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As Speaker, I have strived to increase the civility within the Legislature. I now regret using the word terrorist because it goes against the guidelines I’ve set for our chamber, and myself. For that, I apologize.
– Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, apologizing for calling three GOP senators behind a budget veto deal “terrorists.” Still, the Rochester Republican continued to criticize the actions of “a few Senators, who cannot work with their colleagues in their own caucus,” saying it could disrupt the legislative process. Vos’ comments were directed at Sens. Duey Stroebel, Chris Kapenga and Steve Nass.

Terrorists use violence in an effort to destroy our American way-of-life. To imply fellow Republican legislators are terrorists is the type of hyperbolic rhetoric Wisconsinites are tired of hearing. Wisconsinites expect more of their leaders than to make these kind of personal attacks.
– Stroebel, after Vos made his initial comments on “UpFront with Mike Gousha.” Following Vos’ apology, the Saukville Republican said he appreciated the gesture, but that it was “a shame he continues to perpetrate false personal attacks.”

Labeling colleagues as terrorists won’t restore school funding, fix our crumbling roads or protect access to health care for vulnerable families. It’s time for Republican leaders to end the name calling and political gamesmanship and start focusing on the issues important to Wisconsin children, families and seniors.”
– Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, who accused Gov. Scott Walker and President Trump of creating “an unhealthy political atmosphere in this state.”

This will be the last opportunity to make sure Foxconn will be required to deliver on its promises. Wisconsin taxpayers must be protected before Governor Walker’s WEDC turns on the spigot and the taxpayer dollars start to flow.
– Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee and a member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board, saying he wants to see the state’s contract with Foxconn before voting on it.

We won’t be changing our process relative to when the contracts are available.
– WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark Hogan, during an Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing, responding to calls to make the Foxconn contract public before it is signed.

We cannot allow individuals convicted of battery, armed robbery, and even murder to feel empowered to attack staff and each other in these institutions. No matter the challenges, we must provide the men and women working in CLS/LHS with the tools they need to maintain order in the facilities and protect themselves and to protect the offenders held at these institutions.
– Gov. Scott Walker in a letter calling on the Department of Corrections to appoint an interim superintendent of the state’s juvenile prisons, following attacks on staff. The DOC has now named agency Juvenile Correction Administrator John Paquin to the position.

Instead of looking for an interim superintendent, Governor Walker should be shutting down Lincoln Hills. This is an issue that Walker should have addressed years ago when the Council of State Governments offered technical assistance so we can implement best practices.
– Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, who is co-author of a bill with Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, that would close the facilities in a year.

This was an enormous step in a direction toward getting comprehensive tax cuts and tax cuts for middle class families over the line into law.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, on the House narrowly passing the Senate’s version of the federal budget.

Much like their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Republican budget resolution was drafted in secrecy, denounced by both sides of the aisle, and rife with massive tax cuts for powerful corporations.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who joined the rest of the state’s Dem House delegation in voting against the budget. All of the state’s GOP representatives voted in favor.

–A collection of insider opinion–
(Oct. 21-27, 2017)


Reince Priebus: The Wisconsin Republican’s stay at the White House was tumultuous and short-lived. But the former state and national GOP chair is back on familiar ground, landing at his old law firm and hitting the speaker’s circuit. When Priebus went to the White House, he was seen as a bridge between the establishment and Trump world who could help guide the political newbie’s agenda through Congress. Instead, it was a trying tenure that was regularly marked with speculation about Priebus’ future fueled by the president blaming others. Now, he’s back at Michael Best & Friedrich leading the firm’s government affairs group and consulting for corporate clients. Priebus says he won’t do any lobbying of his own, instead helping clients make inroads with Trump, on Capitol Hill and in the administration. Some in DC see him as ideal to navigate all three considering his time with the president and goodwill he still has among some Republicans for his time leading the RNC. They praise his connections and see the potential to turn them into a lucrative paycheck. Still, observers note the time he spent in the White House lingers. He was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of the sprawling Russia-related investigation, and critics see the chance that it will blow up on anyone who had been associated with the Trump team.

Voucher enrollment: There are almost 2,700 more students enrolled in the choice program this school year, a boost of about 8 percent compared to the year before. Final numbers are not quite in. But the preliminary look from the Department of Public Instruction finds 36,249 students across the three programs in Wisconsin — Milwaukee, Racine and the statewide program. All told, DPI estimates the program will cost nearly $270 million for the 2017-18 school year, and the agency’s numbers show 4,540 students in the statewide program across 154 different private schools. The bump comes as the cap on statewide enrollment was upped by 1 percentage point this school year as the state progresses toward no limits on enrollment in 2025-26. While growing, the statewide program saw only one district hit its enrollment cap of 2 percent of students. The West Allis-Milwaukee School District had one kid who didn’t receive a voucher because of it. But that student is expected to receive one at the start of next semester because the class will have space then, according to DPI. Meanwhile, 30 other kids across the state were unable to get a voucher due to enrollment limits set by schools. While demand for the program largely didn’t hit the state-imposed caps, voucher advocates believe changes in the state budget to the income limits will help drive demand in the 2018-19 school year. Along with more kids being eligible, they hope the changes will encourage even more participation.

