One Person, One Vote, No Voice

Big Contributions from Outside Special Interests Trump Voters in Many Legislative Elections

July 26, 2005

Madison – Half of the Wisconsin legislators elected last November accepted two-thirds or more of their large individual campaign contributions in the 2004 election cycle from wealthy special interests who could not vote for them, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

The figures mean that many Wisconsin voters are probably marginally or poorly represented by their legislators because state representatives or state senators who receive most of their campaign contributions from outside of their districts are more beholden to the policy wishes of wealthy special interests than they are to the needs of their constituents.

The WDC analysis found that:

  • Fifty-six legislators, including 51 from the Assembly and five from the Senate received 66 percent or more of their large individual campaign contributions, which are total donations of $100 or more from the same person in a year, from non-constituents (see table below). This comprises more than half of the 99-member Assembly and one in three of the 15 state senators elected last fall.
  • Forty-two legislators, or one in three elected in November, accepted 75 percent or more of their large individual campaign contributions from people who could not vote for them.
  • Eighty-two legislators, or 71 percent of the 115 seats up for election, received more than 50 percent of their large campaign contributions from outside of their districts.

Two legislators – Democratic Representatives Frederick Kessler of Milwaukee and Robert Turner of Racine – received all of their large individual campaign contributions from outside their districts. Kessler accepted $5,700 and Turner $2,558.

Sixteen legislators received 90 percent or more of their large individual contributions from wealthy non-constituents, including Republican Assembly Speaker John Gard of Peshtigo who accepted the highest amount of any legislator from wealthy contributors outside his district – $315,011 or 96 percent of his large individual contributions.

Two other legislators also accepted more than $100,000 in contributions from outside their districts. Republican Senator Dan Kapanke of La Crosse accepted $152,845 or 60 percent of his large contributions from outside his district. Kapanke’s 32nd District race drew large amounts of money because he was vying for an open seat after Democratic Senator Mark Meyer decided not to run for reelection. Republican Senator Alberta Darling of River Hills, then co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee, raised $117,675 or 44 percent of her large contributions from outside of her district.

Only nine of 115 legislators up for election accepted less than 33 percent of their large individual contributions from outside of their district. This does not include Democratic Representative Peggy Krusick of Milwaukee who did not receive any large individual campaign contributions.

As a whole, Republican legislators raised $3 million in large individual contributions including $2.01 million, or 67 percent, from outside of their districts. Democratic legislators raised $981,758 in large individual contributions, including $633,814, or 65 percent, from outside of their districts.

Table
2004 Election Cycle In-District and Out-of-District Large Individual Contributions to Legislators

