Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is a business association formed through a merger of the Wisconsin Manufacturers Association, the State Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin Council of Safety. It is the Wisconsin chapter of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a major business lobby in the state.
WMC is one of the leaders in dark money spending in Wisconsin, with an estimated $18 million or more in undisclosed political contributions since 2006, including $2 million on the 2011-2012 recall elections and at least $7.25 million on Wisconsin Supreme Court elections since 2007.
WMC has been linked to an ongoing "John Doe" criminal investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination. A bipartisan group of prosecutors allege that Governor Scott Walker's campaign illegally coordinated fundraising and expenditures with WMC, Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), and perhaps other groups during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Representatives of the Walker campaign, WMC, and WiCFG could face criminal liability if prosecutors find that they conspired to evade campaign finance disclosure requirements and contribution limits.
|Type||PAC and Business Association|
|Number of locations||Wisconsin|
- 1 Involvement in John Doe Criminal Investigation
- 1.1 Conflicts of Interest on Wisconsin Supreme Court
- 1.1.1 Court's Recusal Rules Drafted by WMC
- 1.1.2 WMC and WiCFG Outspend Candidate in Patience Roggensack Reelection (2014)
- 1.1.3 WMC, WiCFG, and Front Group Spend More than $3 Million in Dark Money to Reelect David Prosser (2011)
- 1.1.4 $2.25 Million in Undisclosed Spending for Mike Gableman (2008)
- 1.1.5 $2.5 Million in Undisclosed Spending to Elect Annette Ziegler (2007)
- 1.1.6 $600,000 in Ads to Demote Chief Justice Ahead of John Doe Case (2015)
- 1.1 Conflicts of Interest on Wisconsin Supreme Court
- 2 Spending to Influence Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections
- 3 Activities in the 2011/2012 Wisconsin Recall Elections
- 4 Funding and Financial Information
- 5 Lobbying Activity
- 6 Political Spending and Contributions
- 7 Campaigns and Influence
- 8 Opposition to Unions
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Archived Information and Descriptions
- 11 External links
- 12 Contact information
- 13 References
Involvement in John Doe Criminal Investigation
WMC has been linked to an ongoing John Doe criminal investigation into possible illegal campaign coordination between Governor Scott Walker and other groups such as WMC and Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), which was led by top Walker advisor R.J. Johnson. Representatives of the Walker campaign, WiCFG, and WMC could face criminal liability if prosecutors find that they conspired to evade campaign finance disclosure requirements and contribution limits.
According to an affidavit from Government Accountability Board investigator Dean Nickel:
- "R.J. Johnson was directly involved with operations of the Friends of Scott Walker (FOSW) campaign, as well as Wisconsin Club for Growth . . . essentially coordinating the campaign activities of both entities . . . As a gubernatorial recall candidate, Scott Walker raised funds for his personal campaign committee (FOSW) and simultaneously personally raised funds for WiCFG which was also involved in political activity to his benefit . . . During 2011 and 2012, WiCFG became the means for coordinating the political activities of WiCFG with other 501(c)(4) organizations and the personal political campaign committee of Governor Walker.
According to documents uncovered through the investigation, Walker was instructed that, when fundraising for WiCFG, “Stress that donations to WiCFG are not disclosed and can accept corporate donations without limits,” and to “Let [donors] know that you can accept corporate contributions and it is not reported.”
In addition to directly spending at least $9.1 million influencing Wisconsin elections, WiCFG allegedly acted as a “hub” for funneling at least $9,624,000 to other 501(c)(4) groups that would support Wisconsin Republicans’ election efforts, including almost $3 million to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce WMC spent an estimated $4.7 million on ads supporting Walker and attacking his opponent. WiCFG’s donations coincided with WMC’s payments to an ad agency that produced the ads. R.J. Johnson, Walker’s campaign advisor, also appears to have been involved with the expressly pro-Walker ads from WMC. (See Funding and Financial Information below.)
The firm that created the ads for WMC, the Virginia-based Ten Capitol Inc, paid Johnson $50,000 around the time WMC’s ads were run, which prosecutors say was “consistent with a commission for ad placement.”
