Walker Accepted $1 of Every $3 in Campaign Contributions From Outside Wisconsin

July 26, 2017

Governor Scott Walker
Governor Scott Walker

About $1 of every $3 in individual contributions that Republican Gov. Scott Walker raised during the first six months of 2017 came from campaign contributors outside the state, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary review found.

All told, Walker reported raising about $3.2 million from individuals between January and June. About $2.1 million, or 66 percent, came from contributors with Wisconsin addresses and $1.1 million, or 34 percent, came from outside Wisconsin.

Walker has been a magnet for out-of-state contributions from wealthy special interests since shortly after he took office in 2011 and successfully introduced a measure that severely slashed public employee collective bargaining rights. As a result, Walker, the lieutenant governor, and 13 state senators faced recalls in 2011 and 2012 that drew national attention. Walker won his 2012 recall challenge and was later reelected to a second, four-year term in 2014.

During the last six years, Walker’s in-state fundraising has ranged from as little as 10 percent during the last six months of 2015 to highs of 66 percent during the first six months of 2011 and now the first six months of 2017.

Walker’s top three individual contributors, all from Wisconsin, appeared to have exceeded the annual $20,000 individual limit on contributions to statewide candidates. The campaign returned half of one contribution and all of another contribution.

Sandra Mills, of Menasha, made two contributions totaling $25,000 to Walker’s campaign. Mills is a longtime Republican contributor whose family owned Mills Fleet Farm, a hardware store chain in the Upper Midwest, until it was sold last year to a private equity firm. The campaign returned $12,500 to Mills.

Stephen Ziegler, of Oconomowoc, chairman of Inpro Corp., which manufactures construction products for commercial buildings, also contributed $25,000 to Walker’s campaign, which returned Ziegler’s entire contribution.

Rachel English, a Wauwatosa physician, made two contributions totaling $20,100 to Walker’s campaign, which did not return any part of her contribution, according to his campaign finance report, so she appears to still be $100 over the limit.

Walker’s campaign finance report listed 31 contributors who gave $20,000 each, including:

Julie Ariens, of Brillion

Ronald Buholzer, of Monroe

Bladen Burns, of Wauwatosa

David R. Charles, of New Franken

Leland G. Christenson, of Eleva

Edward Czucker, of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Susan Darrow, of Marco Island, Fla.

Patrick English, of Wauwatosa (The campaign returned $1,000 of his contribution)

Jere Fabick, of Milwaukee

Diane Hendricks, of Beloit

Genevieve Hillis, of Chicago, Ill.

Jennifer Hillis, of Fox Point

Robert J. Hillis, of Chicago, Ill.

Mark O. Johnson, of Rice Lake

Randy Kendrick, of Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Clifford Moberg, of Hartland

Lindsay Moroun, of Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Matthew Moroun, of Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Robert Murray, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Steven Price, of Greenwich, Conn.

Jennifer Pritzker, of Chicago, Ill.

Robert Rasmus, of Houston, Tex.

Gary M. Reynolds, of Delafield

John E. Schlifske, of Elm Grove

Kim Schlifske, of Elm Grove

Mary Sue Shannon, of Denver, Col.

Mike Shannon, of Denver, Col.

Harold Smith, of Lake Geneva

Ralph Stayer, of Naples, Fla.

Gregory Wendt, of San Francisco, Calif.

Susan Wilkey, of Hartland