Mental health: The guv has made treatment of mental health a priority, and it’s become apparent to many the state needs to do more to treat addiction to address substance abuse issues. Gov. Scott Walker’s administration gives a boost to both efforts with the announcement it will boost reimbursement rates for professionals treating those with mental health and substance abuse issues. It’s a $17 million increase that includes $7 million in state general purpose revenue. A Department of Health Services spokeswoman says the state will fund the increase through the existing Medicaid budget. The guv says the move was designed to improve access to treatment, while Rep. John Nygren, who has pushed a series of bills to combat opioids amid his daughter’s struggles with addiction, calls it a huge step toward fighting opioid abuse. DHS says 827 Wisconsinites died of opioid overdose deaths from heroin, prescription drugs or both last year. While Dems praise the move, they also wish the guv had done it sooner.


Steve Toft: The retired Army colonel formally launches his GOP bid to challenge 3rd CD U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, calling himself a “patriot and a proven leader who loves our country more than anything.” Still, insiders believe the GOP’s best chance to beat the La Crosse Dem in the western Wisconsin district may have passed. Donald Trump shocked many in Wisconsin when his populist message helped him win the traditionally blue seat with 48.8 percent of the vote. But even though Kind had taken some knocks over the Tomah VA scandal, Republicans couldn’t get a candidate to challenge him. A strong message on the Tomah VA and decent candidate may have been the right mix to catch Kind off guard last fall for an upset win, some strategists say. Now, Kind is surely on alert. And the 20-year incumbent sat on $2.8 million as of the end of September, the best war chest of any Dem in the state’s congressional delegation. Some Republicans continue to believe the Tomah VA scandal is a potent political argument to use against Kind, saying the issue has not yet been litigated fully against him since he was unopposed last fall. Records show Marine veteran Jason Simcakoski placed a called to Kind’s Washington, D.C., office about nine months before dying of a toxic cocktail of painkillers and other drugs prescribed to him at the Tomah VA. Kind has said he has no knowledge of the call, and his office had no record of it. Having a veteran as an opponent could help draw a sharp contrast on that issue. Still, Ryan Honl, who has become a high-profile critic of the issues at the Tomah VA and was featured in ads going after Russ Feingold during last fall’s race, has now endorsed Kind and praised the congressman’s work on a VA accountability bill. That may help Kind rebut criticism over the scandal, some say. Toft also may find a much different environment in 2018 than the one last fall that helped Trump win the district. The president’s early tenure has produced some rocky numbers — a 40-52 job approval rating in a new survey from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling — and the party in the White House often finds tough sledding in mid-term elections. Add that traditional snapback, Trump’s numbers and Kind’s fundraising success, and many insiders see him in good shape heading into 2018. Still, Republicans caution against predicting too much about 2018. Look at how badly prognosticators did with 2016, they warn. A key question is what Trump voters in the district will do. Will the ones who came out last fall just for Trump stay engaged with Republicans and hit the polls next fall even without the president on the ballot? Did Trump’s campaign re-shape the political dynamic in the largely rural, white district and flip reliably Dem voters to the GOP? Republicans say Kind could have a difficult time if they keep their traditional voters engaged next year — despite struggles on satisfying base issues such as repealing Obamacare — and get Trump voters to come out.

UW MBA program: The business school on the flagship Madison campus decides to keep its full-time MBA program. But critics say the school’s public flirtation with suspending it for a year — while discussing whether to discontinue the program — raises questions over whether the botched approach has already done some damage. The decision to stand pat comes after days of uncertainty following reports the school was mulling an end to the MBA program in favor of adding more specialized degrees. Under the plan, the program would have paused admissions for one year while officials undertook a long-term review of MBA offerings, including a review of “how the WSB graduate portfolio should evolve,” according to a description that was previously posted on the School of Business website. Dean Anne P. Massey, though, issues a statement that after hearing from students, alumni and others the discussion was not going forward, and “It is clear we need broader consultation before taking action — you, our stakeholders, should and can expect that from us.” The idea prompted criticism from MBA students and alumni, who questioned if the move would have undercut the value of their degrees. During a meeting with students, Massey apologized over how the proposal was announced and promised, “I will work to make this right,” according to reports from the Wisconsin State Journal. The flirtation with pausing the program came in the middle of some important dates for admissions with the first-round application deadline for the program Nov. 15 and three application deadlines — in January, March and April — to follow. The early decision deadline was Sept. 27, about three weeks before news got out the school was considering suspending the program.


