Candidates, special interest groups and political committees spent more than $137 million on the historic wave of 15 recalls over the last two years, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said Wednesday.

Of that amount, nearly $81 million targeted the failed attempt to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. It more than doubled the record-setting $37.4 million spent for a statewide office in the 2010 governor's race. And Walker more than tripled his previous spending record, doling out about $36 million leading up to his June 5 recall victory.

"The total amount of money is mind-boggling," said Mike McCabe, WDC executive director.

The 15 recall races included one each for governor and lieutenant governor and 13 state Senate seats between last summer and June 5.

Walker and Republican groups and committees spent $58.7 million on the Walker recall, more than double the $22 million spent by Democratic candidates, the democracy campaign said. In that race, Walker defeated his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and independent candidate for governor Dr. Hariprasad Trivedi, who spent $305,204.

For all 15 of the recalls in 2011 and 2012, Republican candidates, groups and committees outspent their Democratic opponents $84.5 million to $52.6 million, according to WDC.

And outside special interest groups spent nearly $76 million in the 15 recalls, including $39.8 million by groups that supported the GOP and $36 million by those that backed Democrats.

McCabe said the spending by outside special interest groups was the most ever in Wisconsin.

WDC also reported that nearly $22 million, or 64 percent, of the individual contributions Walker brought in since January 2011 came from out-of-state banking, manufacturing, construction, real estate and other special interests from places like Florida, Texas, New York, Missouri and Nevada.

The campaign spending watchdog group based its estimates on a review of outside group spending, television advertising buys and campaign finance reports filed by the candidates, groups and political committees.

  • State Government Reporter for Wisconsin State Journal

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motherlode
motherlode

Worth every dime.

ButSiriuslyFolks
ButSiriuslyFolks

The interesting part of all of this is the fact that it revealed exactly how much financial power the right holds at this point. Not to take anything away from the left, who might have matched the funds had they been fundraising instead of collecting signatures, but you get the feeling that Walker's fundraising was way too easy. A little travel, a little smile, a little speech, and seven figures come rolling in.

There's a lot of smoke and mirrors with this money...trumpets blaring on Fox News on how Obama is spending so much more of his campaign money than Romney, while conveniently ignoring that Romney has several more Super PACs supplementing his commercials, meaning Romney is able to hold on to his money a little bit longer.

I would completely support any resolution taking privately donated funds out of elections, make them all publicly funded, and supplement the dearth of commercials with more debates and town hall meetings so that the American people can get more than soundbites.

Which side stands to lose more in this scenario?

powmda
powmda

Look upon it as a windfall for the media! Much money spent stimulating the local economy! And, after all the hoopla, the Guv gets 200,000 more votes than he got in 2010. And, after this November's elections, the Repubs will once again control the State Senate. I tell ya, this is fun! After the November elections, the Madison Left will be sputtering even more! Tee, hee, hee !!!

tommyd64
tommyd64

Hey,,,,,I would like to thank 'the Unions across America who sent their hard earned dollars to
Wisconsin, to help stimulate OUR economy.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Plenty of facts and figures here listed in hopes of eliciting new hate this or that....where is the number that is really important: how much taxpayer money went into facilitating these recalls?

Donations and supporters are one thing, but how much in City, County, State, and Federal funds were expended to hold these recalls.

This is the unifying number that one side could have saved...the other side would have spent on another program.

But its gone now.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

I would like to thank all who include the word "scooter" in their first sentence....truly signals the rest of the rant holds no substance or weight.

Time to change the name of Madison to Scootertown....just to piss off liberals there

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

The recall Walker bumper stickers will go away as soon as the W bumper stickers go away.

uwjeff
uwjeff

hmmmmmm..........I'd bet money on that predicition being wrong..........I still see the occasional 'Impeach Bush' sticker.........lol

Thurston Howell III
Thurston Howell III

The Recall Walker sticker will still be stuck to the lefties Prius's until they hit the junkyards - I still see Al Gore stickers, and the Feingold stickers are plastered on half the bumpers in Madison. Way to go...to prove you're a loser, that is.

array1
array1

I love my recall walker sticker! Got a small one on my bike too.

uwjeff
uwjeff

I would be curious to know how much of that money was spent on 'bumper stickers' alone ...... talk about 'bitter clingers' ............it must be a real effort and pain to remove them as they sure seem to stick around long after their 'expiration date' and having any relevance (as if they ever did) I never understood the love so many in Madison seem to have with their political bumper stickers.........and really people isn't it time you remove your Recall Walker stickers -- or have they become your symbolic badge of honor that you need to cling on to.................why?

whatistruth
whatistruth

I think they should open Scooter Shares on the commodities market to bet on how much he can rake in...

