Several political donors have taken advantage of higher limits on contributions to candidates for legislative and statewide office in Wisconsin.
The higher limits, which took effect last January, doubled the cap on what donors can give to those holding or seeking an office in the Legislature or one of the state’s constitutionally elected offices, such as the governor and state Supreme Court justices. A review by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows there were 290 contributions made this year that exceeded the old limits, for a total of $251,000 during the first six months of the year.
WDC executive director Matt Rothschild says the small number of people behind those contributions is a cause for concern. “Fewer and fewer people in Wisconsin are giving more and more to candidates, potentially to influence policy, and it’s doesn’t really matter if they’re liberals or conservatives…because this is not a healthy development.”
AUDIO: WDC executive director Matt Rothschild worries about the impact of higher contribution limits (:25)
Rothschild says Republicans raised more than Democrats through the increased caps, although part of that may be due to the fact that the GOP controls majorities in both legislative houses and most constitutional offices. “Republicans are in power, so if you want to influence government, the sensible thing to do from someone who is trying to throw their weight around is to give more money to Republicans.”
Rothschild says the extra money flowing in to politics is regrettable, and argues that many Wisconsin voters want to see less of that in politics.