Candidate Office Party Total
Contributions
In-District
Contributions
In-District
Percentage
Out-District
Contributions
Out-District
Percentage
Kessler, Frederick A12 D $5,700.00 $0.00 0% $5,700.00 100%
Turner, Robert A61 D $2,558.00 $0.00 0% $2,558.00 100%
Colon, Pedro A08 D $12,425.00 $100.00 1% $12,325.00 99%
Fields, Jason M A11 D $8,150.00 $100.00 1% $8,050.00 99%
Gard, John A89 R $328,814.69 $13,804.09 4% $315,010.60 96%
Williams, Annette A10 D $3,750.00 $200.00 5% $3,550.00 95%
Kaufert, Dean A55 R $28,551.00 $1,575.00 6% $26,976.00 94%
Nelson, Thomas A05 D $58,625.50 $3,745.00 6% $54,880.50 94%
Jensen, Scott R A98 R $35,600.00 $2,350.00 7% $33,250.00 93%
Nerison, Lee A A96 R $64,577.91 $4,492.01 7% $60,085.90 93%
Fitzgerald, Jeff A39 R $31,278.50 $2,210.00 7% $29,068.50 93%
Taylor , Lena C S04 D $48,552.50 $3,717.50 8% $44,835.00 92%
Zepnick, Josh A09 D $5,026.50 $400.00 8% $4,626.50 92%
Young , Leon A16 D $2,100.00 $200.00 10% $1,900.00 90%
Mursau, Jeffrey L A36 R $53,855.50 $5,355.00 10% $48,500.50 90%
Kreuser, James A64 D $35,365.00 $3,560.00 10% $31,805.00 90%
Berceau, Terese A76 D $1,855.00 $200.00 11% $1,655.00 89%
Vos, Robin A63 R $37,371.00 $4,050.00 11% $33,321.00 89%
Coggs, Spencer S06 D $3,594.99 $400.00 11% $3,194.99 89%
Van Roy, Karl A90 R $70,438.00 $8,276.00 12% $62,162.00 88%
Schneider, Marlin A72 D $2,250.00 $300.00 13% $1,950.00 87%
Davis, Brett H A80 R $82,786.56 $12,135.50 15% $70,651.06 85%
Staskunas, Tony A15 D $7,230.00 $1,075.00 15% $6,155.00 85%
Lasee, Frank A02 R $9,470.00 $1,430.00 15% $8,040.00 85%
Krawczyk, Judy A88 R $39,240.00 $6,425.00 16% $32,815.00 84%
Grigsby, Tamara A18 D $6,699.75 $1,100.00 16% $5,599.75 84%
Moulton, Terry A68 R $71,037.50 $12,210.00 17% $58,827.50 83%
Travis, David A81 D $2,900.00 $550.00 19% $2,350.00 81%
Gundrum, Mark A84 R $44,015.00 $8,440.00 19% $35,575.00 81%
Williams, Mary A87 R $79,527.91 $15,360.00 19% $64,167.91 81%
Parisi, Joseph T A48 D $18,057.65 $3,513.15 19% $14,544.50 81%
Gunderson, Scott A83 R $18,290.00 $3,600.00 20% $14,690.00 80%
Lamb, Andy A29 R $60,163.00 $11,875.00 20% $48,288.00 80%
Wieckert, Steve A57 R $34,712.52 $7,025.00 20% $27,687.52 80%
Stone, Jeff A82 R $42,665.00 $8,725.00 20% $33,940.00 80%
Underheim, Gregg A54 R $19,725.00 $4,125.00 21% $15,600.00 79%
Cullen, David A13 D $23,389.00 $4,995.00 21% $18,394.00 79%
Nass, Stephen L A31 R $5,525.00 $1,250.00 23% $4,275.00 77%
Owens, Carol A53 R $6,170.00 $1,450.00 24% $4,720.00 77%
McCormick, Terri A56 R $33,210.00 $7,850.00 24% $25,360.00 76%
Pettis, Mark A28 R $61,807.00 $15,266.00 25% $46,541.00 75%
Huebsch, Michael A94 R $66,394.50 $16,851.00 25% $49,543.50 75%
Lazich, Mary S28 R $42,624.00 $11,239.00 26% $31,385.00 74%
Lehman, John A62 D $2,602.50 $700.00 27% $1,902.50 73%
Wood, Jeffrey S A67 R $23,407.00 $6,302.00 27% $17,105.00 73%
Kleefisch, Joel A38 R $44,232.76 $12,459.08 28% $31,773.68 72%
Hansen, Dave S30 D $96,826.30 $27,783.12 29% $69,043.18 71%
Hahn, Eugene A47 R $20,270.00 $5,945.00 29% $14,325.00 71%
Nischke, Ann M A97 R $23,430.00 $6,880.00 29% $16,550.00 71%
Jeskewitz, Suzanne A24 R $13,195.00 $3,900.00 30% $9,295.00 70%
Honadel, Mark A21 R $22,484.00 $6,711.00 30% $15,773.00 70%
Shilling, Jennifer A95 D $10,953.30 $3,378.30 31% $7,575.00 69%
Breske, Roger S12 D $93,976.67 $29,156.00 31% $64,820.67 69%
Montgomery, Phil A04 R $34,975.00 $11,065.00 32% $23,910.00 68%
Pocan, Mark A78 D $6,892.00 $2,217.00 32% $4,675.00 68%
Towns, Debi A43 R $46,470.99 $15,376.49 33% $31,094.50 67%