Robin Vos: The Assembly speaker has not been shy about voicing his anger with the three GOP senators who persuaded the guv to veto a series of budget provisions to win their vote for final passage. Some of what he’s said in private, they add, is just as harsh as the interview he gave “UpFront with Mike Gousha.” But going public with his complaint the three senators were “terrorists” was a step too far and leads to the speaker apologizing for his word choice — even if he doesn’t back off the sentiment behind them. For some, the episode is a continuation of the personal affront the Rochester Republican has taken to the guv’s vetoes, with some questioning if it has all been planned. Even before Vos ripped Sens. Chris Kapenga, Steve Nass and Duey Strobel on Gousha’s show, he laid into the guv and his chief of staff via text message, vowing he would not forget how he had been treated in the veto process and warning it would damage their relationship. Vos is no dummy, some argue. He knew reporters would request those text messages and they’d generate headlines. Likewise, when Gousha first heard Vos use the word terrorist, he did a double take. But when pressed, the speaker insisted that’s what they were. That’s the sign of something that was premeditated, some argue. Others think Vos has let emotions get the best of him in a business where it can be dangerous if you take things too personally. And then there are those who question the argument this has all been part of a strategy. If that’s the case, they argue, it’s been the continuation of a questionable approach to the budget from start to finish. Vos ripped into Gov. Scott Walker the night it was introduced and then spent months insisting on keeping a revenue upper in play for transportation even after Walker dug in. And now he’s alienated some members of his own caucus by elongating the budget feud. Reactions from his Assembly GOP colleagues range from those who sympathize with Vos’ frustrations, but question his word choice, to those who are befuddled why he’s taking this approach and those who are flat-out angry about it. Vos is not alone among Assembly Republicans in his frustration that the deal he thought he reached with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, was pretty much set in stone once it cleared the Finance Committee. But insiders note Fitzgerald is not able — nor would he necessarily want to — lead his caucus the way Vos does his. With a smaller margin for error, Fitzgerald has to give his caucus room to get comfortable and is unable to dictate as much as Vos can. So some Senate Republicans say Vos has no one to blame but himself when his chamber passed the budget and then shut down any avenues for amendments, declaring the Assembly would not return to take up any changes from Senate Republicans. The flip side, some say, is this process has now emboldened the conservative wing of the Senate GOP caucus. What about next time when it’s five who band together instead of three. Will the entire budget have to meet their every demand before it clears the chamber? And do all 83 Republicans get a seat at the bargaining table when it comes to controversial bills? The big question to some insiders is what this latest flare up means for the remainder of the session. Some are already predicting bills with Kapenga, Nass or Stroebel’s names on them are all but dead in the Assembly. Observers are also questioning how Vos and Fitzgerald will be able to negotiate the handful of high-profile, controversial bills left this session. Backers of a ban on the sale of fetal tissue from abortions are making a late push to get that bill through. But that issue has been stuck in neutral for several legislative sessions, and few see signs a breakthrough is happening anytime soon. Those pushing for floor votes in both houses on legislation to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit aren’t too hopeful, either. The mass shooting in Las Vegas has made some nervous about the optics of taking up the bill. Even before that hit the headlines, insiders believed Fitzgerald would only put the bill on the Senate floor if he had assurances Vos would pass it, and Vos would only consider a vote in his chamber once the Senate passed it. The prospect of big bills dying in the closing months of the session aggravates some conservatives. What’s the point of having big majorities unless you use them? Some are also intrigued by a statement from Assistant Majority Leader Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, and Caucus Chair Dan Knodl, R-Germantown, that’s seen by some as a veiled shot at Vos. It calls for civility and collaboration between both houses and the guv to “ensure that bold, conservative reforms are enacted and not mere talking points.” Every now and then, a Vos move results in chatter about unhappiness in the caucus. But even those who think there’s significant discontent within the caucus discount the idea of a coup attempt. For one, Vos would sniff it out and shut it down, guaranteeing anyone behind it would be in his doghouse for a good, long time.

