Governor Candidates Lean Heavily on Few Big Donors

Doyle raised $1 of every $3 from outside Wisconsin

July 27, 2006

Madison - Democratic Governor Jim Doyle and Republican challenger Mark Green accepted the majority of their campaign contributions between January and June 2006 from wealthy donors who gave them $1,000 or more, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary analysis shows.

In addition, the WDC review found that Doyle took an astounding 32 percent of his $1.54 million in individual contributions from donors outside of Wisconsin.

WDC conducted the analysis following Green’s claims that his fundraising during the first six months of 2006 was the result of a “broad, statewide grassroots coalition….” Green boasted nearly two-thirds of 8,523 contributions he received were less than $100.

However, he received most of his cash from a small pool of elite, well-heeled donors. Green raised $1.5 million from about 6,700 donors. Of that amount:

  • $100,000, or 7 percent, came from 10 people, or one-tenth of a percent of his donors, who gave him the maximum $10,000 contribution;
  • $287,794, or 19 percent, came from 50 people, or seven-tenths of a percent of his donors, who gave him $5,000 or more;
  • $415,594, or 28 percent, came from 105 people, or 1.6 percent of his donors, who gave him $2,500 or more;
  • $470,286, or 31 percent, came from 136 people, or 2 percent of his donors, who gave him $2,000 or more;
  • $767,250, or 51 percent, came from 364 people, or 5.4 percent of his donors, who gave him $1,000 or more.

Green also received $68,776, or 5 percent of his individual contributions from 90 out-of-state donors. Most of those contributions – $41,000 – came from eight wealthy contributors from California, Arkansas, Michigan, Wyoming and Virginia who support expanding Milwaukee’s school voucher program which uses more than $100 million in state and local tax dollars to send children from low-income families to private and religious schools.

WDC also contends Green should return $182,545 in political action committee funds, including $121,247 in PAC contributions he collected between January and June 2006. State law limits to $485,000 the amount a candidate for governor can raise from PACs in a four-year election cycle. Green already has raised $667,545 in PAC money by tapping his congressional campaign account and subsequent fundraising.

Doyle, who raised $1.54 million in individual contributions between January and June, took in a record $488,067, or 32 percent of his individual contributions, from out-of-state donors. The percentage of out-of-state individual contributions to Wisconsin governors since 1993 has ranged from 4 percent to 16 percent of their total annual individual fundraising.

California led Doyle’s out-of-state contributions at $131,610, followed by Illinois at $92,345 and New York at $79,555. Leading the list of contributors grouped by employer were executives of Cisco Systems in California who gave Doyle $37,500, followed by Newmark Knight Frank, a New York real estate advisory firm, at $33,500 and Entrust Capital, a New York investment firm, at $16,000. Previously, Newmark Knight employees had never contributed to a Wisconsin candidate. Prior contributions by Cisco and Entrust employees amounted to $250 to former Governor Scott McCallum in June 2000 and $500 to Doyle in October 2002, respectively.

Doyle also got more money from chiropractors during the first six months of 2006 than he ever received in a six-month period, or in a year. His campaign finance report shows he accepted 226 contributions totaling $68,876, all on June 21.

A review of large individual contributions to Doyle showed he raised $1.54 million from about 3,500 individuals. Of that amount:

  • $320,000, or 21 percent, came from 32 donors, or nine-tenths of a percent of his contributors, who gave him the maximum $10,000 contribution;
  • $683,000, or 44 percent, came from 100 donors, or 2.9 percent of his contributors, who gave him $5,000 or more;
  • $833,100, or 54 percent, came from 149 donors, or 4.3 percent of his contributors, who gave him $2,500 or more;
  • $927,530, or 60 percent, came from 196 donors, or 5.6 percent of his contributors, who gave him $2,000 or more;
  • $1.13 million, or 73 percent, came from 374 donors, or 10.7 percent of his contributors, who gave him $1,000 or more.