Over a recent six-week period, Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Ed Fallone has seen a huge increase in campaign donations -- nearly quadrupling his total receipts -- but incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack is still far ahead in the quest for cash.
New filings with the Government Accountability Board reveal that the candidates took in a combined $530,000 over the period between Feb. 5 and March 18, most of which came in after the Feb. 19 primary. Roggensack's campaign took in $295,000 during the filing period, bringing her total to $572,000. Her receipts (PDF) go back to the second half of 2011. Fallone, who had received just $80,000 before the new filing period, added $234,000 to his coffers. Though Fallone's new receipts outshine by far his totals before Feb. 5, he remains behind in the fundraising race with a reported $314,000.
The Supreme Court race is officially non-partisan, but political parties have weighed in with their checkbooks. The Republican Party of Wisconsin gave $26,000 to Roggensack's campaign, all since Feb. 5. Various local Republican organizations have given thousands more, and the total amount keeps rising as more donations arrive.
In addition to her campaign committee's huge financial advantage, Roggensack has received support from other groups in the form of issue advertisements, which do not count as direct contributions to her campaign.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, a business trade association, has placed an ad supporting the incumbent justice. According to recent estimates, the conservative advocacy group Wisconsin Club for Growth placed $300,000 in ads for the primary, and according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, has so far spent another $146,000 in the Milwaukee area for the general. (Milwaukee is the only media market covered by the FCC database. In smaller cities like Madison, files detailing ad purchases are housed at television stations.)
While two local Democratic Party groups contributed to Fallone this period, the state party has stayed out of the race.
But Fallone has received significant donations from unions. Education unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, have provided $36,000 to Fallone's campaign over this period. Other unions, such as the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, have handed over more than $10,000.
But while politically oriented organizations contributed large sums, individual giving made up 82 percent of the total. Some of the noteworthy examples:
- Judy Faulkner, founder of Epic Systems, along with her husband Gordon, contributed $10,000 to Fallone's campaign. The two are active contributors to liberal candidates.
- Though Roggensack's list of contributors includes several wealthy business owners in and outside of Wisconsin, one of the most notable is Diane Hendricks, who gave $3,750 to Roggensack's campaign. The billionaire owner of the Hendricks Holding Co. is an enthusiastic political donor who gave $500,000 to support Republican Gov. Scott Walker in last year's recall election.
- Individuals identifying themselves as attorneys contributed more than $34,000 to Fallone. Several lawyers from personal injury firm Habush, Habush & Rottier SC, including Robert Habush and Daniel Rottier, contributed $12,650 to Fallone's campaign. Some of the firm's cases have been heard by the Supreme Court, at least one during Roggensack's first term.
- Members of Roggensack's own family, along with Roggensack herself, are also willing to donate. Individuals who shared the justice's last name, along with her daughter Ellen Brostrom, gave more than $13,000. Brostrom is a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge. (The justice herself gave $148.)
Donations of $500 or more continue to be reported every 24 hours to the GAB, though any smaller donations from now until April 2 will not be released until after the election.
The following table depicts campaign contributions to Fallone and Roggensack between Feb. 5 and March 18, broken down by weekly totals.