Foxconn: It’s been a going theory in the Capitol that the farther away voters gets from the planned factory in Racine County, the less enthused they would be with the Walker administration’s $3 billion package to land the Taiwanese manufacturer. And new polling seems to back up that contention. First came a survey from the Marquette University Law School Poll looking at reaction in southeastern Wisconsin. In Racine County, where Foxconn announced it would build the plant, three-fourths of voters believe the project will “substantially improve” the area economy. When looking at all five Milwaukee-area counties surveyed — Milwaukee, Racine, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties — the poll found 54 percent of respondents think it would bolster the area economy, while 37 percent said it wouldn’t. The poll also finds concerns about the $3 billion price tag with 48 percent believing Foxconn isn’t worth the cost. The Dem firm Public Policy Polling, meanwhile, finds statewide 34 percent of voters support the Foxconn deal, while 41 percent do not. The firm, which relies on automated calls and online surveys, finds 38 percent of respondents think Gov. Scott Walker reached the agreement because it will be a good long-term deal for the state, while 49 percent believe he did it to help his re-election. Beyond the polls, Dems continue to raise concerns about the project, questioning if the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is up to overseeing the incentive package considering its past problems. WEDC chief Mark Hogan counters he has “great confidence” in his staff, adding the agency has made significant progress since an audit that was before a legislative committee for review. The earliest the WEDC Board could vote on the deal is at a Nov. 8 meeting, and board member Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, continues to drop hints the contract has a flaw that would leave taxpayers vulnerable unless fixed. But the Walker administration continues to downplay concerns, insisting it’s making sure everything is done right. Still, insiders continue to see a risk and an opportunity for Walker and Republicans with the deal. Foxconn is making progress with a site selection and employee hires. So long as the contract goes through and that work continues, things should set up for the guv to make the argument next year he’s moving the economy forward. Dems, though, believe the polls confirm their belief the more people hear about Foxconn, the more skeptical they are. They see broken job promises in other places Foxconn has dabbled and say it gives the public reason to worry. It’s also a question when voters will be able to fully judge the project. It could be years before the state knows whether the investment has paid off for the state. After all, some point out, the special sales tax to build Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers was a lightning rod of controversy two decades ago and led to the recall of GOP state Sen. George Petak, of Racine. But the Marquette Law poll finds 68 percent in the five-county area now say Miller Park was worth the tax. In Racine County, where resistance was stiffest 20 years ago, 59 percent say it was worth it.

Lincoln Hills: The troubled youth prison in northern Wisconsin continues to generate bad headline after bad headline for the guv, who still refuses to visit the facility and is blaming recent violence on media attention and a federal judge. The latest reports include four juvenile inmates in August climbing onto the prison roof and throwing rocks and pieces of shingles on guards. Other stories: a teacher who was beaten this month urges Walker to call her about what’s happening, and five prison employees are sent to the hospital after a pair of incidents. Meanwhile, Dem lawmakers introduce a bill calling for the juvenile prisons to be shut down within a year. Amid the negative stories, Walker calls for the Department of Corrections to appoint an interim superintendent. Walker wrote in his letter to Secretary Jon Litscher those housed at the juvenile facilities were convicted as adults of crimes that include homicide, sexual assault, robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon. In the letter, Walker also suggested “violent individuals in these institutions have become emboldened following repeated media reports and court-ordered operational changes.” DOC in turn taps agency Juvenile Correction Administrator John Paquin to be interim superintendent of the state’s youth prisons. Still, Dems continue to press Walker on his refusal to visit the youth prison and during a stop in Rhinelander — not far from the facility — the guv insists his administration is doing everything it can to ensure things are safe for everyone there. How much of an issue Lincoln Hills could be politically for the guv remains to be seen. Some believe the guv has to take some bold action to correct it, given a federal investigation and action by a federal judge. If Walker does that, they argue, he could mitigate the situation. Insiders say this issue alone isn’t likely to be a driving issue for swing voters. Others see it as a base issue. Walker’s talk about the juveniles being housed at the facility as violent offenders could appeal to his base with a tough-on-crime message, while it could rile up social justice warriors on the other side who are unhappy about conditions at the juvenile prison.


Register now: Oct. 31 WisPolitics Luncheon with Scott Neitzel

Join WisPolitics.com for lunch at the Madison Club, 5 East Wilson St., Madison, on Tuesday, October 31 with Walker Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel for a behind-the-scenes look at the state budget and the Foxconn and Bucks arena deals.

Check-in and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the program going from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Madison Club members and their guests receive discounted pricing for WisPolitics luncheons of $19 per person. Price for general public is $25 per person.

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This luncheon is sponsored by: Husch Blackwell, American Family Insurance, Xcel Energy, Walmart, AARP Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

View a listing of upcoming WisPolitics events: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/events/featured-events/



Ironworker Randy Bryce pulled in less than 20 percent of his donations from Wisconsin residents in the last fundraising period, while House Speaker Paul Ryan counted on them for less than 25 percent of his direct contributions.

Bryce’s top donors in the third quarter include a string of actors and actresses, while several of Ryan’s are prominent national business figures, according to a WisPolitics.com check of their latest fundraising reports.

Meanwhile, Bryce’s Dem rival Cathy Myers was the biggest contributor to her campaign, and Ryan rival Paul Nehlen’s larger dollar donors were spread across the country.