The prosecutors argue that "In light of these payments, Plaintiffs’ claim that 'none of WCFG’s . . . donations related to Walker’s campaign efforts' is false, as is the claim that Wisconsin Club for Growth 'was not donating funds to other groups for express advocacy or issue advocacy related to Walker’s . . . recall efforts.'
Conflicts of Interest on Wisconsin Supreme Court
WMC has been subpoenaed in the probe and is a party to the case currently before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Yet WMC (along with WiCFG) have been among the dominant spenders in judicial elections, raising serious questions about whether the justices WMC supported can be impartial.
WMC has spent at least $7.25 million since 2007 on efforts to elect the Wisconsin State Supreme Court's four-justice majority, according to its own estimates. In three of the four elections in which it has been active since 2007, WMC by itself spent more than the candidates' own campaigns.
Court's Recusal Rules Drafted by WMC
The prospect of elected judges ruling in cases involving individuals and groups that helped elect them raises concerns about conflicts of interest. Yet in 2010, WMC and the Wisconsin Realtors Association (which contributed $1 million to WiCFG in 2010-2011) petitioned the Supreme Court to adopt new rules stating that the fact of a campaign contribution alone would not require recusal. The four conservative justices--elected with help from WMC--voted to adopt the new rules.
However, the amount of money spent by WMC and WiCFG may raise due process concerns. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the $3 million contributed by Massey Coal CEO Don Blankenship in a West Virginia Supreme Court election presented a "significantly substantial" risk of undue influence, and held that the affected justice should have recused himself from a case involving the company.
WMC and WiCFG Outspend Candidate in Patience Roggensack Reelection (2014)
In the 2014 Wisconsin Supreme Court race, WMC spent an estimated $500,000 supporting Justice Patience Roggensack's reelection, and WiCFG spent $350,000. Together they outspent the $652,318 spent by the justice's own campaign.
After the passage of a constitutional amendment changing how the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Chief Justice was chosen on April 7, 2015, the court's four right-wing justices voted for Roggensack to replace Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who had held the position for 19 years. As of May 2015, the issue of whether the amendment retroactively applied to Abrahamson was unresolved.
WMC, WiCFG, and Front Group Spend More than $3 Million in Dark Money to Reelect David Prosser (2011)
In 2011, in a race widely viewed as a referendum on Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting legislation, WMC made $2 million in undisclosed expenditures to reelect Justice David Prosser. WiCFG spent an estimated $520,000 and funneled an additional $985,000 through a front group named Citizens for a Strong America, spending whose source was only uncovered years after the election. Prosser was reelected by approximately 7,000 votes.
A letter later obtained through an open records request showed Justice Prosser thanking a GOP donor who worked on his campaign, telling him that "the coordination you provided with friendly organizations outside the Republican Party [was] absolutely indispensable." The same donor boasted to Governor Walker's office about his efforts to "get very creative with diverse State and National organizations to help [Prosser's] campaign due to being financially capped at $300,000."
$2.25 Million in Undisclosed Spending for Mike Gableman (2008)
$2.5 Million in Undisclosed Spending to Elect Annette Ziegler (2007)
In 2007, WMC made $2.5 million in undisclosed expenditures to support Justice Annette Ziegler's campaign, according to its own calculations. Together with the $400,000 spent by WiCFG, the two groups' outside spending was more than double the $1.4 million spent by Ziegler's campaign.
$600,000 in Ads to Demote Chief Justice Ahead of John Doe Case (2015)
As the Wisconsin Supreme Court reviewed the John Doe investigation, WMC spent $600,000 on television ads during Wisconsin's spring 2015 elections to support a constitutional amendment on the April 7 ballot to change the way the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court was chosen. The ad campaign was spearheaded by a referendum committee called "Vote Yes for Democracy," led by long-time Republican operative and lobbyist Brandon Sholtz. WMC's Issues Mobilization Council was the sole contributor to the committee, according to its campaign finance report. WMC's spending dwarfed the $80,000 spent on radio ads by the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee against the referendum.
