High Court Candidate’s Campaign Finance Report Lacks Required Donor ID

January 17, 2018

Blind Justice

The latest campaign finance report filed by Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns did not identify required occupational information for any of the contributors who gave him more than $200, as required by law.

A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found that Burns’s report, which was filed Tuesday, showed he received $135,518 from individual contributors between July 1 and December 31. Burns’s report shows about 160 individual contributions of more than $200 which totaled $84,650. None of these listed the donor’s occupation.

State law requires legislative and statewide candidates to identify the occupations of contributors who give them more than $200 in a calendar year.

Campaign finance reports for the final six months of 2017 that were filed by the other two state Supreme Court candidates showed:

Rebecca Dallet raised $224,241 in individual contributions, including about 300 contributions of more than $200 that totaled about $164,100. Her report listed the occupational information about the donors. For two $250 contributions, her campaign requested occupational information from the donors.

Michael Screnock raised $103,210 in individual contributions, including about 75 contributions of more than $200 that totaled about $75,390. All of Screnock’s plus-$200 contributions contained occupational information about the donors.

Previous state law required Wisconsin candidates to identify both the occupations and the employers of contributors who gave them more than $100 in a calendar year.

In the sweeping changes to campaign finance law approved in 2015 by the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the requirement to list the employer was dropped.

Employer data about contributors to legislative and statewide candidates is important because it shows the public the special interests that are supporting and influencing candidates. This information often goes a long way in explaining how elected officials act on public policy and spending matters.

To view the candidates’ contributors, go here and click on the candidate’s name.  Employer information for the contributors was added by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Contributions to these candidates can also be found in our searchable individual and PAC contributor databases.

The three candidates will face off in a Feb. 20 primary, and the top two finishers will go on to the April 3 general election.