Except, thinking about it, perhaps it would not do so well right now with the John Doe thing lurking...

Or maybe it would because of all the big-money sympathy for their poster-boy.

Tpartywarrior
Tpartywarrior

Thanks to Democrats for making history as Scott Walker becomes the only governor to win twice in his first term.

I said before June 5th that when Walker wins, it will weaken the Democrats in WI. for decades.
I look for big Republican wins in November.

Hodnut
Hodnut

With 3 out of 11 State Senate recalls resulting in a State Senator being thrown out of office for placing their party before their constituents, I think the recalls were well worth it.

If we can remind our representatives that they are OUR representatives, not their party's, then this has all been well worth it.

The recall lets us send that reminder very forcefully when it is needed. With the recent trend in both major parties to demand dogmatic loyalty to the party above loyalty to the people the elected official represents, we need the power to throw representatives out and make sure they remember that we are their bosses, not the other way around.

Thurston Howell III
Thurston Howell III

"With 3 out of 11 State Senate recalls resulting in a State Senator being thrown out of office for placing their party before their constituents, I think the recalls were well worth it."

Well, outside of Dane County, you'd be about the ONLY one.

array1
array1

Were not the 3 republicans kicked out in the recalls outside of Dane county??

Farmdog
Farmdog

Ouch! Great come back, array 1.

Janeywater
Janeywater

Where did the people of WI think the money for the farce would come from? Did they think about the overall cost to the citizens of WI? What should happen is that the state bills those who initiated the farce and all who signed petitions. But, unfortunately that's not what will happen. ALL of us will pay eventually...increased taxes and loss of services. And, that ain't democracy..that's thievery!

windy33
windy33

well lets see what you have tro say when you find out that walker never paid off anything he borrowed the money and used the creadit card. you won't think he was so nice when we get the bill

windy33
windy33

it was money well spent and this is far from over. all you walker lovers won't be so happy with the crook when the bill comes due that he borrowed the money and used the creadit card. he only paid off his supporters and continues to rig the bidding process. time for the fbi top step in on this one as well. WILL WISCONSIN EVER BE SCOTT FREE AS IN SCOTT WALKER AND SCOTT BULLY FITZGERALD.

Phil_Eng_Amer
Phil_Eng_Amer

In the end it really does seem very frivolous. Ultimately the result of the recall was more in favor of Walker than the original election. With the legislation that spawned this recall creating instant impacts (http://bit.ly/zyYo44), it’s hard to really see much of a justification for the spending of this money. Even if the legislation hadn’t been as initially successful, it’s still questionable as whether there should have been a recall election. Hopefully with things settled down we can get a full view of the impact of the labor legislation and use Walker’s full term to gauge its success or failure.

deernut00
deernut00

And will the media follow where this money was spent? Likely not, as it is in their pockets now. And sure as I am sitting here, they will whip up the next potential spat and difference to try to get more recall's in motion.

Davisra
Davisra

All the whining by the teachers and other union folks about how poor they are now that Gov.Walker has put in some cost controls. Wow - think how far this $81 million could have gone to alleviating your distress. Pretty sad.

tomtom
tomtom

just think how far that $81 million could have gone for tax breaks for multimillionaires?

tomtom33
tomtom33

And think of the economic boost we could have gained from $81 million in tax breaks.

testifyingmonkey
testifyingmonkey

Since the news media really doesn't do a very good job of investigating the claims made by candidates and their staff and since a lot of people don't do their own reading to find the facts or just sits in front of the television and watching shows that support their already defined point of view rather the facts, money does matter because all you have to do is have something repeated over and over and over again and it becomes the truth. To do that you need to pay the media (sounds like a conflict there) to run your distortion over and over again and since people have to pay to run ads to refute your distortions, well you see where I am going. Money matters and the most money won.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

What did that fine whit Samuel Clemens write: A lie can make it half way around the earth before the truth ties its shoes.