The push to change the Supreme Court's makeup came as the court was about to take up a set of cases challenging the “John Doe” criminal investigation of potential illegal campaign coordination between the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and “independent” expenditure groups like WMC and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. The proposed change raised concerns that state legislators were targeting Chief Justice Shirley Abahamson, the longest-serving justice in the state's history and leader of the court's liberal wing, who vigorously opposed the conservative majority's decision to hear no oral arguments in the John Doe case. "The court's failure to provide further justification for its highly unusual decision to cancel oral argument is, in my view, alarming," Abrahamson wrote. The decision "may, unfortunately, signify the court's intention to dispose of the John Doe cases as a whole in a similarly swift and secretive manner. I cannot join the court in concealing this important litigation from public view."
The referendum passed with 53 percent of the vote in the low-turnout spring election, and by April 29 the court's four conservative justices had already voted to oust Abrahamson, though questions remained about the legality of retroactively applying the constitutional amendment.
To read more about the campaign against anti-corruption laws in Wisconsin, see the page The Campaign to Legalize Coordination in Wisconsin and Nationwide.
Spending to Influence Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections
WMC has spent at least $7.25 million on efforts to elect a pro-corporate right-wing majority to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court since 2007, according to its own estimates.. In three of the four elections in which it has been active since 2007, WMC by itself spent more than the candidates' own campaigns.
WMC's interest in the court includes issues it has highlighted in its own materials, such as limiting medical malpractice awards and overturning a 2005 ruling holding lead paint manufacturers responsible for harm caused by lead poisoning. WMC has also fought against campaign finance regulation.
(See Conflicts of Interest on Wisconsin Supreme Court for more.)
Activities in the 2011/2012 Wisconsin Recall Elections
Dark Money Funding and Ad Spending
WMC's political arm, WMC Issues Mobilization Council, spent an estimated $4.7 million influencing the 2011/2012 recall elections in Wisconsin, including at least $2 million on television ads defending Walker and attacking his opponent. At the time, WMC did not disclose who was funding the political ads. Later documentation has shown that WMC had financial ties during this period to Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG), an organization with close ties to Scott Walker that is at the center of an ongoing "John Doe" investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination with the Walker campaign during the recall elections.
Funding between the two groups has moved in both directions over recent years. From 2011-2013 WMC reported $1,163,000 in contributions to WiCFG for "educating the public about business issues." In 2010 and 2012, however, WMC received funds from WiCFG, which reported contributing $246,000 in 2010 and $2,984,000 in 2012, the latter amounting to 45 percent of the budget for WMC's political arm that year.
WiCFG’s donations coincided with WMC’s payments to an ad agency that produced ads supporting Walker and attacking his opponent. Johnson, Walker’s campaign advisor, also appears to have been involved with the expressly pro-Walker ads from WMC.
The firm that created the ads for WMC, the Virginia-based Ten Capitol Inc, paid Johnson $50,000 around the time WMC’s ads were run, which prosecutors say was “consistent with a commission for ad placement.”
Find links to archived copies of WMC's recall ads here.
WiCFG itself spent an estimated $9.1 million during the recall races, making it one of the top spenders in the state.
While WMC does not disclose its own funders, it has received money through dark money groups such as the Wellspring Committee, which according to the Center for Responsive Politics has funneled millions of dollars to other non-disclosing groups that then spend heavily on political ads. See Funding and Financial Information below for more information on WMC's funders.
Advertisement Reports False Job Numbers
WMC's ads during the recall repeated Walker's theme that under his policies Wisconsin has been creating jobs. However, their numbers disagree with Walker's. One WMC ad claimed that 15,000 jobs were created in the past year, while Walker claimed in his latest TV ads to have created 33,2000. Both numbers contradict official estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicate that Wisconsin lost 21,400 jobs from April 2011 to April 2012.
Funding and Financial Information
WMC does not disclose its funding sources, nor does its political arm, WMC Issues Mobilization Council. However, some sources can be identified through tax filings and other documents. WMC has received money funneled through dark money groups such as the Wellspring Committee, which according to the Center for Responsive Politics has contributed money to many groups that aim to put or keep conservative judges in courts across the country.
