MADISON, Wis. — West Salem business owner John Lautz has tried to distance himself from the recent actions of state Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker, claiming last week he only recently joined the Republican Party and had only in years past “sent a little money into the national party the minimum $25.” Campaign finance records show that Lautz has made 56 contributions to Republican candidates at the state and federal levels totaling nearly $12,000.
“John Lautz has a serious problem telling the truth,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “John Lautz is welcome to give $12,000 in partisan political contributions to people like Scott Walker and Dan Kapanke, but needs to come clean about it and not intentional deceive us about his long history of partisan giving.”
At a forum between Lautz and La Crosse County Board Chair Steve Doyle on Tuesday, Lautz was asked about the need for bipartisanship and how he would collaborate with other elected officials from western Wisconsin to represent the interests of citizens. Lautz said:
I just joined the Republican Party in December to run this race. I’ve never been a member of a political party before. In years past, I have sent a little money into the national party the minimum $25, but I got totally frustrated with the way things were happening. All my life I’ve been independent. I haven’t been a part of one party of another. [La Crosse Chamber of Commerce Forum, 4/18/11]
According to campaign finance records available through the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the state’s Campaign Finance Information System at the Government Accountability Board, and the Federal Elections Commission, Lautz has made 60 contributions to political campaigns and political committees, including 56 Republican donations totaling $11,917. The contributions to Republicans are as high as $1,000 and an average of $212.
“The people of Wisconsin have suffered enough from half-truths, distortions and deceptions from politicians like Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislative majority,” said Ross. “Usually, politicians wait until they get elected before they start breaking their word, but John Lautz is well ahead of the game.”
Lautz’s fellow Republican, Governor Walker, has been roundly criticized for his unprecedented attacks on working families, including his budget scheme, which could cut 70,000 from BadgerCare, raise prescription drug prices for seniors on SeniorCare and slashing as much as $42 million from public schools in the 94th Assembly District. Walker’s budget also cuts corporate taxes by $84 million, while raising taxes on the working poor by $51 million. [Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; Analysis of 2011 AB40/SB27]
Controversy has erupted over attack pieces against Doyle paid for by the Jobs First Coalition, a group run by former Republican Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who left office after being indicted on corruption charges related to the so-called caucus scandal. Doyle has said he will pursue criminal and civil charges against Jobs First for what he called a “falsehood.” [La Crosse Tribune, 4/21/11]
“No one says John Lautz can’t give thousands of dollars to Scott Walker, Dan Kapanke, Mike Huebsch and the state Republican Senate and Assembly campaign committees,” said Ross. “But he shouldn’t lie to the people about it.”