• WisPolitics


Friday, October 29, 2010

 2:46 PM 

Industry PACs anticipating Johnson victory

Ask any seasoned political player in Washington about the status of Sen. Russ Feingold’s re-election bid, and he or she may or may not tell you that they think the Middleton Democrat is headed for defeat on Nov. 2.

But a review of political action committee contributions in the Wisconsin Senate race makes clear that Washington expects Feingold to lose to wealthy GOP Oshkosh businessman Ron Johnson.

Industry PACs are notoriously stingy when it comes to donating to candidates challenging incumbent senators, regardless of political party affiliation. Individual senators can wield an enormous amount of power, and business interests are loathe to end up on the wrong side of that power.

But industry PACs have been giving generously to Johnson in October, a telling sign that these PACs and their Washington advisors don’t expect Feingold to return to Capitol Hill when the 112th Congress convenes in January. The detailed are in the 48-hour contribution reports that all candidates are required to file to the Federal Election Commission at this point in the campaign.

On Oct. 16, Johnson reported five business PAC donations, including $2,500 from RJ Reynolds; $5,000 from PricewaterhouseCoopers; and $5,000 from the CEMEX Inc. Employees PAC. On Oct. 19, Johnson reported another five industry PAC contributions, including $2,000 from the American Forest and Paper Association; $5,000 from the Associated Builders and Contractors; and $5,000 from Humana.

Also, On Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, Johnson reported six more PAC contributions, including $1,000 from the Milwaukee Police Association; $2,500 from Appleton-based Unigroup; $5,000 from Aetna; $5,000 from Ernst & Young; $2,000 from Farmers Group and $1,000 from the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association.

Of course, the Feingold campaign has been far from dormant.

On Oct. 20, the senator reported a $1,000 contribution from Milwaukee-based AO Smith Corp.

On Oct. 21, the Democrat reported donations of $5,000 from the Michigan Democratic Party and $1,000 from the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association. On Oct. 22, Feingold reported contributions of $5,000 from the leadership PAC of Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and another $5,000 from Oregon Dem Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Opportunity and Renewal leadership PAC. Also on Oct. 22, Feingold received donations of $2,500 from the Writer’s Guild of America West PAC and $1,000 from the Veterans Alliance for Security and Democracy PAC.

Additionally, the senator reported bundled fundraising. The Council for a Livable World raised $8,782 on Feingold’s behalf, while J Street PAC raised him $11,228. J Street is a left-leaning organization that views itself as a liberal alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

- David M. Drucker


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