Known funders of WMC Issues Mobilization Council include:
- Jobs First Coalition: $40,000 (2010)
- Skill Integrity Responsibility Council, Inc.: $10,000 (2011), $25,000 (2012), $10,000 (2013)
- Joint Labor Management Work Preservation Fund (also known as Construction Business Group): $25,000 (2010), $25,000 (2011)
WMC Issues Mobilization Council has reported the following grants to other organizations in its tax filings:
- Wisconsin Club for Growth: $10,000 for "shared mission of educating the public about business issues"
- Wisconsin Club for Growth: $165,000 for "shared mission of educating the public about business issues"
- American Federation for Children: $185,000 for "shared mission of public policy advocacy"
- Wisconsin Club for Growth: $988,000 for "shared mission of educating the public about business issues"
- American Federation for Children: $17,000
- American Justice Partnership: $865,000
- Americans for Limited Government: $47,600
- Americans for Prosperity: $10,000
- Illinois Manufacturers Association: $100,000 for "Public education regarding Employee Free Choice Act"
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association: $200,000 to "support issue campaign"
WMC Issues Mobilization Council
- Total Revenues: $2,599,325
- Total Expenses: $2,391,061
- $2,090,996 of this was spent on "issues advertising."
- Net Assets: $220,183
- Total Revenues: $6,724,476
- Total Expenses: $7,074,224
- $6,489,813 of this was spent on "issues advertising."
- Net Assets: $11,919
- Total Revenues: $3,805,417
- Total Expenses: $3,392,846
- $2,234,984 of this was spent on "issue advertising."
- Net Assets: $412,571
- Total Revenues: $2,768,186
- Total Expenses: $2,866,098
- $1,651,456 of this was spent on "issue advertising."
- Net Assets: -$50,904
- Total Revenues: $698,575
- Total Expenses: $661,447
- $413,181 of this was spent on "issue advertising."
- Net Assets: $47,008
- Total Revenues: $3,215,913
- Total Expenses: $3,362,832
- $2,959,091 of this was spent on "issue advertising."
- Net Assets: $9,880
- Total Revenues: $2,851,350
- Total Expenses: $2,811,634
- $2,633,626 of this was spent on "issue advertising."
- Net Assets: $156,799
- Total Revenues: $4,999,950
- Total Expenses: $5,192,042
- $5,029,083 of this was spent on "advertising and promotion."
- Net Assets: $117,083
- Total Revenues: $495,938
- Total Expenses: $540,408
- Net Assets: $309,175
- Total Revenues: $994,938
- Total Expenses: $1,060,419
- Net Assets: $353,645
WMC is a registered lobbying organization in the state of Wisconsin. Its registered lobbyists as of May 2015 were Randall J. Pirlot, Joe K. Leibham, Don M. Millis, Robert I. Fassbender, Jason Culotta, James A. Buchen, Chris Reader, Eric J. Bott, Scott Manley, Rebecca Hogan, and Kurt R. Bauer. It had not reported any "lobbying efforts" according to state records available as of May 2015, but did list some 29 active bills and resolutions as "lobbying interests," along with several dozen other draft bills, administrative rules, and budget issues.
WMC listed the follow top legislative priorities for the 2015-2016 legislative session:
- Right to Work (A fast-tracked RTW bill was signed into law on March 9, 2015.)
- Tax Relief (Lowering income tax, repealing tax on personal property)
- Regulatory Reform (Requiring legislative approval of agency regulations)
- Legal Reform (Especially related to torts and allowing businesses to consider arrest and conviction records of prospective employees)
- Workers Compensation Reform
WMC claimed the following as "victories" in the 2013-2014 legislative session:
- Income Tax Reduction
- Manufacturers Tax Credit
- Property Tax Relief--school levy (Act 46)
- Property Tax Relief--tech college levy (Act 145)
- Additional Income Tax Relief (Act 145)
- Asbestos Trust Claims Transparency Act (Act 154)
- Transparency In Private Attorney Contracting (Act 105)
- Lemon Law Reform (Act 101)
- Unemployment Insurance Reforms
- Electrician Licensing
- Expanded School Choice
- Wisconsin Fast Forward
- Labor Market Information System (LMIS)
- Apprenticeship Reform (Acts 57 and 113)
- Air Permit Streamlining
- Phosphorus Discharge Reform
- Iron Mining Reform
Political Spending and Contributions
The bulk of WMC's spending related to elections is in the form of outside spending. WMC spent an estimated $4.5 million in the 2014 election cycle, "mostly on negative television ads, to praise Walker and smear his Democratic opponent, Mary Burke," as described by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. An additional $1.3 million was spent supporting Republican candidates for State Senate Howard Marklein and Roger Roth.
