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Business Group Helped Finance Walker and Invested Heavily in Wisconsin Lawmakers

ALEC Member Companies Have Put at Least $1.3 Million into State Elections Since 2001 Corporate leaders of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national alliance of businesses and conservative state officials that inspired much of Gov. Scott Walkers controversial legislative program, put nearly $100,000 into the governors campaign last year, part of a $1.3 million investment in Wisconsin elections since 2001, a report from national Common Cause detailed yesterday. Campaign finance records examined by the national, nonpartisan government watchdog group indicate that ALEC-affiliated firms, their executives, employees and political action committees, also have aided the campaigns of some of Walkers prominent legislative allies, including Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) the two co-chairs of the powerful Joint Finance Committee. Led by such firms as Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Koch Industries, AT&T, Altria and Exxon Mobil, ALEC has quietly made itself a force in all 50 state capitols, Common Cause said in a national report released Wednesday. Twenty-two firms represented on ALECs private enterprise board, the organizations corporate governing body, along with their executives, employees and political action committees, put more than $370 million into state elections from 2001-10, the study found. The money has helped secure the election of thousands of state legislators and the passage nationwide each year of hundreds of ALECs model bills, jointly drafted by corporate executives and state lawmakers and often tailored to advance corporate interests over the public interest. ALECs influence has been felt particularly strongly in Wisconsin, according to research released last month by the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy. Key portions of Gov. Walkers budget repair bill closely track ALEC-drafted legislation, for example. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darling to change the way moist tobacco products are taxed, a money-saving change for tobacco giant and ALEC-member Altria, also can be traced to an ALEC model bill, as can controversial voter ID legislation sponsored by Sen. Joseph Liebham (R-Sheboygan). At least 41 Wisconsin legislators currently are ALEC members, serving on ALEC task forces that develop legislation on issues ranging from tax policy to international relations, public safety, health, education and election laws, Common Cause said.

Campaign finance records indicate ALECs leading companies have donated more than $112,000 to the campaigns of those lawmakers since 2001. The firms also have given almost $101,000 to state Democratic party groups and more than $252,000 to Wisconsin Republican organizations. Here is a list of current Wisconsin legislators serving on ALEC task forces, along with donations to their campaigns since 2001 linked to corporations and companies on ALECs private enterprise board. Sen. Alberta Darling Sen. Scott Fitzgerald Sen. Pam Galloway Sen. Glenn Grothman Sen. Randy Hopper Sen. Frank Lasee Sen. Mary Lazich Sen. Terry Moulton Sen. Leah Vukmir Sen. Van Wanggaard Sen. Rich Zipperer Rep. Joan Ballweg Rep. Kathy Bernier Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald Rep. Michael Huebsch Rep. Andre Jacque Rep. John Klenke Rep. Dan Knodl Rep. Dean Knudson Rep. Bill Kramer Rep. Dan LaMahieu Rep. Tom Larson Rep. Howard Marklein Rep. Stephen Nass Rep. John Nygren Rep. Karl Van Roy Rep. Eric Severson Rep. Pat Strachota Rep. Scott Suder Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt Rep. Travis Tranel Rep. Robin Vos Rep. Evan Wynn $10,205 $10,500 $ 500 $ 1,385 $ 4,924 $ 2,250 $ 3,400 $ 5,980 $ 6,635 $ 5,700 $ 3,997 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ 1,000 1,250 7,354 9,705 1,250 1,000 500 300 2,850 500 1,750 650 350 1,850 7,325 1,750 2,025 4,750 500 1,625 8,050 500