Bryce, a Caledonia resident staging his fourth bid for elected office, has attracted national attention as he seeks to challenge Ryan in the 1st CD. He has traveled the country nationally for fundraisers in recent months; he spent some $11,000 on airline companies over the three-month period that ended Sept. 30.

Bryce raised more than $1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, an unusually large haul for a first-time Wisconsin House candidate. The total topped the almost $310,000 Ryan raised from direct contributions, though the speaker listed $2.3 million in receipts for the period thanks to a series of transfers from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which he oversees as speaker.

Bryce’s campaign said more than $172,000 of the $984,372 in individual donations he received in the third quarter came from inside Wisconsin. His average individual contribution overall was $25.50.

Of the $309,420 Ryan’s campaign raised, meanwhile, $260,920 came from individuals while $49,500 came from other political committees. A WisPolitics.com check of his individual contributions through Ryan for Congress showed his average individual contribution was nearly $100.

WisPolitics.com also checked the campaign reports for how much each candidate is raising from in-state donors. But three of the four reported significant portions of their fundraising hauls in the third quarter through donations of $200 or less, which do not have to be itemized. WisPolitics.com then asked those campaigns for breakdowns of the donations, including ones that were not itemized in the reports.

For Bryce, around 17.5 percent of the money he raised overall came from in-state, according to his campaign. Meanwhile, Wisconsin donors accounted for just under 25 percent of direct contributions from individual donors to Ryan for Congress, not including PAC money.

Myers’ campaign, meanwhile, said 42 percent of her individual donations came from Wisconsin.

As for Nehlen, his campaign declined to provide an overall percentage of the individual donations that came from the state unless certain editorial demands were met. WisPolitics.com declined to meet those demands.

Still, of the roughly $47,000 in itemized donations his campaign logged, only $3,000 came from Wisconsin, or less than 10 percent.

Bryce’s reports since he launched his bid have shown his fundraising prowess among small-dollar donors, who comprised most of his individual donations in the most recent quarter. Donors who have given Bryce less than $200 throughout the cycle accounted for $688,198, or roughly 70 percent, of his total individual donations. Bryce’s campaign wasn’t required to itemize those contributions.

Still, the nearly $300,000 in itemized contributions he reported included some noteworthy names, such as actress Kathy Bates, who donated $3,000. The maximum donation per election is $2,700, so she put $2,700 toward the primary and $300 toward the general election.

Other notable donors included:
*TV personality Andy Cohen, best known for his work on “The Real Housewives,” gave $2,000;
*comedian Rosie O’Donnell, who’s consistently feuded with President Trump, gave $250;
*actor Bradley Whitford, a Madison native best known for playing Josh in “The West Wing,” donated $1,000;
*actress Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda on “Sex and the City,” donated $2,000;
*actress Charlize Theron, whose films include “Monster” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” donated $5,000;.
*musician Joan Jett gave $1,000;
*Alyssa Mastromonaco, a UW-Madison grad who now works at A&E Networks, donated $1,500. She was deputy chief of staff for operations under President Obama.
*and Noam Bardin, the co-founder of Waze, a GPS app that Google purchased for at least $1 billion. He contributed $1,000.

Myers’ campaign slammed her opponent’s fundraising report as “not normal,” saying his campaign is backed by outside groups that helped distribute his campaign video “through their national networks to make it go viral.”

“They have bombarded their email lists with requests for small dollar donations at an unsustainable rate in an attempt to subvert the primary process and silence the voice of voters in Wisconsin’s 1st District,” said Dennis Hughes, a Myers spokesman.

Bryce spokesman David Keith said his campaign’s latest fundraising report shows that “Randy’s message is resonating among a growing sea of Americans who realize that Paul Ryan’s policies are an attack on working families throughout our country.”

“Whether it be Ryan’s disastrous plan to take healthcare away from over 23 million Americans or his dream of giving Wall Street and the Koch Brothers a massive tax break, the Ryan-Trump agenda is facing a massive resistance,” he said.

State GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman, meanwhile, knocked Bryce.

“As a three-time failed candidate, Red Carpet Randy is nothing more than a struggling far-left activist desperately looking for support — but it looks like he’s found it among the Hollywood elite and not Wisconsin’s hard-working families,” he said.

Here is a breakdown of the third-quarter campaign finance reports for the other 1st CD candidates:


Myers, a teacher and the Janesville School Board vice president, raised $82,512 from June 21, when she entered the race, to Sept. 30 and spent $62,436 over the period. She ended September with $20,076 in cash on hand.

Myers, who’s been pitching herself as the more grassroots candidate who won’t take money from super PACs or the fossil fuel industry, logged an average donation of $72 across her nearly 600 individual donors since she launched her campaign.

And overall, 42 percent of her total donations — itemized and unitemized — came from out-of-state, according to her campaign.