WMC's political action committee, WMC PAC, has reported $144,585.13 in contributions to candidates in Wisconsin since 1990. In the 2014 election cycle, WMC PAC made the following contributions:
- Ashton Kirsch: $50
- Scott Walker: $1,650
- Nancy Lynn VanderMeer: $500
- Devin LeMahieu: $1,000
- Roger Roth: $1,000
- Dale Kooyenga: $500
- David Steffen: $500
- Brad Schimel: $250
2009 Contributions Report
A 2009 analysis by WMC Watch reported that "WMC board members and staff have overwhelmingly supported Republicans and non-partisan conservative candidates. Of the $1,135,541 donated by WMC board and staff, 82 percent – or $930,746 was given to Republicans ($893,329) and conservatives ($37,417).
This compares to 18 percent – or $204,795 given to Democrats ($193,595) and liberals ($11,200)."
Although many individuals associated with WMC gave campaign contributions, listed are the biggest donors:
- James Haney - President of WMC: $29,343
- Rajan Sheth - President & CEO of Mead & Hunt Inc.: $26,150
- Thomas Boldt - CEO of The Boldt Company: $85,975
- Barbara Swan - President & CEO of WI Power & Light Company: $28,475
- Tod Linstroth - Senior Partner of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP: $42,215
- José Delgado - President & CEO of American Transmission Company: $55,321
- John Torinus - Chairman of Serigraph Inc.: $117,350
- Todd Wanek - President & CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries: $62,850
- Larry Rambo - Great Lakes Region CEO of Humana, Inc.: $46,164
- Mark Furlong - Marshall & Ilsley Corporation: $23,630
Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors Contributions:
- Mark Cullen - Chairman of JP Cullen & Sons Inc.: $159,065
- Randall Knox - W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.: $156,218
- Richard Teerlink - Retired Chairman of Harley Davidson Inc.: $49,450
- Robert O'Toole - Retired Chairman of A.O. Smith Corp.: $47,790
- Terry Growcock - Chairman & CEO of The Manitowoc Co.: $27,102
Campaigns and Influence
Archived Campaign Information
- "Las Vegas Loophole" (2009): Democratic legislators were targeted for supporting the stimulus bill because of the end to the so-called “Las Vegas Loophole.” Before elimination, the Las Vegas Loophole, supported by WMC, allowed companies to avoid paying taxes on profits made in Wisconsin by opening up a post office box “phantom office” in a state without corporate income taxes, like Nevada. This scheme lost Wisconsin $90 million annually in evaded corporate taxes.
- Capital Gains Taxes (2009): Ran deceptive print advertisements about state budget plan to put Wisconsin’s capital gains taxes in line with the rest of the country. Currently, the top one percent of income earners get 64 percent of the benefit of the current capital gains loophole and 83 percent of the benefit goes to those in the top five percent of income earners – meaning people earning more than $152,000 a year.
- Campaign Ads (2012): View three ads that were published about taxes here.
- A list of television ads for 2010-2011 can be seen here. Issues lobbied for include: the 2011 State Supreme Court Justice (pro-Prosser); Global Warming vs. Job creation (pro-job creation); Congressional ads for Kapanke, Duffy and Kagen; Radio ads against Senator Kathy Vinehout and former Senator John Lehman to name a few.
