GOP Lawmakers Led in Fundraising, Cash in Bank in 2015

April 18, 2016

Republican legislators raised nearly twice as much as their Democratic counterparts in 2015 and had nearly three times more cash in the bank at the end of the year, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis found.

Overall, legislators and four caucus fundraising committees controlled by Republican and Democratic Assembly and Senate leaders raised about $4.05 million in 2015 – about 15 percent more than the $3.53 million raised in 2013, the most recent, comparable, odd-numbered year. Last year’s legislative fundraising was second only to 2011 (see bar chart) when legislators raised a record $12.2 million because incumbents targeted in nine Senate recall elections were allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money for several weeks before their recall elections.

Chart: Legislative Fundraising in Odd-Numbered State Budget Years

Republican candidate and fundraising committees raised about $2.65 million versus the Democrats’ $1.4 million. Per capita, the 84 GOP legislative fundraising and candidate committees raised an average $31,600 each in 2015, compared to about $26,900 each by the 52 Democratic legislative committees.

Interestingly, partisan per capita fundraising was much closer in the Assembly, where Republicans sharply outnumber Democrats 63-36, than in the Senate, where GOP lawmakers hold a 19-14 majority. Assembly Republican committees raised an average of about $20,640 each, compared to about $19,000 each by Democratic committees. In the Senate, Republican legislative committees raised an average of about $66,670 each, compared to about $46,370 each for Democratic committees.

Republican legislative committees also had substantially more cash on hand at the end of December 2015 than Democratic committees. GOP legislative coffers held nearly $3.7 million, which was about 170 percent more than the nearly $1.35 million in Democratic legislative campaign accounts.

Per capita, the 84 Republican legislative committees had an average of about $43,760 each in the bank, compared to $25,920 for the 52 Democratic legislative committees, as of Dec. 31.

By house, Assembly Republican committees held an average $33,340 each and Assembly Democratic committees had about $19,760 each in the bank as of Dec. 31. In the Senate, Republican committees had an average of about $77,115 each and Democrats about $41,120 each in the bank as of Dec. 31.