WISCONSINREPORT.COM (04/28/2010) - A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review released today shows eleven contributors to Wisconsin candidates for statewide office and the legislature exceeded the annual $10,000 limit on individual contributions in 2009. The Democracy Campaign findings are based on state campaign finance reports filed by legislative, judicial and statewide candidates and political parties that show the sources of their campaign contributions and spending. The contributions were to both Democrats and Republicans.
State law allows the Government Accountability Board to fine those who violate the $10,000 annual contribution limit $500 plus triple the amount by which the limit was exceeded.
The reports show William B. Johnson, owner of Johnson Timber Corporation in Hayward, contributed $14,000 to two candidates – $10,000 on January 31 to Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Randy Koschnick and $4,000 on June 25 to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.
Koschnick, a Jefferson County circuit judge, challenged Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in the 2009 spring elections. Abrahamson won reelection to the court.
Johnson also exceeded state contribution limits in 2001, giving $12,500 that year, but was not fined by the former State Elections Board which was later replaced by the Government Accountability Board.
William Gardner of Hartford and president of Wisconsin Southern Railroad contributed $13,500 to a Republican candidate for governor and a Democratic legislative leadership committee used to tap special interests for contributions, according to campaign finance reports.
Gardner gave two $5,000 contributions to Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker on December 14 and November 19 and $3,500 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee on December 30, 2009.
Brookfield attorney William Cannon made $11,125 worth of contributions in 2009. He made three contributions totaling $6,000 to Abrahamson on January 22, January 23 and February 2; a $5,000 contribution to Doyle on June 11; and a $125 contribution to Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Hassett on August 27, records show.
Oconomowoc businessman Jere Fabick, owner of Fabco Equipment, contributed $11,000 to candidates in 2009. Those contributions included $3,000 on April 23 and $7,000 on December 15 to Walker and $1,000 on September 15 to Democratic State Senator Jim Sullivan, records show.
Fabick exceeded state contributions limits in 2002, giving $17,346 that year and was later fined $834 by the former State Elections Board.
Two other Milwaukee-area businessmen – William Barry of Brookfield who contributed $10,475 and Duane Bluemke of Oconomowoc who contributed $10,350 – also exceeded the $10,000 annual contribution limit in the past.
Barry gave $13,175 and Bluemke doled out $14,850 in 2006. The State Elections Board allowed Barry and Bluemke to split their contributions with their wives, thereby dropping their total contributions under the $10,000 limit and avoiding a fine.
Milwaukee attorney Robert Habush contributed $11,000 to six candidates in 2009 including $5,000 to Doyle; $3,400 to Barrett; $2,000 to Abrahamson and a total of $600 to three Democratic Assembly representatives.