State Democrats allege a Republican lawmaker used a nonprofit he set up as a “slush fund.” The allegation against state Senator Dan Kapanke was formalized in a complaint to the Government Accountability Board. State Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate says Kapanke, who’s running for the House seat held by Democrat Ron Kind, set up the foundation to provide funding for the La Crosse Loggers, the Northwoods League baseball team he owns. “The foundation made a payment to the city of La Crosse in the amount of $16, 930.80. That is the exact amount that Kapanke owes on the payment schedule, for the improvement to the stadium where his team plays,” said Tate during a media conference call Wednesday.
While the Democrats’ complaint alleges the Loggers foundation employs “lobbyists,” a statement from Kapanke’s campaign maintain’s that’s not true. And in fact, Tate can’t point to any direct contributions by lobbyists to the La Crosse Loggers Foundation. “I can’t, but Dan Kapanke himself said that this foundation will receive donations from organizations that employ lobbyists.” Kapanke campaign manager Brian Chatwin issued the statement, which said Kapanke is committed to following the rules and regulations created for the La Crosse Loggers Foundation, and that the foundation does not employ lobbyists. A similar complaint was filed by Democrats in 2007 and was dismissed by the state Ethics Board.