Shadow Groups Send Another $705,000
to Pro-Doyle Issue Ad Group

527 support for Greater Wisconsin Committee now tallies $1.3 million

October 24, 2006

Madison - One of the unregulated groups running negative advertisements in Wisconsin’s race for governor received nearly $705,000 in a two-month period from three Washington-based unions and a group representing Democratic governors, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has found.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee received the money to pay for its string of negative television and radio ads against Democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s opponent, Republican Mark Green.

The committee accepted the money from so-called 527 groups. These political nonprofit organizations, which are named after the U.S. Internal Revenue Service laws that govern them, accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on election activities. Some of the more commonly known 527 groups are Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, GOPAC, America Coming Together and MoveOn.org.

Wealthy Wisconsin individuals and corporations contribute to 527 groups because many of their contributions could not be legally donated directly to candidates. Business interests and unions have been prohibited from contributing from their treasuries to political candidates in Wisconsin since 1906, and individuals cannot contribute a total of more than $10,000 a year to state and local political candidates, parties and committees.

527 groups for the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union, the Laborers Political League and the Democratic Governors Association contributed $704,750 to the Greater Wisconsin Committee between July 26 and September 28 (see table).

The latest contributions to the committee are in addition to $622,000 that the Democratic Governors Association and the Heartland Political Action Committee sent Greater Wisconsin in August 2005 and in May and June 2006.

WDC’s preliminary review of third quarter reports filed with the IRS by 64 527 groups that Wisconsin sources have a history of contributing to since 2001 also found:

  • Seventeen 527 organizations received a total of $458,787 from Wisconsin contributors between July and September 2006. Wisconsin contributors gave 527 groups $1.57 million from January 2005 through September 30, 2006. That compares to $1.61 million for a comparable period in the 2004 election cycle and $1.28 million for the same period in the 2002 election cycle.
  • The Democratic Governors Association received $165,825 from 11 Wisconsin contributors in the third quarter of 2006, including $50,000 from Kenosha businessman Dennis Troha who wants Doyle to approve an $800 million casino if the project eventually gets an OK from the federal government. Troha contributed $50,000 to the Democratic Governors Association in December 2005, and the Troha family has contributed more than $192,000 to Doyle since 2002. The Democratic Governors Association has received a total of $527,125 from Wisconsin contributors since January 2005, the beginning of the two-year 2006 election cycle.
  • The Republican Governors Association, which has run television ads criticizing Doyle for accepting campaign contributions around the time the contributors received state contracts, received $213,700 from 21 Wisconsin contributors in the third quarter of 2006, including $100,000 from the Wisconsin Builders Association. The Republican Governors Association has received a total of $340,125 from Wisconsin contributors since January 2005.

Table

Table
527 Contributions to the Greater Wisconsin Committee
July – September 2006

Date 527 Committee Amount
9/28/06 Service Employees International Union Political Education & Action Fund $150,000
9/22/06 Laborers Political League Education Fund $35,000
9/22/06 Democratic Governors Association $37,250
9/20/06 National Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education $100,000
9/19/06 Service Employees International Union Political Education & Action Fund $100,000
8/31/06 Democratic Governors Association $35,000
8/4/06 Democratic Governors Association $77,000
8/1/06 Democratic Governors Association $70,500
7/26/06 Democratic Governors Association $73,000
7/26/06 Democratic Governors Association $27,000
TOTAL $704,750