Governor Candidates Lean Heavily on Few Big Donors

Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and Republican challenger Mark Green accepted the majority of their campaign contributions between January and June 2006 from wealthy donors who gave them $1,000 or more, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary analysis shows. Governor Candidates Lean Heavily on Few Big Donors

Doyle raised $1 of every $3 from outside Wisconsin

July 27, 2006

Madison -

In addition, the WDC review found that Doyle took an astounding 32 percent of his $1.54 million in individual contributions from donors outside of Wisconsin.

WDC conducted the analysis following Green’s claims that his fundraising during the first six months of 2006 was the result of a “broad, statewide grassroots coalition….” Green boasted nearly two-thirds of 8,523 contributions he received were less than $100.

However, he received most of his cash from a small pool of elite, well-heeled donors. Green raised $1.5 million from about 6,700 donors. Of that amount:

  • $100,000, or 7 percent, came from 10 people, or one-tenth of a percent of his donors, who gave him the maximum $10,000 contribution;
  • $287,794, or 19 percent, came from 50 people, or seven-tenths of a percent of his donors, who gave him $5,000 or more;
  • $415,594, or 28 percent, came from 105 people, or 1.6 percent of his donors, who gave him $2,500 or more;
  • $470,286, or 31 percent, came from 136 people, or 2 percent of his donors, who gave him $2,000 or more;
  • $767,250, or 51 percent, came from 364 people, or 5.4 percent of his donors, who gave him $1,000 or more.

Green also received $68,776, or 5 percent of his individual contributions from 90 out-of-state donors. Most of those contributions – $41,000 – came from eight wealthy contributors from California, Arkansas, Michigan, Wyoming and Virginia who support expanding Milwaukee’s school voucher program which uses more than $100 million in state and local tax dollars to send children from low-income families to private and religious schools.

WDC also contends Green should return $182,545 in political action committee funds, including $121,247 in PAC contributions he collected between January and June 2006. State law limits to $485,000 the amount a candidate for governor can raise from PACs in a four-year election cycle. Green already has raised $667,545 in PAC money by tapping his congressional campaign account and subsequent fundraising.

Doyle, who raised $1.54 million in individual contributions between January and June, took in a record $488,067, or 32 percent of his individual contributions, from out-of-state donors. The percentage of out-of-state individual contributions to Wisconsin governors since 1993 has ranged from 4 percent to 16 percent of their total annual individual fundraising.

California led Doyle’s out-of-state contributions at $131,610, followed by Illinois at $92,345 and New York at $79,555. Leading the list of contributors grouped by employer were executives of Cisco Systems in California who gave Doyle $37,500, followed by Newmark Knight Frank, a New York real estate advisory firm, at $33,500 and Entrust Capital, a New York investment firm, at $16,000. Previously, Newmark Knight employees had never contributed to a Wisconsin candidate. Prior contributions by Cisco and Entrust employees amounted to $250 to former Governor Scott McCallum in June 2000 and $500 to Doyle in October 2002, respectively.

Doyle also got more money from chiropractors during the first six months of 2006 than he ever received in a six-month period, or in a year. His campaign finance report shows he accepted 226 contributions totaling $68,876, all on June 21.

A review of large individual contributions to Doyle showed he raised $1.54 million from about 3,500 individuals. Of that amount:

  • $320,000, or 21 percent, came from 32 donors, or nine-tenths of a percent of his contributors, who gave him the maximum $10,000 contribution;
  • $683,000, or 44 percent, came from 100 donors, or 2.9 percent of his contributors, who gave him $5,000 or more;
  • $833,100, or 54 percent, came from 149 donors, or 4.3 percent of his contributors, who gave him $2,500 or more;
  • $927,530, or 60 percent, came from 196 donors, or 5.6 percent of his contributors, who gave him $2,000 or more;
  • $1.13 million, or 73 percent, came from 374 donors, or 10.7 percent of his contributors, who gave him $1,000 or more.