Opposition to Unions
Campaign for Right-to-Work Legislation in Wisconsin (2015)
WMC joined with a collection of out-of-state groups funded by the Koch brothers to push for a Right to Work (RTW) bill introduced in Wisconsin in February 2015, as reported by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). A representative of WMC, Scott Manley, testified in favor of the bill by noting Wisconsin's lagging economic performance, despite the fact that a few months before, during Governor Scott Walker's campaign for reelection, WMC had aired TV ads praising Walker for the state's economic performance. Also giving testimony in favor of the RTW bill were James Sherk, an attorney for the D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, which received at least $4.8 million from the Koch family's Claude R. Lambe Foundation between 1998 and 2012; Greg Mourad from the National Right to Work Committee, which received $1 million from the Kochs' Freedom Partners in 2012; and F. Vincent Vernuccio of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center, part of the $84 million dollar State Policy Network, which received $1,494,000 from the Koch conduits DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2010 and 2012.
Wisconsin's RTW legislation, which copied an American Legislative Exchange Council "model" bill word-for-word, was fast-tracked through the Wisconsin state legislature by legislators with ALEC ties, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a former ALEC state chairman, and state Senator Steve Nass, who attacked a University of Wisconsin-Madison applied economics professor in an email to UW System officials and state legislators, calling him a "partisan academic" for preparing a research-based fact sheet reporting on the lower wages and higher poverty rates associated with RTW states.
Campaign Against Employee Free Choice Act (2009)
WMC ran ads against the Employee Free Choice Act in 2009, according to One Wisconsin Now's WMC Watch: "In the first half of 2009, ads opposing the Employee Free Choice Act were run offering provably-false claims about the proposed federal legislation. U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Steve Kagen and Sen. Herb Kohl were noted in WMC television and radio ads. Print ads featuring Kind were also run."
The Employee Free Choice Act would "amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts."
WMC President Kurt Bauer
Kurt R. Bauer became the President and CEO of WMC in 2011 after spending 18 years working for trade groups in the financial services industry, including the Wisconsin Bankers Association and the Arizona Bankers Association. Other affiliations include:
- Council of State Manufacturers Associations Executive Committee
- Council of State Chambers of Commerce
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and Public Affairs Committee
- National Association of Manufacturers Political Action Committee
- Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment
- Campaign Advisory Council for American Jobs for America’s Heroes
- Wisconsin Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
- Fix the Debt Wisconsin Steering Committee
- Wisconsin Alumni Association Advisory Board
- Wisconsin Manufacturers Extension Partnership Board
As of May 2015:
- Kurt R. Bauer, President and CEO, WMC
- Steve Benzschawel, Director of Business World
- Eric Bott, Director of Environmental and Energy Policy
- Russ Cain, Director of Group Insurance Services
- Jason Culotta, Director of Tax and Transportation Policy
- Scott Manley, Vice President of Government Relations
- Jim Morgan, WMC Foundation President
- Katy Petterson, Vice President of Marketing
- Chris Reader, Director of Health and Human Resources Policy
- Janie Ritter, Director of Wisconsin Safety Council
- Mike Shoys, Senior Vice President
- Patrick Simonett, Director of Membership
Board of Directors
As of May 2015:
- Daniel T. Ariens, Chair. Chairman & CEO, Ariens Company, Brillion
- Robert D. Kamphuis, Vice Chair. Chairman, President & CEO, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc., Mayville
- Kurt R. Bauer, President and CEO, WMC.
