MADISON, Wis. — A comprehensive report from One Wisconsin Now and United Wisconsin shows how Gov. Scott Walker raised over $7 million by exploiting the unlimited campaign finance recall loophole and provides a detailed perspective on the out-of-state and in-state donors who bankrolled Walker’s win in June.
“Scott Walker exploited the recall election rules to drown out the voice of Wisconsin working families in favor of his elite friends,” said Lisa Subeck, United Wisconsin Executive Director. “Unlimited spending on elections by wealthy and special interests is rotting the core of our democracy.”
The major findings of the report show that of the $37 million raised by Walker since January 2011, just under $11 million was raised for “recall defense expenditures.” Of this, $7.3 million was raised from contributions in excess of the normal $10,000 campaign limits for a gubernatorial candidate in Wisconsin. The full report is available here.
“Scott Walker bought the election with a waterfall of money no other candidate could legally raise,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Fueled with this money in part, Walker and his allies were able to stay on television non-stop across Wisconsin from late October 2011 until Election Day in June nearly 225 straight days.”
The report provides biographical material about the 163 “mega-donors” to Walker — those who contributed the $7.3 million in excess of the normal contribution limits. Leading the charge was Diane Hendricks, billionaire widow, who appeared in the infamous “divide and conquer” video where Walker outlined his plan to attack both public and private sector employees and turn Wisconsin into a “Right to Work for Less” state. Hendricks gave Walker $510,000, and this was just one of the numerous six-figure contributions Walker got — all in excess of any contribution to an individual candidate given in Wisconsin history.
One Wisconsin Now and United Wisconsin are also engaging in a petition drive to call on legislators to change the law and remove the unlimited recall money loophole.
“We must get Big Money out of politics if we are to ensure everyone can have a voice, not just those with deep pockets,” said Subeck. “This starts with common-sense reform to our broken campaign finance system.”