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By now it's well known how much money was raised by Scott Walker to defeat Tom Barrett and hold onto his position as Governor of Wisconsin. Walker got 2/3 of his contributions from out of state while Barrett got 3/4 from Wisconsin donors.

What is less well known is that there is a strange quirk in Wisconsin law that limited the challenger's donations to $10,000 while the incumbent had no limits on the size of individual donations.

Wisconsin law says candidates for governor normally may not take donations of more than $10,000 each. That was the limit under which Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat, operated in the recall election being decided Tuesday at the polls.

But as governor, Walker had a different set of rules. A somewhat obscure state law passed in 1987 says that when a governor is facing a recall challenge, the normal donation limits are suspended for "the payment of legal fees and other expenses."

How many donations of $10,000 do you think Barrett was able to obtain?

"Tom Barrett does have to abide by this $10,000 limit on individual contributions [and] he has gotten, as of today, 26 contributions of $10,000," Lueders says.
That's right. A total of 26 individuals were willing (or able) to contribute $10,000 to Barrett's campaign. Ironically, Walker tried to make the case that unions were buying the election against him.
"I think they're trying to buy it, but not for me but against me," Walker said. "The money that's come in since last February is overwhelmingly from special interests, particularly big government unions in Washington who have tried to take me out."
And Walker?
But Walker had more than four times the number of $10,000 contributions as Barrett, he says, and because Walker didn't have to abide by that limit at all, he raised 111 contributions of more than $10,000 each — largely from outside of Wisconsin.
Who were some of Walker's big donors? Foster Friess of Wyoming, Rick Santorum's benefactor, and Bob Perry of Texas, of Swift Boat fame. He contributed $490,000 to Walker, and has already contributed $4M to Romney's SuperPAC.

Some other Walker donors include:

• $510,000 to Walker from Diane Hendricks, Wisconsin's richest businesswoman and a member of Charles and David Koch's million-dollar donor club

• $260,000 to Walker from David Humphreys, a member of the Kochs' million-dollar donor club

• $250,000 to Walker from Amway founder Dick DeVos of Michigan, a member of the Kochs' million-dollar donor club

• $250,000 to Walker from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who with his wife has spent more than $25 million on the 2012 elections

• $100,000 to Walker from Wyoming investor Foster Friess, a member of the Kochs' million-dollar donor club

• $100,000 to Walker from New York billionaire Louis Bacon, a media-shy hedge-fund trader

• $100,000 to Walker from Dallas oil and gas billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones

And here's a breakdown from the NY Times and what was spent on this, the most expensive election ever in Wisconsin.  Walker spent $45.6M to Barrett's $17.9M.


This was not an experiment in democracy. As others have said, this was, and will continue to be, all about the money.

Originally posted to Barefoothoofcare on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:25:04 AM PDT

  •  Conclusion #1: Know the rules of the playing field (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Conclusion #2: When the enemy is turtling beneath a gigantic turret, zerg rushing is not very effective.

    Conclusion #3: Don't let the bastards get entrenched in the first place.

  •  This is an aspect of the overriding issue, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, redlum jak

    which if unaddressed sinks not just the Dems who are responsible for solving it, but the nation. There is much that the states can do to impose regulations as you imply. But as Seneca Doane wrote about Arizona Free Enterprise last year, private money ultimately threatens the future of the Dems and democracy. After that case, publicly financed campaigns will not be funded to match privately financed opponents, creating a two-tier system. So voters who care about their civil rights and enfranchisement, will need to make getting money out of politics the one and only issue deciding the career of candidates for Congress. Those who value democracy tend to underrate single issue movements as with the Norquist pledge. But if issue discipline and accountability to the electorate can not be maintained, then parties have hijacked the vote, and use their money to manipulate consensus. Democrats or those who might advocate for the middle class would be mostly cast as the predetermined loser as in a pro wrestling match. To restore democracy voters would have to be signed on to supporting era-ending legislation in Congress to abolish privately funded elections, regulate media, overturn Buckley and its progeny and strip the Court of its pretended jurisdiction to veto such legislation. Voters would make this the litmus test for any candidacy, with the legislation language already worked out, and either the candidate signs on for sponsorship or doesn't get elected. Any compromise by representatives results in their retirement in the next cycle. This would also break through the gerrymandering problem- that partisanship  assures a safe seat. If the big money era is not ended, then we will have the current plutocracy indefinitely, much like Jim Crow was. It takes a civil rights movement to end this big money regime. Given online technologies and the concern of the electorate, this transformation could go very quickly. The next battleground is Montana's defense of clean government in American Tradition Partnership on certiorari to the Supreme Court.

  •  NPR did a story on that last night. That's..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    democracy for you!

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:31:42 AM PDT

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