Gielow, Curtis C A23 R $23,640.00 $8,200.00 35% $15,440.00 65%
Gronemus, Barbara A91 D $6,511.75 $2,261.75 35% $4,250.00 65%
Boyle, Frank A73 D $12,950.00 $4,525.00 35% $8,425.00 65%
Ott, Alvin A03 R $5,875.00 $2,075.00 35% $3,800.00 65%
Ward, David A37 R $10,150.00 $3,600.00 35% $6,550.00 65%
Vrakas, Daniel A33 R $10,580.00 $3,800.00 36% $6,780.00 64%
Steinbrink, John A65 D $1,802.50 $650.00 36% $1,152.50 64%
Vukmir, Leah A14 R $33,471.00 $12,096.00 36% $21,375.00 64%
Ainsworth, John A06 R $3,600.00 $1,325.00 37% $2,275.00 63%
Freese, Stephen A51 R $20,535.00 $7,635.00 37% $12,900.00 63%
Richards, Jon A19 D $21,395.00 $8,260.00 39% $13,135.00 61%
Suder, Scott A69 R $24,871.60 $9,845.00 40% $15,026.60 60%
Kapanke, Dan S32 R $256,167.88 $103,323.00 40% $152,844.88 60%
Petrowski, Jerry A86 R $59,855.50 $24,275.00 41% $35,580.50 59%
Vruwink, Amy Sue A70 D $21,775.00 $9,220.00 42% $12,555.00 58%
Cowles, Robert S02 R $3,525.00 $1,525.00 43% $2,000.00 57%
Molepske, Louis Jr A71 D $5,718.94 $2,479.00 43% $3,239.94 57%
Grothman, Glenn S20 R $118,494.32 $53,673.61 45% $64,820.71 55%
Wasserman, Sheldon A22 D $33,945.00 $15,415.00 45% $18,530.00 55%
Sheridan, Michael A44 D $18,537.50 $8,445.00 46% $10,092.50 54%
Rhoades, Kitty A30 R $37,743.00 $17,450.00 46% $20,293.00 54%
Miller, Mark S16 D $85,562.37 $40,120.26 47% $45,442.11 53%
Olsen, Luther S14 R $19,324.00 $9,150.00 47% $10,174.00 53%
Benedict, Chuck A45 D $12,729.00 $6,104.00 48% $6,625.00 52%
Albers, Sheryl A50 R $13,738.00 $6,588.00 48% $7,150.00 52%
Wirch, Robert S22 D $123,872.59 $60,231.09 49% $63,641.50 51%
Pope-Roberts, Sondy A79 D $27,226.00 $13,480.00 50% $13,746.00 50%
Sinicki, Christine A20 D $1,800.00 $900.00 50% $900.00 50%
Kerkman, Samantha A66 R $7,475.00 $3,750.00 50% $3,725.00 50%
Hebl, Gary A46 D $16,742.97 $8,427.97 50% $8,315.00 50%
Sherman, Gary A74 D $41,217.00 $21,047.00 51% $20,170.00 49%
Toles, Barbara L A17 D $1,150.00 $600.00 52% $550.00 48%
Friske, Donald A35 R $31,608.20 $16,683.20 53% $14,925.00 47%
Black, Spencer A77 D $3,100.00 $1,650.00 53% $1,450.00 47%
Seidel, Donna J A85 D $17,032.18 $9,157.18 54% $7,875.00 46%
Lothian, Thomas A32 R $20,934.10 $11,330.15 54% $9,603.95 46%
LeMahieu, Daniel A59 R $7,193.61 $3,893.61 54% $3,300.00 46%
Kestell, Steve A27 R $1,200.00 $650.00 54% $550.00 46%
Darling, Alberta S08 R $267,112.00 $149,437.00 56% $117,675.00 44%
Roessler, Carol S18 R $26,068.00 $15,060.00 58% $11,008.00 42%
Ballweg, Joan A41 R $1,619.82 $944.82 58% $675.00 42%
Van Akkeren, Terry A26 D $6,600.00 $3,850.00 58% $2,750.00 42%
Townsend, John A52 R $17,214.00 $10,264.00 60% $6,950.00 40%
Loeffelholz, Gabe A49 R $33,494.50 $20,500.00 61% $12,994.50 39%
Kreibich, Robin A93 R $27,956.00 $17,396.00 62% $10,560.00 38%
Musser, Terry A92 R $10,680.00 $6,730.00 63% $3,950.00 37%
Hundertmark, Jean A40 R $17,980.00 $11,520.00 64% $6,460.00 36%
Lassa, Julie S24 D $42,444.20 $28,164.00 66% $14,280.20 34%
Harsdorf, Sheila S10 R $214,106.26 $142,410.26 67% $71,696.00 33%
Pridemore, Don A99 R $2,630.00 $1,780.00 68% $850.00 32%
Meyer, Dan A34 R $26,847.00 $18,397.00 69% $8,450.00 31%
Hines, JA A42 R $16,162.00 $11,562.00 72% $4,600.00 28%
Bies, Garey D A01 R $13,150.00 $9,900.00 75% $3,250.00 25%
Hubler, Mary A75 D $5,750.00 $4,400.00 77% $1,350.00 23%
Risser, Fred S26 D $12,050.00 $9,250.00 77% $2,800.00 23%
Gottlieb, Mark A60 R $11,485.00 $8,935.00 78% $2,550.00 22%
Strachota, Pat A58 R $12,829.50 $10,129.50 79% $2,700.00 21%
Ziegelbauer, Bob A25 D $2,366.11 $1,916.11 81% $450.00 19%
Krusick, Peggy A07 D $0  $0 0% $0 0%