Uihleins, Walton Shower GOP Legislators With Cash
Out-of-state donors give $1.9 million to state legislators, 79% of it to Republicans.
Wisconsin legislators accepted nearly $1.9 million, or $1 of every $4, in large individual contributions from outside Wisconsin in 2020, and nearly half of it came from one Illinois couple.
Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, of Lake Forest, Ill., co-founders of Uline Shipping Supplies, contributed $918,000 to GOP legislators and two legislative campaign committees, which are mega-fundraising committees used by legislative leaders to raise money for elections.
The bulk of the Uihlein contributions – $805,000 – went to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. The Committee to Elect a Republican Senate received $100,000 from the billionaire couple, who are among the top supporters of GOP and conservative candidates and causes throughout the country. Seven GOP legislators shared the remaining $13,000 in contributions from the couple. For more about the Uihleins, go here and here.
Rounding out the top three out-of-state contributors to legislative candidates and fundraising committees was Alice Walton, of Bentonville, Ark., an heir to the Walmart Stores fortune. Walton is a longtime supporter of voucher schools in Wisconsin and across the country. Walton contributed $50,000, including $25,000 each to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee and the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign considers any contribution of $100 or more a large individual contribution.
Here are some other highlights of the Democracy Campaign’s review of large individual contributions from outside Wisconsin to current legislators and legislative campaign committees in 2020:
- Current legislators and the four legislative campaign committees raised nearly $7.7 million from large individual contributors, including $1.87 million, or 24 percent, from outside Wisconsin,
- Republican legislators and their two legislative campaign committees collected $1.48 million, or 79 percent of the out-of-state contributions compared to $389,741, or 21 percent, that went to Democratic legislators and their two legislative campaign committees,
- The four legislative campaign committees alone accepted $1.32 million, or 48 percent, of their total $2.75 million in large individual contributions from out-of-state contributors. Current legislators accepted about $554,700, or 11 percent, of their total $4.93 million in large individual contributions from out-of-state contributors.
- The $1.32 million in large individual out-of-state contributions to the four legislative campaign committees represented 70 percent of the $1.87 million in out-of-state contributions to all current legislators and fundraising committees,
- The Republican Assembly Campaign Committee accepted $999,481, or 68 percent, of its large individual campaign contributions from out-of-state donors followed by the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, which accepted $250,501, or 37 percent, of its large individual contributions from outside Wisconsin,
- The two Democratic legislative campaign committees received sharply less from large individual out-of-state contributors than their GOP counterparts. The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee received $49,436, or 14 percent of its large individual contributions from outside Wisconsin. The State Senate Democratic Committee raised $16,235, or 7 percent, from large individual out-of-state contributors,
The legislators who raised the highest amount of large individual contributions from outside Wisconsin were Democrats, including:
Rep. Robyn Vining, of Wauwatosa, $48,970, or 41 percent, of her total large individual contributions,
Rep. Deb Andraca, of Whitefish Bay, $47,026, or 32 percent, of her total large individual contributions,
Rep. Sara Rodriguez, of Brookfield, $43,356, or 39 percent, of her total large individual contributions,
Sen. Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, $36,767, or 19 percent of his total large individual contributions,
Sen. Kelda Roys, of Madison, $27,163, or 24 percent of her total large individual contributions.