Independent groups having no trouble raising money
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Three independent groups that could play huge roles in this year's governor's race raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wisconsin donors in the first half of this year.
A review of IRS records for 527 groups by Wisconsin Public Radio showed the Republican Governors Association received more than $350,000 from Wisconsin donors between the first of the year and the end of June. The association's biggest Wisconsin donor was the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which gave $115,000. Six other Wisconsin donors gave the association at least $25,000, including a road builders group and Kohler Company.
The Democratic Governors Association received much less -- about $70,000 from Wisconsin donors. $50,000 came from Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls.
But that's only half the story. The DGA has historically worked closely with another group, the Greater Wisconsin Committee. Its political fund received more than $250,000 from Wisconsin donors. $175,000 came from Milwaukee philanthropist Lynde Uhlein.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee got most of its money from other sources including about $300,000 from the DGA. The money has allowed the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund to run TV ads attacking Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann.
The RGA has also been active in Wisconsin's campaign, attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. Even if it runs out of Wisconsin donors, it can spend from the nearly $30-million in contributions it received nationwide in the first half of this year.