- James R. Morgan, President, WMC Foundation
- Michael R. Shoys, Senior Vice President, WMC
- Tod B. Linstroth, Secretary. Senior Partner & Past Member & Chair of Management Committee, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison
- Gina A. Peter, Treasurer. CEO, Central States Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo Bank, Milwaukee
- Daniel T. Ariens, Chairman & CEO, Ariens Company, Brillion
- Jeffrey W. Bailet, M.D., Executive Vice President, Aurora Health Care / Co-President, Aurora Health Care Medical Group, Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee
- Randal W. Baker, COO, Joy Global, Milwaukee
- Kurt R. Bauer, President/CEO, WMC, Madison
- Sidney H. Bliss, President & CEO, Bliss Communications Inc., Janesville
- Damond Williams Boatwright, Regional President/CEO of Hospital Operations, SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, Madison
- David H. Bretting, President & CEO, C.G. Bretting Manufacturing Company, Inc., Ashland
- Thomas A. Burke, President & CEO, Modine Manufacturing Company, Racine
- Bradley D. Chapin, Executive Vice President, U.S. Business Banking, BMO Harris Bank, Milwaukee
- Brad W. Denoyer, CPA, Partner, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Madison
- Scott A. Fawcett, President & CEO, Springs Window Fashions, LLC, Middleton
- Philip B. Flynn, President & CEO, Associated Banc-Corp, Green Bay
- James D. Friedman, Senior Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP, Milwaukee
- Philip C. Fritsche, Sr., President, Beaver Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, Beaver Dam
- Robert Gerbitz, President, COO, Hendricks Commercial Properties, Beloit
- Gary M. Gigante, President & CEO, Waupaca Foundry Inc., Waupaca
- Robert D. Kamphuis, Chairman, President & CEO, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc., Mayville
- Patricia Leonard Kampling, Chairman, President & CEO, Alliant Energy Corporation, Madison
- Robert L. Keller, Chairman, J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., Neenah
- Clifford J. King, CEO, Skyward, Inc., Stevens Point
- Scott E. Larson, Executive Director, Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Marshfield
- James M. Leef, President, ITU AbsorbTech, Inc., New Berlin
- Tod B. Linstroth, Senior Partner & Past Member & Chair of Management Committee, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Madison
- Stephen D. Loehr, Vice President, Kwik Trip, Inc., La Crosse
- Scott A. Mayer, President, QPS Employment Group, Brookfield
- Patrick J. McConnell, CEO/Owner, FLASH, Inc., Green Lake
- James J. McIntyre, President and CEO, Greenheck Fan Corporation, Schofield
- J. R. Menard, Executive Vice President & Treasurer, Menard, Inc., Eau Claire
- Paul Palmby, Executive VP & COO, Seneca Foods Corporation, Janesville
- William C. Parsons, President, Palmer Johnson Enterprises, Inc., Sturgeon Bay
- Gina A. Peter, CEO, Central States Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo Bank, Milwaukee
- John Pfeifer, President, Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac
- Nicholas T. Pinchuk, Chairman & CEO, Snap-on Incorporated, Kenosha
- Aaron B. Powell, Partner/Chief Strategy Officer, Flexion Inc., Sun Prairie
- Joseph T. Pregont, President & CEO, Prent Corporation, Janesville
- Michael W. Salsieder, Retired President & General Counsel, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Company, Inc., Wausau
- Eric W. Sauey, Chairman & CEO, Seats Incorporated, Reedsburg
- Edward H. Schaefer, President & CEO, Citizens Community Federal, Eau Claire
- Karl A. Schmidt, President & CEO, Belmark Inc., De Pere
- Charles A. Schrock, Chairman, President & CEO, Integrys Energy Group, Green Bay
- Kristine N. Seymour, Regional Vice President of Marketing Development, Illinois/Michigan/Wisconsin, Humana, Inc., Waukesha
- Rajan Sheth, Chairman/CEO, Mead & Hunt, Inc., Middleton
- Dirk Smith, President & CEO, Super Steel, LLC, Milwaukee
- Jay L. Smith, Chairman & CEO, Teel Plastics, Inc., Baraboo
- Karen L. Szyman, Executive Director, The Chamber of Manitowoc County, Manitowoc
- Glen E. Tellock, Chairman, President & CEO, The Manitowoc Company, Inc., Manitowoc
- John B. Torinus Jr., Chairman, Serigraph Inc., West Bend
- Susan L. Turney, M.D., CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Inc., Marshfield
- S. Mark Tyler, President, OEM Fabricators, Inc., Woodville
- Donald D. Wahlin, CEO, Stoughton Trailers, LLC, Stoughton
- Todd Wanek, President & CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., Arcadia
- Michael S. Wallace, President/CEO, Fort HealthCare, Fort Atkinson
- David J. Yanda, President & CEO, Lakeside Foods, Inc., Manitowoc
As of April 2011:
- William D. Gehl - Chairman & CEO of Gehl Company
- Terry D. Growcock - Chairman & CEO of The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
- Timothy L. Christen - CEO of Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP and WMC treasurer
- Tod B. Linstroth - Sr. Partner & Member of Management Committee, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP and WMC secretary
- Thomas J. Boldt - CEO of The Boldt Company and WMC vice chair.
