Walker's Out-of-State Money Tilts the Balance

August 17, 2015

Legislative and statewide officeholders received nearly 77,000 itemized, individual contributions totaling $6.65 million between January and June 2015, and the vast majority of the contributions came from outside the state and went to Scott Walker for his next governor's race, if it happens.

The Democracy Campaign review found legislative and statewide officeholders accepted about 59,900 contributions totaling more than $4.8 million from individuals located outside Wisconsin and nearly 16,900 individual contributions totaling $1.8 million from Wisconsin addresses.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s gubernatorial fundraising committee, which is separate from two federal fundraising committees formed earlier this year to pay for Walker’s 2016 presidential bid, raised nearly $4.8 million in contributions from outside Wisconsin compared to about $700,000 in Wisconsin contributions. Fourteen of 17 donors who gave Walker $10,000 or more between January and June 2015 were from outside the state.

Behind Walker, the next largest amounts of out-of-state cash raised during the first half of 2015 were by GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, who received $16,525, and non-partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who received $13,504. Schimel raised about $43,300 and Bradley raised about $44,000 from individual contributions with Wisconsin addresses.

Excluding the tumultuous recall elections held in 2011 and 2012 for governor, lieutenant governor and 13 state senators, it was the first time in 20 years of reviewing campaign finance reports that the Democracy Campaign has seen individual contributions from outside Wisconsin exceed individual state contributions to officeholders, collectively, in a normal reporting period.