Wisconsin governor raises $13 million in recall

May 1, 2012, 1:46 AM

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has raised more than $13 million in three months for a recall election, a jaw-dropping feat that easily shattered the fundraising record he set last year.

Walker became the target of a recall election after he pushed through legislation last year eliminating most public union workers’ bargaining rights. His showdown with labor leaders and their Democratic allies made him a celebrity in Republican circles and enabled him to rake in campaign cash at a pace never before seen in Wisconsin.

He set a record for fundraising for a state office last year when he pulled in $12.1 million. But that pales next to his fundraising so far this year. Campaign finance reports filed with state elections officials Monday show he collected $13.1 million between Jan. 18 and April 23. He spent $10 million over the period and had $4.8 million on hand.

A special state law allowing recall targets to raise unlimited amounts of money in their campaigns’ early days helped Walker, but the pace of his fundraising underscores how beloved the governor is in conservative circles nationwide.

He attended a Christmas party thrown by conservative power broker Grover Norquist and raised money with Hank Greenberg, founder and former CEO of American International Group, at his Manhattan office. He was in Oklahoma last month, mingling with the corporate elite and top Republicans at a fundraiser co-sponsored by Koch Industries, the oil company led by billionaire brothers who are top backers of conservative causes nationwide.

According to the reports, Walker’s largest donor was Diane M. Hendricks, who serves as executive vice president of Beloit-based American Builders and Contractors Supply Co. Inc. She gave the governor $500,000. She did not immediately return messages left through her company spokeswoman.

The next two biggest donors were Sheldon Adelson, chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands casino, and Richard DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team and co-founder of the Amway Corp., a direct-sales company now under the Alticor company umbrella. Both gave Walker $250,000. A Las Vegas Sands spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email Monday evening seeking comment from Adelson. An email sent to Alticor seeking comment from DeVos also wasn’t immediately returned.

Walker faces political agitator Arthur Kohl-Riggs in a May 8 Republican primary. Five candidates are running in the Democratic contest. The survivor from each side will face off in a June 5 general election. None of Walker’s challengers has been able to keep up in the money race.

Kohl-Riggs reported raising just $2,045 and spending $479 from Jan. 1 through April 23. He had $1,565 on hand, giving him little chance against the governor. The two Democratic front-runners, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, didn’t come close to Walker’s totals.

Falk’s report showed she raised about $977,000 and spent $884,859 between Jan. 1 and April 23. She had $118,062 on hand. Barrett’s report showed he had raised $831,508 and spent $808,975 during the same span. He had $475,496 in the bank, more than four times as much as Falk but still millions behind Walker.

Both Falk and Barrett’s campaigns issued similar statements accusing Walker of spending more time raising money than creating jobs in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski issued a statement calling Walker’s money “breathtaking.”

“It is true we will be badly outspent. It is also true that, at the end of the day, and until Walker makes it otherwise, money does not vote,” Zielinski said. “The people vote. And it is the people of Wisconsin who will win victory over Scott Walker on June 5th.”

State law allows recall targets to collect unlimited amounts of contributions from the day a group registers against them until the state Government Accountability Board schedules the elections. The first recall committee registered with the board Nov. 4. The board scheduled the elections on March 30, giving Walker’s donors months to funnel unlimited dollars to his campaign.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Biden’s handwritten notes part of classified documents probe

Some of President Joe Biden's handwritten notes are now a part of a special counsel’s investigation into the handling of classified documents.
18 hours ago
Groundhog handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late sprin...
Associated Press

Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow on Groundhog Day, predicting longer winter

Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned him from his tree stump at dawn on Groundhog Day to learn if he has seen his shadow.
18 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed outside of a restaurant in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 202...
Associated Press

Job market still hot, December openings rise to 11 million

U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, delivering a setback to the Federal Reserve's effort to cool a hot job market.
2 days ago
(AP Photo/John Locher)...
Associated Press

Is pumping Mississippi River water to the west a solution or dream?

Amid a major drought in the Western U.S., a proposed solution comes up repeatedly: large-scale river diversions.
2 days ago
US Vice President Kamala Harris (R) greets friends and family of Tyre Nichols during his funeral se...
Associated Press

Emotional calls for police reform at Tyre Nichols’ funeral

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered an impassioned speech calling on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
2 days ago
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, at...
Associated Press

Fed lifts rate by quarter-point but says inflation is easing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March. And the Fed signaled that even though inflation is easing, it remains high enough to require further rate hikes. At the same time, Chair Jerome Powell said at a […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Wisconsin governor raises $13 million in recall