14 Big Donors Exceeded Contribution Limit In 2008

Three payday lenders among those who gave more than $10,000

October 15, 2009

Madison - Three payday lenders and a veteran lobbyist were among 14 individuals who exceeded the $10,000 annual limit on total contributions to state and local candidates and political committees in 2008, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review shows.

The Democracy Campaign’s findings are based on campaign finance reports filed by legislative, judicial and statewide candidates that detail their campaign contributions and spending. The contributors who exceeded the $10,000 limit doled out between $10,050 and $18,125, the records showed (Table).

The Democracy Campaign compared its findings to contribution tallies produced for these contributors by the state’s new electronic reporting system – the Campaign Finance Information System – and found the state system failed to identify five contributions worth $2,350 made by four of the contributors. WDC’s database results were verified by double checking the reports filed by the candidates and committees.

Herzing University executive Stacey Herzing of Milwaukee contributed $18,125 in 2008. Her contributions included two $5,000 contributions to Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and a $5,000 contribution to former Justice Louis Butler’s campaign.

Following Herzing was Robert Wolfberg, the Glencoe, Illinois co-owner of PLS Financial Services which operates a chain of more than 300 PL$ Check Cashers stores in nine states, who contributed $15,775 to 29 candidates and committees. He gave $8,725 to 20 Republican candidates and $7,050 to nine Democratic candidates and committees including $1,300 to Governor Jim Doyle.

Daniel Wolfberg of Winnetka, Illinois and PLS Financial’s other co-owner, also exceeded the contribution limit by doling out $10,500. Daniel Wolfberg contributed $5,750 to eight Democratic candidates and committees and $4,750 to 11 Republican candidates.

The tally of Robert Wolfberg’s contributions by the state’s electronic reporting system totaled only $15,275, as opposed to $15,775 found by the Democracy Campaign. A check of the candidates’ campaign finance reports found the state’s system failed to include a $500 contribution Wolfberg made August 20 to Representative Dean Kaufert.

Former state senator and veteran Madison lobbyist Gary Goyke contributed $14,074 to more than three dozen mostly Democratic candidates and committees including $1,755 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee. This is one of the four legislative leadership committees used by Assembly and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders to raise large amounts of special interest contributions to pay for election year campaign activities.

The state’s reporting system tallied one Goyke contribution twice – a $422 donation on August 19 to state Senator Spencer Coggs – and failed to identify three contributions totaling $1,400 Goyke made to two legislative leadership committees last July and October.

Kevin Dabney of Waukesha, president of the Speedy Loan payday lending chain, contributed $14,000, including nine $1,000 contributions to five Republican Senate candidates and four Democratic Senate candidates.

Two well-known Wisconsin philanthropists also exceeded the 2008 individual contribution limit, according to campaign records. Lynde Uihlein of Milwaukee, a longtime supporter of women’s causes and Democratic candidates, contributed $11,950, including $7,500 to Butler. Jerry Frautschi of Madison, who is best known for his $200 million gift to build the Overture Center for the Arts, contributed $11,500 including $10,000 to Doyle.

State law allows the Government Accountability Board to fine those who violate the $10,000 contribution limit $500 plus triple the amount by which the limited was exceeded.

The number of contributors who have violated the annual limit in the past is all over the board, ranging from lows of one in 2004 and two in 2007 to highs of 27 in 2006 and 39 in 2002.

