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Area Executives Open Pockets to Help Walker Fight Recall

Business leaders from throughout the Milwaukee suburbs are donating thousands to keep Republican governor in office.

Jaws dropped when the supporters of the recently submitted more than 1 million signatures of Wisconsin residents.

Then jaws dropped again when Walker’s campaign announced a few days later it had raised more than $4.5 million in the most recent reporting period from a total of 21,443 contributions.

State law allows candidates who are targets of recalls to raise unlimited cash while the signatures are being gathered. Walker seized the moment, making a series of out-of-state fundraising appearances during the 60-day window.

“Gov. Walker's message of moving Wisconsin forward continues to resonate with voters,” said Ciara Matthews, communications director of the Walker campaign. “It is this message, and the success of the governor's reforms, that have inspired people to contribute to his campaign in overwhelming numbers. These donations will allow us to fight back against this baseless recall and ensure Gov. Walker can continue to lay the foundation for a more successful Wisconsin and keep government working on the side of taxpayers.”

The Walker campaign finished the quarter with a combined total of more than $2.6 million cash on hand in the recall and general campaign funds. The campaign has raised more than $12 million since Jan. 1, 2011. According to the campaign, 16,406 of those contributions were $50 or less, representing 76.5 percent of the overall number of contributions.

A quick review of the Walker donations reported to the Government Accountability Board shows strong support from prominent Wisconsin business executives (name, company and city of residence): John Bergstrom of Bergstrom Automotive, Neenah, $2,500; Frederick Boelter of The Boelter Companies, Hartland, $2,500; John Burke of Burke Properties, Fox Point, $10,000; Jere Fabick of Fabco Equipment, Oconomowoc, $50,000; Gerald Frye of The Benefit Services Group Inc., Elm Grove, $5,000; Robert Greenheck of Greenheck Fan Corp., Schofield, $7,500; William Haack of Zywave, Elm Grove, $8,000; Thomas Halquist of Halquist Stone Company, Menomonee Falls, $2,500; Harvey Hammond of HNTB Corp., Mequon, $5,000; Emery Harlan of Gonzalez, Saggio & Harland LLP, $5.000; Robert Hillis of Direct Supply Inc., Milwaukee, $10,000; Chris Kappl of Wildwood Reserve LLC, Menomonee Falls; Ted Kellner of Fiduciary Management, Mequon, $8,564.84; Dennis Klein, KBS Construction, Milwaukee, $10,000; Richard Klein of Aurora Health Care, Brookfield, $10,000; Herbert Kohler of Kohler Company, Kohler, $8,000; James Leef of ITU Inc., Brookfield, $4,000; Fred Luber of Super Steel Products Corp., Milwaukee, $2,000; Glenn Madrigrano of CJW Inc., Kenosha, $2,500; Michael Mahoney of Park Bank, Mequon, $2,000; Daniel McKeithan of Tamarack Petroleum Company, Milwaukee, $20,000; John Mellowes of Charter Manufacturing Co. Inc., Mequon, $10,000; Mark Neumann of Neumann Homes Inc., Nashotah, $2,500; Albert Nicholas of Nicholas Company Inc., Hartland, $25,000; Eric Peter of Jax Inc., Elm Grove, $2,500; Thomas Quadracci of Quad/Graphics Inc., Hartland, $2,000; V. Ross Read III, Clement Finance & Leasing Inc., Milwaukee; Roy Reiman (retired) of Reiman Publications, $10,000; Steve Ristow of Schneider Excavating, Lannon, $2,500; Michael White of Rite-Hite Holding Corp., River Hills, $16,700; Richard Wiederhold of Managed Health Services, Elm Grove, $2,000; and James Wigdale (retired) of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., Fox Point, $3,000.

A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis of the individual Walker contributions reported in the latest campaign finance report shows that 61 percent came from outside Wisconsin. Nearly $2.3 million of the $4.5 million raised came from just 33 donors.

The largest out-of-state donations included: $250,000 each from Sarah Atkins and David Humphries of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, Mo.; $250,000 from Stanley Herzog of Herzog Companies Inc. in St. Joseph, Mo.; $250,000 from Bob J. Perry of Perry Homes in Houston, Texas; and $100,000 from Bruce Kovner of Caxton Alternative Management LP in New York City.

Perry was the financier of the infamous “Swift Boat” ads against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

The political action committee of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce donated $150,000 to Walker’s campaign on Dec. 16 and another $25,000 on Jan. 2.

“Gov. Scott Walker is traveling across America selling out Wisconsin to the highest bidder,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, one of the groups working to recall Walker. “No wonder Walker doesn’t have time to try and stop the six straight months of job loss. Traveling across the country to raise money is his day job, being governor is just his hobby at this point.”

Steve Jagler is the executive editor of BizTimes, one of Patch's media partners. This opinion piece first appeared on Jagler's "Milwaukee Biz Blog" on BizTimes.com.

Drive To 24 February 11, 2012 at 10:10 PM
So far, that little meme is an epic fail. In one month, Walker has cost Wisconsin 2,300 jobs, 800 of them from the private sector and unemployment rose this month to 7.9 percent. To put this in perspective, the Republicans claim Obama is a failure because there was an overall zero job growth last month for the country. However, when we parsed those numbers, we found that under Obama, we had private sector job growth that was zeroed out by public sector job losses, due in large part to Republican job killing measures of the public sector in numerous Republican led states.So, zero job growth is an epic fail, but 2,300 jobs lost is a success.
Drive To 24 February 11, 2012 at 10:13 PM
“Another month, another rise in the unemployment rate under Gov. Scott Walker. Given that the Republican legislature gave Gov. Walker all the tax breaks for corporations, all the tax breaks for the wealthy, all the power grabs and privatization and all the dismantling of voter rights and workers’ rights he demanded, it is time for them to admit their way is a failure. Complete and total. We need to immediately scrap what they have done, erase it from the statutes and invest in the people of Wisconsin so that the people of Wisconsin have a fighting chance at undoing the historic economic damage the corporate menace which put Scott Walker into the Governor’s mansion caused. If Gov. Walker’s schemes were going to work, we would have seen some glimmer of hope by now as we pass nine months of this administration.”Why did Walker do it? All of the spin in the world can’t obscure the obvious. Scott Walker is dumb-witted enough to be a perfectly dense puppet for the wealthy. He couldn’t make it through college, where he was busted for cheating in an election. The man isn’t bright.
Bucky February 12, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Abalone ... and as long as you continue to be an obedient dog you to will continue to get the scraps.
Ron Abalone February 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Corporations like stability. A sociopathic governor and his legislative minions severely overreached and caused great chaos, which continues into the recalls, even reaching to the Wisc. Supreme Court, now nationally regarded as dysfunctional and physically combative. Now there are corruption charges against Walker's former staff at the Milw. Co. Exec. offices. Corporations may be filled with Republican leaders, but they are paid to be pragmatic, at least the public ones without family founders. No wonder Wisconsin cannot bring in the significant corporate investments and job creation anymore. Would you invest in a land of civil unrest and corruption, where the people have arisen and are trying to overthrow the current government? It did not have to be.
Ron Abalone February 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Walker should go back and try to get his college degree when he has plenty of time, maybe real soon. Then he could get a job as a teacher, if he is lucky.

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