Mon January 28, 2013
Pro-Mining Campaign Donations Dwarfed Anti-Mining Money
A new report finds that groups that back a Republican rewrite of Wisconsin's mining laws gave GOP legislators and Governor Scott Walker more than $15 million over the last two years.
The report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows that the groups gave Republicans $15.6 million between 2010 and June of last year. $11.3 million of that total went to Governor Walker.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Director Mike McCabe says that number looks even larger when you put it in context. “Pro-mining interests have given 610 times as much as mining opponents. So it's not only an extraordinarily large sum of money that has changed hands, but it's also really lopsided in favor of pro-mining interests.”
Included in that total were donations from mining executives and employees of the company proposing an open pit taconite mine for Northern Wisconsin. They gave Walker $67,000 dollars and Republican legislators $13,000.
McCabe says it's perplexing, given that the mine in question faces several obstacles that may keep it from being built, mining law rewrite or not. “So why are they putting so much money into campaign contributions? Why are they pushing so hard for something that on the face of it looks doomed?”
Among lawmakers, Republican State Senator Alberta Darling of River Hills received the most donations from mining supporters. They gave her roughly $467,000. At the time, like Governor Walker, Darling was also fighting off an attempted recall.