- Curtis Hoppestad - Factory manager of John Deere Horicon Works of Deere & Company
- Thomas Howatt - President & CEO of Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corporation
- William R. Morgan - COO of Johnsonville Sausage, LLC
- Thomas Quadracci - Chairman & CEO of Quad/Graphics, Inc.
- Andy Randall - President of US Bank Corp., Milwaukee
- Edward Zore - President & CEO of Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee
- John Beckord - President of Forward Janesville, Inc.
- Joseph P. Colwin - President of Mid-States Aluminum Corporation
- Thomas J. Boldt - CEO of The Boldt Company
- William R. Castle, Jr. - President of Castle-Pierce Printing Company
- John Menard - Owner of Menards
Archived Information and Descriptions
WMC has established three separate political funds, each with a distinct strategic purpose. You can select to participate in any or all of these funds.
Concerned Business & Industry (CBI) CBI is a traditional political action committee (PAC). All donations must be in the form of personal checks, or transfers from another political action committee. The CBI board of directors decides which candidates to support, focusing on candidates in key targeted Senate and Assembly races. CBI contributions will be used primarily to fund independent expenditure campaigns, phone banks, radio or print ads, as well as direct mail.
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reports that between 2008 and 2010, CBI gave $23,049 in political contributions to Wisconsin candidates.
Capitol Gains Club (CGC) CGC is a conduit entity organized under Wis. Stat. 11.01 (5). When you contribute funds to CGC, the money is transferred to the candidate(s) you select. To participate, simply make your personal check payable to the CGC. From time to time, we will recommend that you make contributions from your CGC account to specific candidates in key races. However, with this fund, it is entirely your decision who receives your contribution.
WMC Issues Mobilization Council (IMC) WMC IMC delivers the business message to Wisconsin residents at election time, and during the legislative session. WMC IMC can accept unlimited corporate contributions, and donations are strictly confidential. WMC IMC is a registered 501 C 4 organization, and is overseen by a board of directors. WMC IMC’s most recent audit by Grant Thornton reported that 95 percent of all funds were used to deliver the business message! Since 1996, WMC IMC has led campaigns resulting in the expansion of pro-business majorities in the Legislature and the passage of major pro-business legislation.
WMC Political Research Fund This fund is used to conduct polls in targeted districts to determine candidate viability and issue sensitivity. Armed with this information, we can ensure that political resources will go to those candidates who have the best chance of winning. The WMC Political Research Fund can accept corporate contributions.
- Forward Wisconsin is associated with WMC and "markets the state to corporate executives, site selection consultants, business decision-makers and investors to raise awareness that Wisconsin is a great place to do business and to encourage investment in Wisconsin."
- The Wisconsin Department of Commerce works in conjunction with WMC to promote business growth and an "open for business" attitude.
- The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin is an association with 37 corporate board members and several CEO's and Wisconsin business leader partners. Their Web site states that "The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin (under Dane County Private Industry Council) was formed in 1983 to discover and develop effective workforce solutions to prepare local workers and businesses to be successful in an increasingly competitive global market. One of the primary responsibilities of the Workforce Development Board is the administration of Workforce Investment Act-funded initiatives and programs. Since that time, we've become a national leader in our ability to form strategic partnerships that result in ground-breaking solutions to workforce development challenges."
- WMC Watch criticizes WMC's "army of lobbyists, pro-corporate position papers, paid researchers and seemingly limitless financial resources" that wield "an influence which warrants attention and demands scrutiny."
PO Box 352
Madison, WI 53701-0352
501 E Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703-2944
Telephone: (608) 258-3400
Fax: (608) 258-3413
Email: mem (at) wmc.org
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- WMC - Grassroots Toolkit
- Forward Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Department of Commerce
- Leadership for The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin
- History - The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin