Monday, March 14, 2011

Show Me The Money!!

There is a great non-partisan website that traces reportable campaign contributions in state level races in all 50 states called FollowtheMoney.  You can search, for example, by candidates, by contributors by state, search which states Koch Industries is  really going after, find a candidate's top twenty contributors, and so on. 

Here is the data from Follow The Money on Wisconsin contributions of the Koch Brothers and their affiliates in the 2010 elections on just Wisconsin state races (does not include U.S. Senate and House Races).  Note, however, that this data does not yet include the last of the five reporting periods (10/19 to 12/31/10):

Here is a pie chart showing the relative scope of the contributions:

A few observations:

1.     In terms of currently reported contributions to individual state candidates, the $43,000 Koch Industries gave to Governor Walker was the second highest level of its campaign support to a gubernatorial candidate in 2010 in the nation, behind only the $50,000 that Koch Industries gave Rick Perry in Texas in his successful 2010 re-election effort.

2.     The Koch Industries contribution of $43,000 was the fourth largest contribution to Governor Walker's campaign, behind the following three larger contributors:

                The Wisconsin Republican Party    -    $122,767
                Concerned Realtors Committee     -     $ 43,125
                Wisconsin Realtors Association     -     $ 43,125

Does anyone think that is seems unusual that Koch got edged out by two other organizations that just happened to each give the Governor a few dollars more ($125) than Koch, driving it down to fourth place?  Were those two contributions coordinated to drop Koch down a couple of spots?  Does it really seem better to be able to say that Koch wasn't in the three largest contributors?  Who knows?

3.     Two Republican senators, Luther Olsen and Randy Hopper, were given the most money of any Republican senators, $900 and $750, respectively, even though they were not up for re-election in 2010.  Both are subject to recall efforts currently.

4.     The $1000 given to losing Democratic Senator Russ Decker was tied with a number of other contributions for second highest to his campaign.

5.     $500, the typical amount given by Koch Industries to the Wisconsin senators and assemblymen, may seem like chump change, but for most of the recipients, a $500 contribution placed the donor as tied for first or second place in donation size.  For example, Karl Van Roy, Republican Assemblyman from District 90, only collected $30,681 in the four of five reporting periods now on-line during his successful re-election effort, and so the $500 from Koch, which was tied for his largest contribution with a number of others, represents over one and a half percent of what he took in.

6.     I suspect the dollars might change even more dramatically in the fifth and final reporting period that Follow The Money does not have up yet.  If you wanted to influence an election in a manner that would not be obvious until well after the election, it would be logical to pour the money in during the fifth reporting cycle that ends almost two months after the election. 

7.    I suspect that Koch dribbles some money over Democratic candidates to be able to say it gives to candidates of both parties.  Of the fourteen Republican legislative candidates receiving Koch money who ran this past year, only one lost.  Of the seven Democratic legislative candidates who received Koch money, only two won.  Nevertheless, it appears as if the campaign contributions to Democrats were all in competitive districts. The 87% of its contributions given to Wisconsin Republicans was more generous than Koch's national trend of giving 81% of its contributions to Republican, according to Follow The Money.

8.   An affiliate of Koch Industries, dropped a million dollars into supporting 2010 California Proposition 23, which asked California voters to approve suspending certain air pollution control laws until unemployment in the state dropped below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.  (Or as the kids said in the movie The Sandlot,  Foooor Eeeeveer!)  Proposition 23 lost 61% to 38%.

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