The State’s Top 25 Fat Cats
Diane Hendricks and Lynde Uihlein lead the list of top political donors over last 25 years.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and for the occasion, we’ve put together two tables to show you who the big players are in the political money game in Wisconsin.
One table shows you the top 25 individual contributors over the last 25 years. Number one on that table is Republican donor Diane Hendricks (and her late husband Kenneth), who donated $860,227. Of the top 25 donors, 19 are Republican and 6 are Democratic. Combined, the Republican donors gave $6,982,137, and the Democratic donors gave $2,448,949.
Another table shows the top special interest contributions over the last 25 years by category. All told, these special interest groups spent $363 million in Wisconsin to elect candidates to do their bidding. The top 5 categories were:
Retired, Homemakers, or Non-Income Earners: $41,348,000.
Banking & Finance: $23,855,000.
Manufacturing & Distributing: $23,189,000.
Lawyers, Law Firms, and Lobbying $22,159,000.
“What these tables show is politics in Wisconsin has become a game almost exclusively for the super rich and the special interests,” says Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “The voice of the average Wisconsin citizen is getting drowned out under this tsunami of big money. And too often, our elected officials view their donors as their constituents – and not the citizens of Wisconsin.”
Table 1. Top 25 Individual Contributors* to All Partisan Legislative and Statewide Candidates January 1995 – December 2019
|Diane and Kenneth Hendricks||Janesville||Owners of ABC Supply Co.||R||$860,227|
|Lynde Uihlein||Milwaukee||President of the Brico Fund||D||$720,975|
|Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein||Lake Forest, IL||Owners of Uline Shipping Supplies||R||$666,050|
|Chris Abele||Milwaukee||Milwaukee County executive||D||$661,489|
|Doylene and Bob Perry||Houston, TX||Owners of Perry Homes||R||$500,000|
|Patricia and Robert Kern||Waukesha||Owners of Generac Corp.||R||$466,880|
|Patricia and Daniel McKeithan||River Hills||Owners of Tamarack Petroleum||R||$376,921|
|Renee and Jere Fabick||Oconomowoc||Owners of Fabco Equipment||R||$368,546|
|Sandra and Fred Young||Racine||Owners of Young Radiator||R||$326,691|
|Mary and Ted Kellner||Mequon||Owners of Fiduciary Management||R||$320,478|
|LaVonne and Donald Zietlow||Onalaska||Owners of Kwik Trip||R||$304,210|
|Mary and Terry Kohler||Sheboygan||Owners of Windway Capital||R||$303,198|
|Miriam and Sheldon Adelson||Las Vegas, NV||Owners of the Las Vegas Sands||R||$290,000|
|Kathryn and John Burke||Fox Point||Owners of Burke Properties||R||$288,200|
|Suzanne and William Barry||Brookfield||Owners of Speed Systems||R||$287,130|
|David Humphreys||Joplin, MO||President of TAMKO Building Products||R||$285,000|
|Marianne and Sheldon Lubar||River Hills||Owners of Lubar & Co.||D||$282,250|
|Stanley Herzog||St. Joseph, MO||Owner of Herzog Contracting||R||$280,000|
|Michele and Louis Gentine||Elkhart Lake||Owners of Sargento Cheese||R||$279,450|
|Grant and Nancy Ward||Hillpoint||retired Kailo Fund manager and consultant||D||$276,420|
|Helen and Richard DeVos||Grand Rapids, MI||Owners of Alticor||R||$276,000|
|Katherine and John C. Miller||Kohler||Owners of Miller St. Nazianz||D||$264,015|
|Sarah Atkins||Joplin, MO||Quality consultant for TAMKO Building Products||R||$260,000|
|Judith and Gordon Faulkner||Madison||Owners of Epic Systems||D||$243,800|
|Judith Couri and Gerald Couri||Waukesha||Owners of Couri Insurance Agency||R||$243,156|
$2,448,949 from Democratic leaning contributors and $6,982,137 from Republican leaning contributors.
*‘D’ means predominantly Democratic contributor; ‘R’ means predominantly Republican contributor.
Table 2. Special Interest Group Contributions to All Partisan Legislative and Statewide Candidates January 1995 – December 2019
|Banking & Finance||$23,854,616|
|Manufacturing & Distributing||$23,189,318|
|Civil Servant/Public Employees||$6,841,764|
|Telecommunications & Computers||$5,466,166|
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