Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's press releases and special reports cover issues central to our mission, including campaign fundraising, political corruption and more.

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Walker Raises Twice as Much as All of the Democratic Candidates

Scale Comparing Walker and Democratic Fundraising

July 17, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker raised more than double of all of the eight remaining Democratic candidates for governor combined during the first six months of 2018.

Walker Received “Pay-to-Play” Contribution from Exec of Investment Company

Greased Palms

July 16, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker accepted a $2,700 federal campaign contribution from the founder of a Texas investment firm that recently agreed to pay $500,000 to settle pay-to-play claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Convicted Fraudster and WEDC Borrower Was Generous Republican Donor

Silhouette of man with briefcase

July 12, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s job creation agency has written off a $1.1 million state loan to a De Pere businessman accused of defrauding the agency. The individual, Ron Van Den Heuvel, was once a generous contributor to GOP legislative and statewide candidates.

Conservative Justices Accepted $37K From Groups in Malpractice Case

Gavel with Drugs

July 3, 2018

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority accepted more than $37,000 in campaign contributions from health care, insurance and business groups they sided with in a recent medical malpractice case.

Influence Peddler of the Month for July 2018 - National Democratic Redistricting Committee

National Democratic Redistricting Committee Logo

July 2, 2018

This is a new group that advocates redistricting reform and supports Democratic candidates for state and federal offices throughout the country. In its first six months of outside spending on Wisconsin legislative and statewide elections, three of the four candidates backed by the committee won their races.

Trump Fundraiser Hosted by Walker Big Donor

Trump on $100 Bill

June 27, 2018

GOP President Donald Trump was scheduled to headline a Republican Party fundraiser on Thursday before joining Gov. Scott Walker to break ground for Foxconn’s proposed manufacturing plant in Racine County.

Foxconn Bid Winners Are Generous Contributors to Walker

Walker signing Foxconn deal

June 27, 2018

Owners and employees from six of eight companies chosen by Foxconn to construct a $14 million building at its future Racine County manufacturing plant contributed nearly $180,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns.

Here’s Who Receives Harley-Davidson, Sartori Campaign Contributions in Wisconsin

Governor Scott Walker on a motorcycle

June 26, 2018

Here’s a look at the campaign contributions by Harley-Davidson and Sartori Foods employees to legislative and statewide candidates in Wisconsin.

State Watchdog Says Campaign Contributions Can Be Used for Child Care

Toy Wooden Blocks Spelling Child

June 22, 2018

Wisconsin candidates may use campaign contributions to pay for child care when they are campaigning, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission says.

10 Questions for Wisconsin State Candidates

Boy asking questions of a candidate

June 22, 2018

1. Are you for banning gerrymandering in Wisconsin? In other words, do you back the Iowa model of independent, nonpartisan, and transparent map drawing by career civil servants – not the party in power?

2. Are you in favor of rewriting our campaign finance law to ban corporations, unions, and other groups from giving directly to political parties and legislative campaign committees?

Road Project Companies Contributed $220K+ to Walker’s Campaign

Traffic Cones

June 20, 2018

Owners and employees of nine of the 15 companies picked by the state to rebuild a portion of Interstate 94 have contributed about $221,200 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns.

Outside Groups Spent $4M+ So Far on Legislative, Statewide Elections

$100 Bills

June 18, 2018

Twenty special interests groups spent an estimated $4.1 million so far this year on a statewide spring election and three legislative special elections.

Corporate Welfare Recipients Contributed $800K+ to Walker

Hands Shaking Before Falling Dollars

June 13, 2018

Owners and employees from about two dozen companies that received corporate welfare from the state in 2017 have contributed more than $800,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

Redistricting Leaves Nearly 2.5 Million Residents With No Choice in Legislative Elections

Locked Ballot Box

Posted: June 6, 2018
Updated: June 12, 2018

(This article has been revised to reflect changes to the fall legislative ballot made by the Wisconsin Elections Commission on June 11.)

Nearly 2.5 million Wisconsin residents will have little or no choice in the fall elections about who represents them in the state legislature, according to a review by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Special Election Candidates Get Most Contributions from Outside Their Districts

Polling Place Sign with Luggage

June 11, 2018

The major party candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s legislative special elections accepted about $3 of every $4 in large individual contributions from outside of the districts they want to represent, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Group, Candidate Spending Tops $1.2M in Two Legislative Special Elections

Dollars Floating on Black Background

June 8, 2018

Candidates and outside special interest groups have spent more than $1.2 million in two legislative special elections the voters will decide June 12.

High Court Approves New Factory Farm Sought by Large GOP Contributors

Factory Dairy

June 5, 2018

Owners of a proposed factory farm who are generous contributors to GOP legislative and statewide candidates can go ahead with their controversial project in Wood County, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Outside Spending Mounts in Senate Special Election

Stacks of Hundred Dollar Bills

June 1, 2018

Outside group spending is escalating in a special election in northeastern Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District, where Democratic organizations were outspending a Republican group nearly 2-to-1.

Influence Peddler of the Month for June 2018 - American Federation for Children

June 1, 2018

(This profile updates information and figures in a previous October 2016 feature.)

This is a pro-school-voucher group based in Washington, D.C., that has spent more than $6.5 million on outside electioneering activities to back mostly Republican legislative candidates in Wisconsin since 2010.

Dem Groups Boost Spending in Special Elections

Cash Register

May 30, 2018

Outside groups supporting Democrats are pouring money into two upcoming legislative special elections in Wisconsin.

The elections in the 1st Senate and 42nd Assembly districts are scheduled June 12 to fill the vacant seats.

Wisconsin Pols Took Contributions from Accused Drug Makers


May 24, 2018

Five drug makers accused of stoking the nation’s opioid epidemic in lawsuits filed by Wisconsin counties contributed more than $39,000 to Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates.

More than three-quarters of Wisconsin’s 72 counties sued the pharmaceutical manufacturers last year, accusing them of fraudulently marketing painkillers that led to an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths that has cost the counties millions of dollars in social service, law enforcement, and health care costs.

State Investigating Incident at Sand Mine Owned by Large Walker Donor


May 23, 2018

The state is investigating the release of an estimated 10 million gallons of sludge into the Trempealau River by a sand mining company whose owner is a large Republican Party contributor.

The company, Hi-Crush Proppants, of Houston, Tex., said it released the muddy water in a holding pond on Monday to free a bulldozer driver who had slipped into the pond.  The water and bright orange sediment flowed into nearby farm fields and a tributary and into the river.

Major Walker Donor Named Chief Planner for Foxconn Project

May 15, 2018

A company owned by a major donor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker was named the chief planner for the taxpayer-subsidized Foxconn manufacturing plant.

Foxconn said Monday that the Hammes Co., in Milwaukee, was chosen to be the lead developer for the 2,900-acre project. The company is led by Jon Hammes, who is Walker’s campaign finance chairman for his November reelection bid. Hammes was also finance chairman for Walker’s brief 2015 GOP presidential campaign.

State GOP Backing Newcomer in State Senate Special Election

May 10, 2018

The state Republican Party is backing a newcomer over a GOP Assembly lawmaker in next week's primary for a special election in the 1st Senate District.

Recent campaign finance reports show Alex Renard, a manager at his family-owned Renco Machine Co. in Green Bay, received about $34,400 in in-kind contributions last month from the state GOP. Renard faces Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, in a May 15 primary. Jacque, who has been elected to two-year terms to the Assembly since 2010, has not received any party contributions in his bid for the Senate seat.