Top Donors to “Nonpartisan” Supreme Court Candidates Are Pointedly Partisan

February 12, 2015

Races for the Wisconsin Supreme Court are supposed to be nonpartisan. But you can tell how partisan the current race is by looking at the donors to Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and Judge James Daley.

Most of the top contributors to incumbent Justice Ann Walsh Bradley have given overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates and top contributors to her challenger, James Daley, have given nearly all of their money to Republicans in past, partisan elections.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign examined the largest contributions – here and here – from the candidates’ two most recent campaign finance reports covering July 1, 2014, through Feb. 2, 2015.

Twenty-two of Daley’s top donors, who gave him between $1,000 and $10,000, have given a total of nearly $1.6 million between 2009 and July 2014 to partisan candidates for statewide office and the legislature. All but $7,000 went to Republican candidates. That’s 99.6 percent to Republicans.

Daley’s largest contributions were $10,000 each from Diane Hendricks , owner of ABC Supply in Beloit; William B. Johnson, owner of Johnson Timber in Hayward; Robert Greenheck, owner of Greenheck Fan Corp. in Weston; and Brent Fox, a Hendricks Holding Corp. executive in Janesville.

Between 2009 and July 2014, Hendricks contributed $546,800 to partisan candidates between 2009 and July 2014, and all but $250 went to Republicans; Johnson, and his wife, Rebecca, contributed $25,750, and all but $4,000 went to Republicans; Greenheck contributed $14,750, all to Republicans; and Fox, and his wife, Celease, contributed $13,700, all to Republicans.

Bradley received $10,000 from 10 contributors. These donors, their employers and their total contributions to partisan candidates between 2009 and July 2014 were:

Bradley’s husband, Mark, of Wausau, a Ruder Ware executive, $22,849;

Timothy Erdman, Madison, owner of Erdman Holdings, $10,450;

Judith and Gordon Faulkner, Madison, owners of Epic Systems, $48,000;

John C. and Katherine Miller, Kohler, owners of Miller St. Nazianz, $58,028;

John W. Miller, Cedarburg, a Miller St. Nazianz executive, $33,750;

Michael Price, Madison, a Visionary Medical Supplies executive, $17,500;

Joseph F. Sensenbrenner, Madison, a Center for Resilient Cities director, $58,320;

Lynde Uihlein, Milwaukee, founder of the Brico Fund, $55,650.

All of the partisan contributions from each of these donors went to Democratic candidates. That’s 100 percent to Democrats.