Walker Has Received $2.4 Million in Contributions, Help From School Voucher Supporters

February 5, 2015

Wealthy individuals throughout the country who support an expansion of school vouchers in Wisconsin have contributed nearly $1.3 million since 2009 to Republican Governor Scott Walker and dropped another $1.1 million to help him win his contentious 2012 recall election.

Amid that flow of contributions and outside election help, Walker has increased spending by millions of dollars and expanded the school voucher program in Wisconsin since he was first elected in 2010. Walker’s latest proposal unveiled Tuesday as part of his 2013-15 state budget again expands the number of students who can use the voucher program on the public dime by – this time by eliminating the statewide cap of 1,000 students in the 2015-16 school year, among other things.

The largest contributions between 2009 and July 2014 to Walker from voucher supporters came from Robert and Patricia Kern of Waukesha, founders of Generac Corp., $220,000; investor Foster Friess and his wife, Lynnette, of Jackson, Wyo., $130,700; hedge fund founder Bruce Kovner and his wife, Suzie, of New York City, $120,000; and retired New York City financier Roger Hertog, $120,000.

In addition to direct contributions, the governor was also aided by an estimated $1.1 million in outside electioneering help from the Washington, D.C.-based American Federation for Children . The organization sponsored television ads in the Eau Claire and La Crosse television markets to support Walker.