Table of Contributors
 

Table
Contributors Who Violated Annual Campaign Contributions Limits In 2008

Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Stacey Herzing
Milwaukee, WI
Herzing University
12/22/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $5,000
12/19/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $5,000
11/3/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $1,500
10/17/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $650
9/26/2008 Pasch, Sandra $500
4/23/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $100
3/31/2008 Butler, Louis Jr $5,000
3/19/2008 King, Jessica J $125
2/12/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $250
TOTAL $18,125
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Robert Wolfberg
Glencoe, IL
Payday Loan Store
12/19/2008 Doyle, Jim $1,000
12/2/2008 Doyle, Jim $300
11/18/2008 Stone, Jeff $250
11/7/2008 Kramer, Bill $250
11/7/2008 Hraychuck, Ann $500
11/5/2008 Gundrum, Mark $250
11/4/2008 Gottlieb, Mark $250
11/3/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $1,000
11/3/2008 Bernard Schaber, Penny $500
11/1/2008 Gunderson, Scott $250
10/27/2008 Sheridan, Mike $250
10/27/2008 Friske, Donald $250
10/27/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $1,000
10/21/2008 Suder, Scott $250
10/20/2008 Hopper, Randy $500
10/20/2008 Kapanke, Dan $1,000
10/20/2008 Johnson, Tara $500
10/20/2008 Holperin, Jim $1,000
10/11/2008 Tiffany, Tom $1,000
10/11/2008 King, Jessica J $1,000
10/11/2008 Fitzgerald, Scott $1,000
9/26/2008 Rhoades, Kitty $300
9/16/2008 Davis, Brett H $500
9/15/2008 Huebsch, Mike $500
9/5/2008 Townsend, John $200
9/1/2008 Kestell, Steve $300
8/27/2008 Vos, Robin $375
8/26/2008 Fitzgerald, Jeff $300
8/25/2008 Zipperer, Rich $500
8/20/2008 Kaufert, Dean $500
TOTAL $15,775
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Timothy Erdman
Madison, WI
Marshall Erdman & Associates
8/28/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $10,000
7/18/2008 Nelson, Tom $200
6/25/2008 Doyle, Jim $5,000
TOTAL $15,200
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Gary Goyke
Madison, WI
Goyke & Associates
12/7/2008 Ehlke, Stephen $250
12/6/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $500
11/30/2008 Dane County Democratic Party $300
10/23/2008 Danou, Chris $250
10/8/2008 Hintz, Gordon N $500
10/2/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $1,000
9/26/2008 Fields, Jason M $250
9/25/2008 King, Jessica J $250
9/17/2008 Schneider, Marlin $200
9/15/2008 LeMahieu, Daniel R $100
9/12/2008 Toles, Barbara L $200
9/11/2008 Williams, Annette Polly $200
9/10/2008 Holperin, Jim $172.38
9/7/2008 Colon, Pedro $200
9/7/2008 Barca, Peter $200
9/7/2008 Staskunas, Tony $100
9/4/2008 Hubler, Mary $250
9/2/2008 Jorgensen, Andy $250
8/27/2008 Roth, Roger $250
8/20/2008 Nelson, Tom $500
8/19/2008 Spanbauer, Richard $75
8/19/2008 Coggs, G Spencer $422
8/19/2008 Coggs, G Spencer $500
8/13/2008 Holperin, Jim $250
7/30/2008 Suder, Scott $500
7/30/2008 Hixson, Kim $500
7/29/2008 Democratic Party of Wisconsin $100
7/25/2008 Jorgensen, Andy $250
7/16/2008 State Senate Democratic Committee $200
7/14/2008 Jorgensen, Andy $250
7/9/2008 Klemme, Dale $250
7/8/2008 Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $100
7/8/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $200
6/30/2008 King, Jessica J $250
6/30/2008 Bernard Schaber, Penny $250
6/30/2008 Fisk, Paul $500
6/24/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $250
6/24/2008 Mason, Cory $500
6/18/2008 Milroy, Nick $500
6/18/2008 Myszka, Nate $500
6/17/2008 Schmuki, Steve $250
6/11/2008 Gruszynski, Stan $250
6/8/2008 Sargent, Justin $500
5/22/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $305
4/3/2008 Butler, Louis Jr $500
TOTAL $14,074.38
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Kevin Dabney
Waukesha, WI
Speedy Loan Corp.
11/24/2008 Kanavas, Theodore J $1,000
11/24/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $500
11/12/2008 Kapanke, Dan $1,000
11/10/2008 Huebsch, Mike $500
11/7/2008 Townsend, John $500
11/7/2008 Hraychuck, Ann $500
11/6/2008 Hopper, Randy $1,000
11/5/2008 Gundrum, Mark $500
11/4/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $1,000
11/3/2008 Kaufert, Dean $500
11/3/2008 Johnson, Tara $1,000
11/3/2008 Holperin, Jim $1,000
11/1/2008 King, Jessica J $1,000
10/31/2008 Bernard Schaber, Penny $500
10/31/2008 Fitzgerald, Scott $1,000
10/28/2008 Tiffany, Tom $1,000
10/28/2008 Friske, Donald $500
10/28/2008 Vos, Robin $500
10/27/2008 Sheridan, Mike $500
TOTAL $14,000
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Rick Halverson
Fountain City, WI
Former owner of the Golden Frog Saloon
12/12/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $242
11/6/2008 Hopper, Randy $63
11/4/2008 Fitzgerald, Scott $244
10/27/2008 Sheridan, Mike $500
10/21/2008 Davis, Brett H $500
10/20/2008 Brooks, Ed $500
10/20/2008 Meyer, Dan $355
