MADISON, Wis. — State Supreme Court candidate Patience Roggensack deployed her campaign spokesperson, also a registered contract lobbyist, to attempt to explain away her failure to report over $20,000 in contributions from out-of-state backers of the private school voucher program. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross declared Roggensack’s claims don’t add up.
“It’s unseemly enough the right wing declared Patience Roggensack was the critical vote on the court to protect the use of public tax dollars for the private school voucher program and, shortly thereafter, tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from out-of-state millionaires and billionaires is sent to her campaign,” said Ross. “Failing to properly disclose these contributions makes it even worse.
A review of campaign finance reports by One Wisconsin Now revealed $20,550 in campaign contributions were bundled for Roggensack by the conduit “Fund for Parent Choice” on December 27 2012. Despite being required to disclose all contributions received through the end of the year on her recently filed “January Continuing” finance report, the bundled contributions from out-of-state donors like heirs to Wal-Mart fortune, Lynn, Jim and Alice Walton of Arkansas and Texas and right-wing Michigan billionaires Dick and Betsy DeVos were not reported.
While claiming that these contributions were not processed due to the holidays, the Roggensack campaign recorded and disclosed over $1,000 in campaign contributions received in the four days after the voucher backers reported making their donations to her campaign.
According to Ross, this is not the first time Roggensack has opposed transparency and openness when it comes to court related matters. In addition to consistently siding with big business special interests, she has also sided against openness in government. She believes that the legislature is not subject to the open meetings law and wrote a new rule that closed out the public from Supreme Court meetings about administering the court system so those decisions are now made in secret instead of out in the open.
Ross concluded, “Patience Roggensack’s coziness with big special interests and problems with transparency and accountability are troubling traits, not qualifications, for the state’s top court.”