Retirees Continue to Top Walker’s Donor Base

June 5, 2015

Wealthy retirees and homemakers were Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s most generous contributors in 2014, giving more than $4.7 million of the nearly $22.2 million in large individual and political action committee contributions he accepted from special interest groups to fuel his reelection.

Individual contributions from retirees and homemakers accounted for about $1 of every $5, or 21.5 percent, of the large special interest contributions Walker accepted in 2014. Walker got $1.6 million from retirees in Wisconsin, followed by about $487,000 from retirees in Florida, about $416,000 from retirees in California, and nearly $254,000 from retirees in Illinois.

Retirees were also Walker’s top contributors in 2010 when he was first elected.

The Democracy Campaign tracks individuals whose contributions to a statewide or legislative candidate total $100 or more in a calendar year, and assigns the contributors to one of about two dozen special interest groups, based on their employer and occupation. Those special interest groups include business, manufacturing, construction, real estate, insurance, transportation, and energy.

Walker’s top retiree contributions were $20,500 from Louis Maier, M. Jean Maier, and Katheryn Maier, of Mequon; $18,000 from Robert and Margaret Schuemann, of River Hills; $15,000 from George and Julie Mosher, of Milwaukee; and $15,000 from Grant and Carol Nelson, of Prescott. An individual contributor can contribute up to $10,000 to a candidate for governor in each four-year election cycle.

Louis Maier is the former chairman of Emjay Corp. in Milwaukee; Robert Schuemann is a retired executive of Signicast Corp. in Milwaukee; the Moshers are founders of National Business Furniture in Milwaukee; and the Nelsons run the Nelson Family Foundation in Prescott.

After retirees and homemakers, GOP and conservative political and ideological interests were Walker’s second largest special interest backers, giving him nearly $3.4 million in 2014. Walker’s top political and ideological contributions were $2.1 million from the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and $1.1 million from People for Rebecca Kleefisch, which is the lieutenant governor’s campaign committee.

Retirees and political groups were also the top special interest contributors to Walker’s opponent in 2014, Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke. Burke received about
$2.1 million, or 24 percent, of her $8.6 million in large individual and PAC contributions from retirees, followed by nearly $1.2 million from Democratic political and ideological groups.