MADISON, Wis. — An analysis of recently filed campaign finance reports by One Wisconsin Now has found supporters of private school vouchers from across the country are dropping big donations on Wisconsin politicians in recent months, including over $113,000 to Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. In total, voucher supporters pumped over $175,000 plus into Republican politician’s campaign coffers in just the first six months of 2014.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “They’re back. It’s campaign season and that means once again an elite cabal of wealthy, pro-privatization ideologues, many of whom don’t even live in Wisconsin, are fattening up the campaign coffers of Gov. Walker and his pro-privatization minions in the legislature and on the state’s high court.”
In total, identified supporters of private voucher schools donated $175,215 to GOP politicians. The largest share, $74,500, went to Gov. Walker’s campaign with another $38,750 filling the campaign coffers of his running mate Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Other notables grabbing big voucher money were Attorney General candidate Brad Schimel who raked in $26,850 while Eleva Republican Assembly Rep. Warren Petryk snagged $1,750 and Rep. Howard Marklein, running for state Senate, got $2,000.
In addition to direct giving to political campaigns, pro-education privatization forces have a deep-pocketed ally in Gov. Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe, head of the Bradley Foundation. A 2013 report from One Wisconsin Now exposed the $31 million plus in funds spent by the Bradley Foundation on a web of right-wing groups pushing the radical privatization of Wisconsin’s public schools.
Under Gov. Walker and the voucher money fueled legislature, the unaccountable privatization of Wisconsin schools has spread statewide, with nearly $385 million of taxpayer funds going to send kids to private schools in the 2013 state budget. And, while enacting the biggest cuts to public schools per student in the nation, Walker and the GOP also enacted a new tax break of up to $10,000 for parents already sending their kids to private schools.
“The pro-voucher cabal has spent big money on Wisconsin elections, and in return Gov. Walker and his minions have made the biggest cuts to our public schools in state history while showering the unaccountable private school voucher program with records amount of tax dollars. It’s scary to think what Gov. Walker and his gang are promising to do next to keep the cash flowing,” concluded Ross.