Meanwhile, outside of the $28,525 she loaned herself, Myers’ biggest campaign contribution came from Janesville lawyer Roger G. Merry at $2,800, although family members also put up a couple thousand dollars each to back her.

That includes: her mother, Doris Myers, who gave $2,700; her father, David Myers, who donated $2,600; and her brothers, Michael Myers, whose contribution totaled $2,000; and Richard Myers, who gave her $2,000 plus $535 in in-kind catering.

Overall, of the $82,512 Myers raised, $53,987 came from individuals, while the rest accounted for her loan.

But because the FEC report showed only itemized contributions, just $29,465 of the individual donations she brought in are able to be viewed on the site.

Hughes declined to provide the list of unitemized contributions “out of respect for the privacy of our donors.” But he said there were 590 individual donors total, including both the unitemized and itemized contributors.

That includes, according to the itemized listing, former state Sens. Judith Robson and John Lehman, who donated $250 each.

And as an English teacher at Hononegah High School in Rockton, Ill., Myers also received donations from four of her fellow teachers totaling $1,000.

See Myers’ report:


Ryan, who finished the period with $10.4 million in the bank, raised nearly $261,000 last quarter through direct individual contributions.

That doesn’t include the $49,500 in political contributions from committees, or the nearly $2 million in transfers from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Still, just under 25 percent of the direct individual donations came from Wisconsin. Overall, the average donation across the $261,000 logged was nearly $100.

Among his top contributors, many of whom are featured in Bloomberg executive profiles and biographies, are two from Janesville: SSI Technologies President David Baum and his wife, Judy. They each put the maximum donation per election, $2,700, toward the primary, and an additional $2,700 each toward the general election.

Other notable donors include:

*William Witter, of Boulder, Co., whose father, who shared the same name, was a well-known investment executive who founded two firms named William D. Witter Inc. He donated $2,700 to the general election, after previously making the max donation to the primary effort.
*Knowledge Works Chairman and CEO Thomas Butler, of Illinois: $2,700.
*Stepan Company Chairman F. Quinn Stephan, of Illinois: $2,200.
*Retired Chairman and CEO of Waddell & Reed Financial Henry J. Herrmann, of Kansas: $1,500 toward Ryan’s general election. He’s already put up $2,700 for the primary.
*and Pacific Rim Capital Co-owner Cindy Mirsky, of California: $1,500.

Nehlen, meanwhile, hit Ryan for getting contributions from “special interest lobbyists.”

“The middle and working classes are spinning their wheels in the rat race as a direct result of Paul Ryan’s massive haul of filthy campaign cash given to him by special interest lobbyists whose only interest is keeping wages down and tax loopholes in place for the very wealthy,” he said in a statement provided by his campaign.

A Ryan campaign spokesman said: “Speaker Ryan maintains an active presence in his district and maintains close connections with his employers in the 1st Congressional District.”

See Ryan’s report:


Nehlen, who lost a 2016 GOP primary challenge to Ryan with just 14 percent of the vote, raised $87,514 and spent $53,988 over the fundraising period. He ended September with $65,189 in cash on hand. Nehlen announced in mid-June he would again challenge Ryan.

While Nehlen’s campaign declined to provide WisPolitics.com with the average donation or the percentage of donations that came from Wisconsin, a look at Nehlen’s itemized receipts showed he listed just $3,000 in individual donations from Wisconsin, around 6.4 percent of the $47,225 he raised in contributions of $200 or more over the period.

His top Wisconsin donors included:
*Laurence Berg, an Onalaska physician who gave $500;
*Timothy Tealey, a Verona retiree who gave $200;
*and Donald Zwicker, who’s from Eau Claire and works at Ace Ethanol LLC. He donated $50.

Matthew Miller, the Indiana-based president of the manufacturing company Newmar Corp., donated $5,400 toward Nehlen’s campaign.

Other major Nehlen donors included:

*Virginia retiree Russell Berger, who gave $2,700;
*Geoff Palmer, the owner of GH Palmer Associates in California, who gave $2,700;
*Delor Cornell, the New Jersey-based CEO of Cornell and Company, who gave $2,000;
*and Theresa Poplawskil, a California retiree who gave $2,000.

See his filing:


Democrat Dan Kohl has millions at his disposal if he decides to invest in his campaign to challenge GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman in the 6th CD, according to a WisPolitics.com check of his financial disclosure filing.

Grothman’s disclosure, meanwhile, shows the two-term incumbent has limited resources he could pump into his campaign. Grothman loaned his campaign $159,850 and contributed $380 to it in 2014 during his initial bid for the seat, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, earlier this month raised concerns about his fundraising, which lagged behind Kohl’s in the third quarter. He also raised the prospect that Kohl, the nephew of wealthy former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, could pump his own money into the race, increasing the financial disparity. Kohl’s personal wealth has also generated more interest in the 6th CD than in typical years considering the district has a decided GOP lean.

