Union Donations Cascade to Democrats in Wis. Recalls

Saturday, 25 Jun 2011 12:07 AM

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No big surprise here: The union financial spigots are open for Democrats running in contentious Wisconsin recall elections this summer. In fact, 97.7 percent of the $62,625 that union political action committees have donated to recall candidates has gone to Democrats, according to a nonpartisan watchdog group, reports the La Crosse Tribune.

Three Democrats and six Republicans are facing recalls in July and August, with the Democrats on the block for trying to foil Gov. Scott Walker’s yanking collective-bargaining rights in his budget plans and Republicans, for supporting the measures.

The breakdown on the contributions comes from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks contributions larger than $100.

Although furor over Walker’s budget spurred the recall efforts, the contribution pattern doesn’t necessarily depart from the norm, some observers say.

“What you find, long-term, is that corporations split their contributions almost evenly between the two political parties, whereas unions give their political donations — 95 percent and up — to the Democratic Party,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

And Gillian Morris, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told the Tribune that it’s hard to determine whether the percentage is higher than normal. But donations are expected to be higher than normal for the recall battles, she said.

“It hasn’t just been unions by any stretch,” Morris told the Tribune. “The start to all of this was the collective bargaining bill, but it’s picked up speed since then.”

One Republican who did get a substantial union contribution is State Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse, who received $1,000 from Operating Engineers 139 Political Action Committee. Kapanke, whom some consider the most vulnerable of the candidates up for recalls, has reported a total of $180,310 in total contributions.



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