10/20/2008 Honadel, Mark $500
10/20/2008 Williams, Mary $352
10/18/2008 Russell, Nathan R $500
10/18/2008 Egelhoff, Jo $500
10/18/2008 Ripp, Keith $500
10/18/2008 Murtha, John $500
10/18/2008 Danou, Chris $446
10/17/2008 Suder, Scott $500
10/16/2008 Erpenbach, Jon $1,000
10/4/2008 Towns, Debi $500
9/17/2008 Holperin, Jim $1,000
9/8/2008 Nygren, John $334
8/25/08 Page, Allison $1,000
8/25/2008 Huebsch, Mike $500
8/21/2008 Knodl, Dan $500
8/12/2008 Hraychuck, Ann $350
8/6/2008 Nerison, Lee A $500
8/4/2008 Petrowski, Jerry $500
6/16/2008 Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $2,000
TOTAL $14,386
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Pierre McCormick
Madison, WI
Wisconsin Distributors
10/27/2008 Sheridan, Mike $500
10/20/2008 Schneider, Marlin $500
10/17/2008 Hebl, Gary $500
10/17/2008 Decker, Russ $500
10/17/2008 Plale, Jeffrey $500
10/16/2008 Hopper, Randy $1,000
10/14/2008 Kedzie, Neal $500
10/14/2008 Brooks, Ed $500
10/12/2008 Egelhoff, Jo $500
10/11/2008 Spanbauer, Richard J $500
10/10/2008 Petrowski, Jerry $500
10/10/2008 Moga, Don $500
10/8/2008 Pocan, Mark $500
10/10/2008 Olsen, Luther $500
10/8/2008 Ripp, Keith $500
9/10/2008 Holperin, Jim $500
7/16/2008 State Senate Democratic Committee $500
7/8/2008 Wirch, Robert $500
6/29/2008 Hansen, Dave $250
6/26/2008 Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $500
6/25/2008 Hellman, Dan $500
6/18/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $500
1/20/2008 Owens, Carol $500
1/5/2008 Kaufert, Dean $500
1/3/2008 Kleefisch, Joel $500
TOTAL $12,750
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Lynde Uihlein
Milwaukee, WI
Brico Fund
8/25/2008 Hansen, Dave $150
8/23/2008 Johnson, Tara $150
8/22/08 Page, Allison $150
8/21/2008 Holperin, Jim $150
8/19/2008 Dexter, Kristen $240
8/7/2008 King, Jessica J $150
8/6/2008 Bernard Schaber, Pen $240
8/5/2008 Klemme, Dale $240
7/29/2008 Weix, Lou Ann $240
7/29/2008 Wisnefske, Kristin $240
5/23/2008 Lawton, Barbara $2,500
2/27/2008 Butler, Louis Jr $3,250
1/8/2008 Butler, Louis Jr $4,250
TOTAL $11,950
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Jerome Frautschi
Madison, WI
Overture Foundation
6/21/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $500
6/21/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $500
6/6/2008 Doyle, Jim $10,000
5/8/2008 Englund, Eric $500
TOTAL $11,500
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Donald Becker
Madison, WI
Becker Law Offices
10/29/2008 Buckel, Chris $500
10/29/2008 Garthwaite, Phil $500
10/29/2008 Page, Alison H $1,000
10/29/2008 King, Jessica J $1,000
10/29/2008 Smith, Jeff $500
10/29/2008 ONeil, Trish $500
10/28/2008 Soletski, Jim $500
10/28/2008 Holperin, Jim $1,000
10/28/2008 Reas, Judy $500
10/28/2008 Clark, Fred $500
10/28/2008 Johnson, Tara $1,000
10/28/2008 Radcliffe, Mark A $500
10/28/2008 Waelti, John $500
10/27/2008 Gruszynski, Stan $500
9/22/2008 Abrahamson, Shirley $2,500
TOTAL $11,500
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Mary Studer
Pensacola Beach, FL
Studer Group
10/5/2008 Gruszynski, Stan $300
10/5/2008 Hixson, Kim $300
4/25/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $10,000
TOTAL $10,600
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Daniel Wolfberg
Winnetka, IL
Payday Loan Store
11/20/2008 Stone, Jeff $250
11/7/2008 Kramer, Bill $250
11/7/2008 Hraychuck, Ann $500
11/5/2008 Gundrum, Mark $250
11/4/2008 Gottlieb, Mark $250
11/3/2008 Bernard Schaber, Pen $500
11/3/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $1,000
11/1/2008 Gunderson, Scott $250
10/27/2008 Friske, Donald $250
10/27/2008 Sheridan, Mike $250
10/27/2008 Wasserman, Sheldon $1,000
10/21/2008 Suder, Scott $250
10/20/2008 Kapanke, Dan $1,000
10/20/2008 Johnson, Tara $500
10/20/2008 Holperin, Jim $1,000
10/20/2008 Hopper, Randy $500
10/12/2008 Fitzgerald, Scott $1,000
10/12/2008 King, Jessica J $1,000
10/12/2008 Tiffany, Tom $500
TOTAL $10,500
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Philip Hees
Madison, WI
McBride Companies
10/20/2008 Doyle, Jim $10,000
8/27/2008 Pocan, Mark $100
TOTAL $10,100
 
Contributor, Location,
Employer
Date Candidate Amount
Thomas A. Schmidt
Appleton, WI
U.S. Oil
12/2/2008 Doyle, Jim $5,000
11/21/2008 Rhoades, Kitty $500
11/7/2008 Miller, Mark $500
10/30/2008 Holperin, Jim $200
10/28/2008 Fitzgerald, Scott $500
10/13/2008 State Senate Democratic Committee $250
9/26/2008 Rhoades, Kitty $250
9/24/2008 Huebsch, Mike $100
9/10/2008 Republican Assembly Campaign Committee $500
9/9/2008 Nelson, Tom $100
9/3/2008 Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee $250
8/30/2008 Fitzgerald, Jeff $100
6/30/2008 State Senate Democratic Committee $250
6/30/2008 Huebsch, Mike $100
6/30/2008 Moulton, Terry $100
6/29/2008 Hansen, Dave $500
6/27/2008 Doyle, Jim $500
6/12/2008 Committee to Elect a Republican Senate $100
4/28/2008 Nelson, Tom $250
TOTAL $10,050