Doyle Tapping Wealthy Special Interests Far and Wide

Campaign report also shows guv illegally accepted $12,500 from one donor

October 12, 2005

Madison - Democratic Governor Jim Doyle accepted more than $200,000 in campaign contributions during the first six months of 2005 from wealthy out-of-state donors who also give generously to shadow groups that spend millions nationally on negative campaign advertising, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review shows.

Doyle’s latest campaign finance report, which shows he raised $1.44 million, also shows:

  • The governor has illegally accepted $12,500 in the current 2003-06 election cycle from Quarles & Brady lawyer Frank Daily (see Table 1), which is $2,500 more than the $10,000 limit a candidate for statewide office can accept from one individual during a four-year election cycle.

Table 1
Election Cycle Contributions to Governor Jim Doyle
from Attorney Frank Daily

DATE CONTRIBUTOR EMPLOYER CITY AMOUNT
5/3/2005 Daily, Frank Quarles & Brady Milwaukee $6,900
3/7/2005 Daily, Frank Quarles & Brady Milwaukee $100
12/10/2004 Daily, Frank Quarles & Brady Milwaukee $2,000
11/11/2003 Daily, Frank Quarles & Brady Milwaukee $2,500
2/24/2003 Daily, Frank Quarles & Brady Milwaukee $1,000
  • Doyle continued to receive large amounts of utility industry contributions, and then approved legislation beneficial to the industry.

    Utilities and American Transmission Company, which is building a $420 million transmission line from Duluth, Minnesota to Wausau, gave Doyle $38,250 between January and June. Shortly after, Doyle signed a bill in July that forces communities to sell land to utilities for transmission line projects.

  • The governor raised $203,238 from individuals outside Wisconsin (see Table 2), accounting for 15 percent of the $1.38 million in total individual contributions he accepted between January and June. It was only the second time he raised more than $200,000 from outside Wisconsin during a six-month period.

Doyle accepted $26,000 from Connecticut contributors, including $20,000 from employees of the Mohegan tribe and its casino, the Mohegan Sun. The tribe has partnered with tribes in other states, like Washington, to build and manage casinos. Previously, Doyle had received $4,000 from the tribe in 2003.

The governor also accepted $9,830 from Texas contributors, including $5,950 in January from SBC Communications executives in San Antonio. The contributions came shortly before the state signed a $116 million contract in March with a group of telephone companies, including SBC, to design a new video and data network for the state and University of Wisconsin System. The project has drawn criticism from some at the UW that want a separate system developed in-house. Doyle initially said in May 2004 that the state and UW could develop separate computer networks, but then announced in August 2004 that he wanted to have the systems combined and farmed out to a private contractor.

In Indiana, Doyle accepted a first-time $4,000 contribution from Dale Conrad, head of Government Payment Services. The company contracts with government agencies to process credit card payments from the public.

Doyle accepted $23,170 from California contributors, including $5,000 from Stanley Gold of Shamrock Holdings in Burbank. Gold is better known for siding with Roy Disney in the much-publicized corporate scuffle between Roy Disney and the Walt Disney Company board of directors to replace Michael Eisner, former company chief.

In the first half of the year, Doyle hobnobbed with silk-stocking special interests around the country that have doled out $1.5 million to groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts on negative political advertising and electioneering activities. These so-called 527 groups like America Coming Together and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are named after the U.S. Internal Revenue Service code that regulates them.

The governor also accepted $2,000 from Robert Abernethy, owner of American Standard Development, and $1,000 from multi-billionaire Eli Broad, both of Los Angeles. Broad is former owner of SunAmerica and one of the largest home builders in the country. Abernethy and Broad also have given 527 groups a combined $254,000.

From New York, Doyle received $5,000 from Harold Snyder, former owner of Biocraft Laboratories who has doled out a whopping $841,000 to Democratic-leaning 527s.

Doyle also accepted $15,000 from Pennsylvania contributors, including $10,000 from Richard Schiffrin of Schiffrin & Barroway in Wynnewood. Schiffrin and his wife, Barbara, gave Democratic-leaning 527s $325,000 in 2004.

Table 2
Large Individual Out-of-State Contributions to Governor Jim Doyle
January – June 2005

STATE AMOUNT
Illinois $76,465
Connecticut $26,000
California $23,170
Pennsylvania $15,000
New York $13,035
Texas $9,830
Indiana $6,000
Florida $5,000
Missouri $5,000
Minnesota $4,230
Nevada $3,500
Washington D.C. $2,500
Iowa $2,075
Maryland $2,000
Colorado $2,000
Oklahoma $2,000
New Jersey $1,500
Georgia $1,400
Massachusetts $1,200
Virginia $883
Michigan $250
Ohio $200
TOTAL $203,238