Ok it was actually a baptist preacher who said "A lie will go round the world while the truth is pulling its boots on." But who ever heard of Charles Haddon Spurgeon?

Thurston Howell III
Thurston Howell III

Samual Clemens was "a fine whit"??

Exactly what is a "fine whit"? Something posted by someone who is witless?

noldtimer
noldtimer

What I want to know is, why are protestors still singing their noon songs at the capitol square once a week? What are they protesting?

And why does someone continue to write chalk all over the Madison square sidewalk saying, "this is far from over".. What is far from over? What is this?..

The recall is done, the elections are done till the normal ones this fall. So why the continued drama? Will it ever end? Will the capitol ever become peaceful and clean again?

Monitor
Monitor

noldtimer, Our Capitol is indeed badly tarnished, not from sidewalk chalk but from the backroom ALEC deal making and paybacks to the special interest monies that were given. The capitol will not be peaceful or clean until we have election finance reforms in place.

tomtom33
tomtom33

And we will never come together as long as some continue to demonize. How about some adult behavior?

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

I hope Wisconsin's TV stations are budgeting for an austere year in 2013, without these campaign bonanzas they may have become accustomed to. Gravy train's left the station, guys. (Well, it WILL have, after November 6.)

srwspoon
srwspoon

A note to everyone on all sides:

We get it already...

Any money spent, regardless of its source, in an attempt to elect any politician that opposes your ideology is evil; any money spent, regardless of its source, in an attempt to elect any politician that supports your ideology is completely justified.

Everyone sees the "obvious" logic in that.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If the source of the money is not illegal then it really is irrelevant in my eyes no matter which side it is or how much it is (yes I think there is too much of it); "how" the legal campaign contribution money is spent by the candidates in the course of the campaign is quite relevant to me.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

To me it isn't about good and evil spoon.

While I am largely a free speech advocate I think the supremes made a huge mistake when they equated money to speech. In doing so the supremes argued that placing limits on money would unconstitutionally infringe on free speech.

We already know there are limits to free speech, that whole can't yell fire in a movie thing and obscenity. But I'd take the argument in a different direction. It's already permissible to place decibel limits on speech. I would make the analogy that placing monetary limits on campaign contributions is no different than placing a decibel limit on speech.

In the alternative, I'm all in favor of absolute and immediate transparency down to the individual donor for every group out there trying to sway an election or drive public opinion. I want to know who's out there buying elections.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

I guess this report throws cold water on earlier republican claims that Walker's fundraising advantage had been negated by out of state money supporting the recall.

Turns out those republican claims were just another conservative distortion.

Comment deleted.
srwspoon
srwspoon

libsrlooney,
Childish comment, grow up.

Victor_Berger
Victor_Berger

Good Dog Happy Man - since my "dumb socialist red t-shirt with an angry blue fist on it" annoys so much you I will buy a few more.

What a bargain!

Comment deleted.
Victor_Berger
Victor_Berger

"Target myself"? Oh very threatening webworm-boy. No one is afraid of you. Stray dogs growl at you in passing. Birds dive bomb you when they need to poop. Small children inexplicably pick up what ever is around and try to hit you in the knee with it. That is the only logical explanation for why you hang out on madison.com and lob insults at people. It's the only place you can do that with out getting hit in the face.

AbrahamLinksys
AbrahamLinksys

Too bad everyone used PR firms from outside the state, walker could have created some jobs after all

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

Go ahead, Progs.................blame someone else for your stupidity.

Fister605
Fister605

That money would have been better spent buying the Brewers a bullpen!

GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN
GOOD DOG HAPPY MAN

Spent all that dough and all I got was this dumb socialist red t-shirt with an angry blue fist on it.

What a waste.

array1
array1

And a few more seats in the house!