Kohl campaign manager Rick Coelho said the Dem candidate is encouraged by the support he’s received from others already, but was not ready to discuss how large of a personal financial commitment he may make to the campaign.

“Dan is willing and able to make a personal investment in this campaign,” Coelho said. “We will be considering the timing and the amount in the months to come.”

A Grothman campaign spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment.

Kohl’s report details financial information from 2016 and for 2017 up to his Oct. 5 filing date. Grothman, because he’s a sitting member of Congress, was only required to disclose activity from 2016, and his report did not include his congressional salary of $174,000.

Filers are neither required to disclose the value of their personal homes, though Kohl listed his, nor personal property, such as vehicles and furniture. All numbers on the reports are provided in ranges, making it difficult to ascertain either candidate’s exact financial worth.

Kohl, a 51-year-old business executive who most recently served on a PAC for J Street, which bills itself as The Political Home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans in the Washington, D.C. area, reported assets of between $13.7 million and just over $49 million and no liabilities. The majority of those assets, between $11.9 million and $42.3 million, are part of three Kohl family trusts.

Outside of the trusts, Kohl reported assets of between $1.8 million and $6.8 million. That included between $1 million and $5.1 million in checking and money market accounts, liquid funds that could rapidly be transferred to his campaign.

Grothman, meanwhile, reported assets of between $600,000 and $1.5 million, most of which was invested in mutual funds and retirement accounts, and a West Bend condominium listed as an investment worth between $15,000 and $50,000. He reported no liabilities.

His report showed his assets included between $102,000 and $280,000 in bank accounts.

Grothman’s filing also shows the sale of an empty lot in Kewaskum that was valued between $15,001 and $50,000.

While Kohl reported little earned income, his share of the trusts’ investments generated between $537,636 and $2.8 million in income in 2016, and between $139,793, and $384,400 this year prior to his Oct. 5 filing. Investments outside the trust generated between $205 and $1,800 in 2016, and $600 or less this year so far.

His wife, Stacey, reported earning $25,696 in 2016 and $15,000 so far this year in salary from New York Life Insurance. Dan Kohl reported $835 in earnings from the BakerHostetler law firm in 2016 and no earned income so far this year.

Among the most valuable assets outside of the trusts were the Kohls’ Mequon home, listed at between $500,001 and $1 million, and an Oconomowoc lake house, valued between $250,001 and $500,000.

Among Kohl’s share of major assets in the trusts:

– Kohl Ranch in Thermal, Calif., between $2.5 million and $11 million;

– Sand Beach Holdings LLC, between $1.6 million and $6.25 million;

– La Quinta Date Growers in Thermal, Calif., between $1.5 million and $6.25 million;

– Kohl Deer Valley Holdings LLC in Deer Valley, Utah, between $1.35 million and $5.75 million;

– real estate in Georgia, Texas and New York, with a combined valued between $606,000 and 1.4 million.

See Kohl’s filing:

See Grothman’s filing:


Assembly Republicans have been debating the prospect of one of their members introducing legislation that would ban bump stocks — a possibility that has sharply divided the caucus.

Several Madison Dems earlier this month introduced legislation that would ban the possession, use and sale of the devices that convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons. Bump stocks were used in the Las Vegas massacre.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, has expressed an openness to banning the devices. Still, he said some Republicans open to the idea have concerns about the Assembly Dem bill because there is no grandfather provision for those who already have bump stocks. The Dem bill calls for a 180-day window for those who have bump stocks to get rid of them.

Steineke also said some members of the caucus believe it is a federal issue.

“I’m not sure how much appetite there is at this level to deal with it,” Steineke said. “It was a divided caucus on exactly how to address it.”

If a Wisconsin GOP legislator introduced such a bill, it would be one of a handful with a Republican sponsor in state legislatures, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for gun control measures.

The Massachusetts state Legislature added a rider to an appropriation bill to ban bump stocks, and it won bipartisan support. Meanwhile, GOP members of the Illinois General Assembly and Senate introduced bills this week to ban them. A more expansive Dem bill in the Illinois General Assembly failed this week, because it included similar mechanisms, prompting concerns from some lawmakers it was too expansive.

State Rep. Chris Taylor, one of four Dems to co-sponsor the bump stock bill, said she had discussions with Steineke about a bipartisan bill. But Republicans could not reach a consensus when they caucused on it.

“I was really hoping that we could all agree on the issue and don’t know what the problem with the bill was that I did,” said Taylor, D-Madison.

There are also several forces at play with the discussion beyond the belief by some members of the Assembly GOP caucus that bump stocks should be illegal.

