29 Wealthy Donors Exceeded Contribution Limit in 2010

WDC complaints show some donors exceeded the annual limit by more than $6,000

Posted: November 16, 2011
Updated: November 21, 2011
Updated: November 28, 2011

Madison – Twenty-nine contributors to candidates for statewide office and the legislature exceeded the annual $10,000 limit on campaign contributions in 2010, according to complaints filed Wednesday by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

The Democracy Campaign based its complaints on a review of state campaign finance reports filed by candidates and political parties with the Government Accountability Board that disclose their fundraising and spending. Pages from the campaign finance reports identifying the contributions made by the contributors who exceeded the limit were submitted with the complaints. The donors who exceeded the $10,000 limit contributed between $10,200 and $16,150, the records showed (Table).

Topping the list was Robert P. Fettig, Lake Geneva, president of Tankcraft a metal fabricating company, who contributed $16,150, and Judith Couri, an executive with Couri Insurance Agency in Waukesha, who contributed $16,100.

Fettig and Couri were among 24 of the contributors who gave all or most of their contributions to Republican candidates for statewide office and the legislature. Five contributors gave all or most of their contributions to Democratic candidates for statewide office and the legislature. Many of these contributors represent powerful special interests including the insurance, construction, agriculture, manufacturing, finance and transportation industries. All but one contributor listed a Wisconsin address.

The Government Accountability Board, which enforces the state’s campaign finance, ethics and lobby laws, may fine those who violate the $10,000 annual contribution limit $500 plus triple the amount by which the limit was exceeded.

Table
Contributors Who Exceeded The Annual $10,000 Contribution Limit In 2010

Contributor City Employer Amount
Fettig, Robert P. Lake Geneva, WI Tankcraft Corp $16,150
Couri, Judith Waukesha, WI Couri Insurance Agency $16,100
Solberg, Trygve A. Minocqua, WI TA Solberg Co $13,600
Butler, John Wausau, WI Plastic Surgery Group $13,500
Klein, Dennis J. Brookfield, WI KBS Construction $12,600
Zore, Edward River Hills, WI Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance $12,563
Spector, Michael J. Shorewood, WI Quarles & Brady $12,450
Kunz, Vicky La Crosse, WI Kwik Trip $12,425
Kuehne, Carl De Pere, WI American Foods Group $11,950
Giuffre, Dominic J. Milwaukee, WI Giuffre Brothers Cranes $11,850
Gorman, Gary Oregon, WI Gorman & Co $11,787.01
Bahl, David Waukesha, WI Weldall Manufacturing $11,580
Lubar, Sheldon River Hills, WI Lubar & Co $11,300
Marotta, Marc Mequon, WI Foley & Lardner $11,291.62
Ostrom, Jim K. De Pere, WI Milksource $11,250
Kasten, Susan Milwaukee, WI Retired $11,000
Herro, David G. Chicago, IL Harris Associates $11,000
Rosenberg, Lucille Milwaukee, WI Psychiatrist $10,900
Kolb, Walter Waukesha, WI Audio Implements/GKC $10,650
Lange, Colleen Fond du Lac, WI Commonwealth Development Corp of America $10,500
Sonnentag, Rebecca Marathon, WI County Concrete $10,500
Roehl, Delores Marshfield, WI Roehl Transport $10,500
Burns, Bladen Wauwatosa, WI Fiduciary Management $10,500
Frank, Barbara Mequon, WI Retired $10,500
Ahlborn, Gene Sayner, WI Ahlborn Equipment $10,500
Uihlein, Margery H. Mequon, WI Retired $10,350
Hammes, Jon Mequon, WI Hammes Co $10,350
Van Dyke, Polly H. Milwaukee, WI Salomon Smith Barney $10,200
Roberts, Gary Onalaska, WI Morrison Creek Cranberry $10,200
 
UPDATE:  November 21, 2011  –  Ten of the donors against whom complaints were filed have settled their cases by paying fines totaling $34,916.50. John Butler paid a $4,000 forfeiture; Judith Couri, $1,740; Robert Fettig, $9,225; Barbara Frank, $750; Dennis Klein, $6,151.50; Colleen Lange, $750; Delores Roehl, $750; Trygve Solberg, $4,650; Polly Van Dyke, $300; and Edward Zore, $6,600. Thirteen donors have resolved their cases by filing sworn affidavits indicating that candidate committees incorrectly reported some or all of their contributions as individual contributions when, according to the sworn statements, they were made jointly with a spouse. They include Gene Ahlborn, Dominic Giuffre, Gary Gorman, Jon Hammes, Walter Kolb, Carl Kuehne, Vicki Kunz, Sheldon Lubar, Marc Marotta, James Ostrom, Gary Roberts, Rebecca Sonnentag and Michael Spector. The state Government Accountability Board also reports taking no enforcement action against Lucille Rosenberg and closing her case due to a "receiving committee reporting error" and closing Margery Uihlein's case without explanation.
 
No candidate committee has filed an amended report correcting the public record. The cases of four donors – David Bahl, Bladen Burns, David Herro and Susan Kasten – remain unresolved.
 
November 28, 2011 – David Herro settled his case by paying a $1,500 forfeiture.