookfield KBS Construction $14,150
Waterman, Mary E Wisconsin Dells Waterman Waterpark Consulting $9,700
Jones, Michael T Delafield MillerCoors $9,400
Kuester, Dennis J Milwaukee M&I Bank $9,400
Burke, John J Fox Point Burke Properties $8,400
Schmidt, Richard L Brookfield CG Schmidt $7,411
Nasgovitz, William J Milwaukee Heartland Advisors $7,150
Graham, William T Evansville Agrecol Corp. $7,000
Knauf, Jeffrey Pewaukee Beacon Hill Advisory Group $6,500
Mian, Riaz M Franklin Mian's Oil Company Inc. $6,200
Meeusen, Richard A Pewaukee Badger Meter $6,000
Stollenwerk, John J Mequon Allen Edmonds Shoes $5,600
Fallucca, Angelo Mequon Palermo Villa Inc. $5,500
Irgens, Mark F Wauwatosa Irgens Development Partners $5,250
Wright, Charles F Madison Fall River Group $5,090
Crichton, John Milwaukee Shoreline Co. $5,000
Madrigrano, Aldo Waukesha WOW Distributing $5,000
Kritzik, Stanley Milwaukee Metropolitan Associates $5,000
Giuffre, Dominic J Milwaukee Giuffre Brothers Cranes $4,800
Marcus, Stephen H Milwaukee Marcus Corp. $4,750
Busby, John E Milwaukee Miller Compressing Co. $4,600
Mandel, Barry R Milwaukee Mandel Group $4,500
Fallucca, Giacomo Grafton Palermo Villa Inc. $4,500
Greenberg, Beverly Y Milwaukee Time Warner Cable $4,500
Pieper, Richard R Mequon Pieper Electric $4,400
Meyer, George C Elm Grove Kahler Slater Architects $4,150
Cameli, Mark A Brookfield Reinhart, Boerner, et al $4,000
Broydrick, Cynthia Delafield Broydrick & Associates $3,986
Culver, Curt S Nashotah MGIC Corp. $3,500
Reinsdorf, Jerry Chicago Chicago White Sox & Chicago Bulls $3,500

*Table shows contributors who gave a combined $3,500 or more to Barrett and Walker