Construction Firm Executives’ Campaign Donations
Exceed Legal Limit

Fond du Lac Builder Gives Governor $37,000 in One Day, $4,000 to Senator & Over $2,500 to Lt. Governor

August 2, 1999

Madison - Two executives of C.D. Smith Construction of Fond du Lac exceeded the limit in state law on individual contributions to candidates for state office with their donations to Governor Tommy Thompson, Lieutenant Governor Scott McCallum and Senator Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh).

State law limits overall contributions to candidates from an individual in a year to $10,000. Company Vice President Gary Smith exceeded the limit by making a $10,000 contribution to Governor Thompson in March and then a $1,000 donation to Senator Roessler last month. C.D. Smith Construction’s President and CEO Thomas D. Baker also gave the governor $10,000 on the same day in March, $569 worth of contributions to Lieutenant Governor McCallum in February and April, and a $1,000 contribution to Senator Roessler he made jointly with Virginia Baker in June, pushing him over the law’s aggregate limit on individual donations.

Baker, Smith and three other C.D. Smith Construction executives gave a total of $37,000 to Governor Thompson on March 26, campaign finance records show. Along with the $10,000 contributions from Baker and Smith, the governor also received $7,500 contributions from both Thomas J. Baker and Robert Baker on the same day, as well as a $2,000 contribution from Robert J. Pertzborn.

Senator Roessler, who is a member of the state Building Commission chaired by the governor, received the $1,000 donation from Gary Smith as well as another $1,000 contribution from Thomas J. and Cindy Baker on June 1, and then received the $1,000 contribution from Thomas D. and Virginia Baker and a $1,000 donation from Robert Baker on June 10.

In addition to the $569 in donations from Thomas D. Baker, Lieutenant Governor McCallum received $1,000 from both Robert Baker and Thomas J. Baker, bringing their total contributions for the year to $9,500, just under the aggregate $10,000 limit.

Before the recent spree of campaign contributions, executives from C.D. Smith Construction had given a total of just $4,450 to Governor Thompson over a period spanning more than five years and dating back to June 1993.

“This company obviously wanted to get noticed,” WDC Executive Director Gail Shea said of the spate of political donations. "In giving so much in such a short period of time, we noticed they didn’t follow the law."