The Dark Money Behind the Wisconsin Recall

Some startling stats about the election to decide the future of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker:

$63.5 million: The minimum amount spent by both sides in the recall

70 percent: How much more expensive the governor’s recall election is than the state’s second-most expensive race (the 2010 gubernatorial campaign)

$30.5 million: Amount raised by Walker to fight off the recall effort

$3.9 million: Amount raised by his challenger, Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee

About 2/3: Proportion of Walker’s donations that have come from donors outside Wisconsin

About 1/4: Proportion of Barrett’s donations that have come from donors outside Wisconsin

Unlimited: Maximum individual donation Walker may accept under state law

$10,000: Maximum individual donation Barrett may accept under state law

$18 million: Amount spent on pro-Walker independent expenditures and issue ads

$15.5 million: Amount spent on pro-Barrett independent expenditures and issue ads

Some of the biggest contributions and expenditures in support of Walker:

$510,000 to Walker from Diane Hendricks, Wisconsin’s richest businesswoman and a member of Charles and David Koch’s million-dollar donor club

$490,000 to Walker from Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder who with his wife has spent more than $8 million on the 2012 elections

$260,000 to Walker from David Humphreys, a member of the Kochs’ million-dollar donor club

$250,000 to Walker from former Amway CEO Dick DeVos of Michigan, a member of the Kochs’ million-dollar donor club

$250,000 to Walker from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who with his wife has spent more than $25 million on the 2012 elections

$100,000 to Walker from Wyoming investor Foster Friess, a member of the Kochs’ million-dollar donor club

$100,000 to Walker from New York billionaire Louis Bacon, a media-shy hedge-fund trader

$100,000 to Walker from Dallas oil and gas billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones

$6.5 million on ads spent by Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the anti-labor Center for Union Facts

$9 million on ads spent by the Republican Governors Association‘s Right Direction Wisconsin PAC; only about $7,000 was raised in-state since April 23. The RGA got $1 million from David Koch in February. It’s also received $500,000 from the US Chamber of Commerce

 

Some of the biggest contributions and expenditures in support of Barrett:

$200,000 to the America Votes Action Fund, a Democratic super-PAC, from Fred Eychaner, a reclusive media mogul and Obama bundler from Chicago*

$1 million to the We Are Wisconsin Political Fund, an independent expenditure group run by state AFL-CIO president Phil Neuenfeldt, from the National Education Association’s super-PAC

$500,000 to We Are Wisconsin from the Service Employees International Union; $500,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and $350,000 from the American Federation of Teachers

$1.3 million to Greater Wisconsin, an independent expenditure shop, from We Are Wisconsin; $900,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $500,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

$2 million on ads spent by the Greater Wisconsin Committee, GW’s 501(c)(4) branch

Correction: This post originally stated that Fred Eychaner donated directly to Tom Barrett, who was limited by law to maximum individual donations of $10,000.

This post has been revised.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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