Major campaign contributors are hedging their bets this year by giving money to both campaigns for governor, according to the head of a Madison-based government watchdog group. Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says some 300 major donors – some of the wealthiest special interests in the state – are donating to both of the campaigns for governor. McCabe says that tends to discredit the claim made by many big donors that they only give money to politicians who they agree with. “Here you’ve got these donors giving to candidates with widely varying views on key issues, and have very little in common ideologically, and yet these donors are giving to both sides,” says McCabe.
McCabe says those big donors have made over $400,000 in contributions, over half to Republican Scott Walker and almost half to Democrat Tom Barrett. McCabe says they’re hedging their bets because it’s worth it in the long term. “Our research shows that the biggest campaign donors in Wisconsin are routinely getting about $100 back for every dollar they put into the political process,” McCabe says. “Of course that’s all done at our expense. The average taxpayer’s footing that bill, for all those favors that these donors get.” And the money being donated? McCabe says we’ll see the results this campaign season, in the form of more television ads by the campaigns. “That’s how campaigning is done, regrettably nowadays. So what these people are doing is enabling more candidates to go and pay for more thirty second ads and spread their messages and attack each other.”
It’s all spelled out on the Democracy Campaign’s website, but McCabe says the findings won’t come as any big surprise to most Wisconsin voters. who already intuitively understand what’s going on with the state’s political process. “They understand, and they can see with their own eyes that politicians are slavishly serving the very narrow interests that are paying for all the lobbyists and are making all the campaign contributions, and they realize that the average person doesn’t have much of a voice, and is really getting the shaft out of this whole thing. They don’t need our research to tell them that.”