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Illinois donors pouring money into Wisconsin recall election

Republican WisconsGov. Scott Walker right Democratic challenger Tom Barrett look one another as they get ready participate televised debate Thursday

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, right, and Democratic challenger Tom Barrett look at one another as they get ready to participate in a televised debate Thursday, May 31, 2012, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

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Updated: June 5, 2012 12:58PM



KENOSHA, Wis. — Illinois is one of the top three states pouring money into Wisconsin’s hotly contested recall election, where a record-breaking $65 million has already officially been spent on television commercials, direct mail and get-out-the-vote efforts.

The final price tag is expected to be about $80 million, the majority of that coming from out-of-state business owners who hope to help Republican Gov. Scott Walker keep his seat and keep standing up to public-sector unions.

Pro-Walker forces have spent about $48 million compared to $19 million for anti-Walker forces, according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Project.

Conservative Lake Forest businessman Richard Uihlein has given $105,000 to Walker. Barrington industrialist Jack Roeser is in for $2,500.

Chicagoan Keith Bronstein of Tradelink gave $25,000 and Gretchen Schuette, a member of the Wausau Homes family living in Sugar Grove, Ill., gave $50,000.

Among Illinoisans supporting Democrat Tom Barrett are Newsweb founder Fred Eyechaner, who gave $10,000 and former Nuveen executive Anthony T. Dean of Long Grove, who gave $7,500. Avi Shaked of Onward Technologies in Evanston gave $5,000.

About $20 million of the $30 million contributed directly to Walker is from out-of-state donors. About $1 million of the $4 million donated directly to Barrett is from out-of-state donors.

Those are just the easy-to-trace contributions that went directly to candidates’ funds.

Another $17 million in “independent expenditures” is being spent on anti-Barrett ads by groups associated with the Republican Governor’s Association ($9.4 million); the Wisconsin Manufacturers’ trade association ($2 million-$3 million) and Americans for Prosperity, largely funded by the energy company-owning Koch Brothers ($3 million), said Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Project.

Another $15 million in “independent expenditures” attacking Walker are being funded by national unions, McCabe said. The money coming in through independent expenditures is harder to trace, McCabe said.



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