Raffle Bill Draws Curious Supporters

January 29, 2015

A legislative proposal that deregulates raffles held by charitable, religious and other groups in Wisconsin has some curious backers – pro-gun and hunter groups whose supporters and members have also contributed about $10,000 to the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors.

The measure, Senate Bill 8 , expands the number of raffles that groups may hold, removes limits on raffle ticket prices and reduces the state Department of Administration’s authority to regulate the events.

Shortly after the proposal was introduced, it drew support this week from the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators (FORCE) , which is a state group chartered by the National Rifle Association .

Thirteen of the bill’s Republican sponsors and cosponsors received individual and political action committee contributions from the groups’ members or supporters that totaled $10,062 between 2011 and October 20, 2014. The leading recipients and the contributions they accepted were: State Senators Luther Olsen of Ripon, $1,990, and Jerry Petrowski of Marathon, $1,925; Representative Mary Czaja of Irma, $930; Senator Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac, $775; and Representative Jeffrey Mursau of Oak Creek, $660.

In addition to direct campaign contributions, the NRA Political Victory PAC spent a total of $8,526 on independent expenditures during elections since 2011 to support five of the bill’s sponsors. Olsen received the lion’s share of NRA electioneering support at $6,086.