Guv’s Out-of-State Contributions Top $1M

Members of one family are Doyle’s largest in-state and out-of-state donors

July 18, 2006

Madison - Democratic Governor Jim Doyle raised a record $415,113 from outside Wisconsin in 2005 and surpassed the $1 million mark in total out-of-state campaign contributions since 2002 when he was elected governor, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

The WDC review found Doyle has raised $1.15 million from out-of-state individuals in four years, from 2002 through 2005, and is only about $42,000 shy of raising more out-of-state contributions than former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson accepted during his last eight years in office – $1.19 million from 1993 through 2000 (see chart).

His Republican challenger, Mark Green, raised $117,000 in out-of-state funds since 2002, including $72,163 he accepted from 2002 through 2004 as a congressman and later transferred from his congressional campaign account to his state account to run for governor. Green’s largest annual out-of-state contributions since 2002 came last year – $44,837 – when he formally entered the race for governor.

Green’s largest batch of out-of-state special interest contributions came from lawyers, lobbyists and consultants who gave him $31,034 from 2002 through 2005. As with most Wisconsin candidates for statewide office, Green accepted the most out-of-state contributions from Illinois at, $49,966, followed by Minnesota contributors who gave him $15,666 and Virginia donors who gave him $11,000.

Illinois led in out-of-state contributions to Doyle – at $300,138 from 2002 through 2005. But Doyle also drew substantial out-of-state contributions from states other than Wisconsin’s neighbors, most notably California which ranked second in out-of-state contributions to Doyle at $176,002 during the four-year period. Much of Doyle’s California contributions came from investment companies, the health care and insurance industries and developers. After Illinois and California, Florida ranked third at $79,528, Texas fourth at $63,080 and Michigan fifth at $60,925.

In an unusual twist, members of one family represent Doyle’s largest Wisconsin, as well as out-of-state contributors from 2002 through 2005. The family is leading an effort to build a controversial $800 million off-reservation gambling casino in Kenosha, a project that will eventually need a final okay from Doyle if it is approved by federal authorities.

Topping the list of out-of-state contributors was Nathan and Tina Cambio of Highland Park, Illinois, who gave Doyle $20,000 each from 2002 through 2005. Tina Cambio is the daughter of Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha, who has partnered with two Indian tribes to build the mega casino. Nathan Cambio works for one of Troha’s companies, ATC Leasing. Meanwhile, Troha, his wife Natalie and eight other family members who live in Wisconsin and work for his companies contributed $152,500 to Doyle from 2002 through 2005, making them Doyle’s leading Wisconsin benefactors.

All told, the Troha family members and company employees have given $236,842 in direct contributions to Doyle since 2002. In addition, Dennis Troha has contributed $50,000 to the Democratic Governors Association which plans to help Doyle’s reelection campaign in November, and three members of the family have contributed a total of $25,000 to the state Democratic Party.

Over the past several months Doyle and Green said they would return thousands of dollars in contributions from top out-of-state contributors after WDC revealed the donors were the subject of federal or state investigations, indictments or other legal proceedings.

Last January, Green said he would return $8,013 from two Illinois contributors – Stuart Levine and Nicholas Hurtgen – who were among Green’s top five out-of-state contributors between 2002 and 2005 because they were indicted on numerous federal corruption charges.

Recently, Doyle said he would return $10,000 in campaign contributions from attorneys in a New York law firm charged with paying kickbacks to people to sue corporations. Doyle also pledged to return a $5,000 contribution from an Illinois contributor because the governor received the contribution when the donor’s company was negotiating an out-of-court settlement in 2005 with the state Justice Department involving a complaint about the company’s business practices.

Out-of-state contributions to Doyle and Green between 2002 and 2005 made up about 14 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of their total large individual contributions. Out-of-state contributions to Thompson ranged from 8 percent to 16 percent of his total large individual contributions annually from 1993 through 2000, and averaged 12 percent annually during the period.

Chart

Chart: Annual Out-of-State Contributions to Wisconsin Governors