What's Up with Wisconsin Progress and the ADCC?

A group that recruits and trains Democratic candidates to run for state and local offices made more than $97,000 in contributions to an Assembly Democratic fundraising committee during the latter half of 2016, according to a campaign finance report filed by the committee. This appears to exceed the legal contribution limit by a factor of eight. What’s Up with Wisconsin Progress and the ADCC?

March 21, 2017

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The contributions from Wisconsin Progress, which totaled $97,340, were reported as “matching in-kind” donations for “Research – Survey” expenses by the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee’s segregated fund in its 2016 year-end report. The committee is one of four legislative campaign committees used by Democratic and Republican Senate and Assembly leaders to raise money from special interests to spend on elections.

Under state law, corporations, associations, labor unions and tribes can contribute up to $12,000 in a calendar year to segregated funds created by legislative campaign committees and political parties. Unlimited contributions are allowed from one political action committee (PAC) to another; from one party committee to another; from a party committee to a PAC; and from an individual to a PAC or party committee. But, Wisconsin Progress doesn’t appear to fit in any of those that can give unlimited contributions.

Reid Magney, a spokesman for Wisconsin’s Ethics and Elections commissions, said Wisconsin Progress was an unregistered committee, and “we can’t say if it’s corporate or something else, but either way it appears to be contributions in excess of the limits,” as reported by the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed complaints on March 21 against the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee and Wisconsin Progress, alleging the contributions violated state campaign finance law.