Republicans have three times more cash stashed away than Dems
February 26, 2014
Madison – Republican legislative campaign committees started the 2014 election year with nearly three times more cash in their campaign accounts than Democrats, and both parties used mega-fundraising committees to milk special interests for nearly a third of the legislative campaign cash raised in 2013, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis found.
Republicans control the Senate 18-15 and dominate the Assembly 60-39, and they used those comfortable margins – made possible by a controversial redistricting plan – to maximum advantage, approving a 2013-15 state budget during the first six months of 2013 that offered a smorgasbord of tax breaks, relaxed regulations and other rewards to wealthy special interests that fuel their campaigns.
Campaign finance reports filed with the state and reviewed by the Democracy Campaign showed:
- Legislators and four legislative campaign committees used by Senate and Assembly Republican and Democratic leaders to raise special interest campaign cash had $4.14 million in their accounts December 31, including $3.09 million in Republican campaign accounts and $1.05 million in Democratic campaign accounts. Per capita, that averages $37,274 per Republican campaign committee and $18,747 for each Democratic campaign committee.
- Legislators and the four legislative campaign committees raised $3.53 million in 2013 and Republican legislative committees raised twice as much as Democrats – $2.36 million versus $1.17 million. Per capita that averages $28,448 for each Republican legislator and $20,803 for each Democratic legislator.
- The four legislative campaign committees controlled by Senate and Assembly legislative leaders raised a total of $1.07 million – 30.4 percent of the $3.53 million in total legislative fundraising in 2013. The amount raised by the legislative campaign committees ranked second behind the record for an odd-numbered year – $2.1 million in 2011 – and was just a few thousands dollars more than the total raised by the four committees in 2009.
- Twenty legislative candidate and campaign committees raised more than $50,000 in 2013, including 15 GOP committees and five Democratic committees (Table 1). Topping the list was the four legislative campaign committees – a sign of the reliance by both Republican and Democratic legislators on the pocketbooks of powerful special interests like business, manufacturing, real estate, construction, energy, transportation and health care, among others. Other top fundraisers included legislative leaders, and candidates in special Assembly elections last fall and in targeted legislative races and contests for statewide office in the 2014 general elections.
|Republican Assembly Campaign Committee||A||R||$310,208.98|
|Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee||A||D||$277,175.74|
|Committee to Elect a Republican Senate||S||R||$273,697.86|
|State Senate Democratic Committee||S||D||$210,517.71|
|Bernard Schaber, Penny||A57||D||$80,085.90|
*Table represents candidates and committees that raised $50,000 or more in 2013
- Twenty-one legislative committees had $50,000 or more in their accounts December 31, including 15 Republican committees and six Democratic fundraising committees (Table 2). At the top was the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee’s $307,330 in cash on hand followed by Fitzgerald with $281,015, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Burlington at $205,734, GOP Senate President Mike Ellis of Neenah at $182,200 and Republican Representative Howard Marklein of Spring Green at $142,259.
|Candidate||Office||Party||Cash On Hand|
|Republican Assembly Campaign Committee||A||R||$307,330.16|
|Committee to Elect a Republican Senate||S||R||$108,544.42|
|Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee||A||D||$93,100.85|
|Bernard Schaber, Penny||A57||D||$93,021.98|
|State Senate Democratic Committee||S||D||$84,458.48|
|Kaufert, Dean R||A55||R||$58,462.31|
*Table represents candidates and committee with cash on hand of $50,000 or more on December 31, 2013
- The $3.53 million in total legislative fundraising in 2013 was on par with previous, comparable odd-numbered years, like 2007 when legislative committees raised $3.86 million and 2005 when legislative committees accepted $3.35 million.
In addition to legislative fundraising committees, year-end campaign finance reports filed by Republican Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch showed they collectively raised $9.07 million in 2013 in preparation for a likely reelection bid this fall. As of December 31, Walker and Kleefisch had a combined $4.97 million in their campaign accounts.
Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke raised $1.8 million in 2013 and had $1.32 million in her campaign account December 31. So far, the only registered Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor – Senator John Lehman of Racine – raised $9,340 in 2013 and had $10,647 in his campaign account December 31.