One, Assembly Dems can move a pulling motion to bring their bill to the floor. If Republicans opposed it, they would have to explain why. Some Republicans would be expected to argue it is a federal issue and should be addressed by Congress. Some, though, have advocated for Republicans to have a bill of their own. But that prospect has not set well with some Republican gun rights advocates in the Legislature.

Two, there remain tensions between Assembly GOP leadership and the guv. If a GOP bill were introduced, it could put Gov. Scott Walker in the position of being asked about regulating bump stocks at a time that he is gearing up for his re-election bid.

A Walker spokesman said today if a bill reached his desk, the guv would review it, but declined comment beyond that.

Steineke said he’s willing to consider Taylor’s bill and other proposals.

“I just don’t see this as a Second Amendment issue,” he said. “Some people do see this as a Second Amendment issue. This isn’t something that’s integral to the operation of a weapon itself.”


Tuesday: Senate floor session, where the chamber’s planning to take up a series of appointments and bills including legislation that would prohibit adults from knowingly permitting or failing to stop underage drinking on their property; one on lead service line replacements; and a third that would add fentanyl analogs to the synthetic opiates category of controlled substances under state law. See the full calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/171026SenCalendar.pdf
– 11 a.m.: Senate chamber, state Capitol.

Tuesday: Assembly Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee executive session on a bill laying out parameters regarding body cameras for law enforcement officers.
– 1 p.m.: 225 Northwest, state Capitol.

Thursday: Assembly floor session. The chamber’s looking to take up a bill that would end the so-called moratorium on sulfide mining, as well as a bill that would prohibit the Group Insurance Board from contracting for or providing abortion services. See the proposed calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/171027AssmCalendar.pdf
– 1 p.m.: Assembly chamber, state Capitol.

(Check local listings for times in your area)

“UpFront with Mike Gousha” is a statewide commercial TV news magazine show airing Sundays around the state. This week’s show features state Sen. TIM CARPENTER on Foxconn contract details, Senate Majority Leader SCOTT FITZGERALD on the GOP’s “to-do” list and Milwaukee Bucks President PETER FEIGIN on the new arena.
*See viewing times in state markets here: http://www.wisn.com/upfront/
*Also view the show online each Monday at WisPolitics.com.

“Rewind,” a weekly show from WisconsinEye and WisPolitics.com, airs at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. on Sundays in addition to being available online. On this week’s episode, WisPolitics.com’s JR ROSS and Capital Times’ JESSIE OPOIEN discuss Lincoln Hills, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ apology for calling three GOP senators behind a budget veto deal “terrorists” and the U.S. Senate race.
*Watch the show: http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/11929

Wisconsin Public TV’s “Here and Now” airs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. On this week’s program, anchor FREDERICA FREYBERG talks with former Lincoln Hills correctional officer DOUG CURTIS and state Sen. LaTONYA JOHNSON on recent news reports regarding the state’s youth facilities. Also on the show is ADAM VanSPANKEREN, a certified health navigator on the state of healthcare in Wisconsin; and Madison College historian JON POLLACK on a reaction to the John F. Kennedy documents that were released this week.

“For the Record” airs at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on WISC-TV in Madison. Host NEIL HEINEN talks with Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Director JO HANDLESMAN and UW-Madison astronomy professor ERIC WILCOTS about the upcoming Wisconsin Science Festival Nov. 2-5.

“Capitol City Sunday” airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on WKOW-TV in Madison, WAOW-TV in Wausau, WXOW-TV in La Crosse and WQOW-TV in Eau Claire.

“The Insiders” is a weekly WisOpinion.com web show featuring former Democratic Senate Majority Leader CHUCK CHVALA and former Republican Assembly Speaker SCOTT JENSEN. This week, the two debate how the Dem field stacks up against Gov. SCOTT WALKER.
*Watch the video: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/the-insiders-debate-how-the-dem-field-stacks-up-against-walker/

Send items to staff@wispolitics.com

The next three WisPolitics.com events in Madison and DC:

*A Tuesday luncheon with Department of Administration Secretary SCOTT NEITZEL for a behind-the-scenes look at the state budget and the Foxconn and Bucks arena deals. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-scott-neitzel-tickets-38117586728

*A Nov. 16 breakfast with Morning Consult CEO MICHAEL RAMLET, a Middleton, Wis., native whose team is shaking up the national polling industry. The breakfast will take place at the AT&T Forum near Union Station, on the 5th floor. Breakfast and check-in start at 8:30 a.m. with the program going from 9 to 10 a.m. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/nov-16-wispolitics-com-dc-breakfast-with-morning-consult-ceo-michael-ramlet/

*A Dec. 19 luncheon with U.S. Senate candidate LEAH VUKMIR, a Republican state senator from Brookfield. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wispolitics-luncheon-with-senate-candidate-leah-vukmir-tickets-38117718121

BILL NEIDHARDT is leaving TAMMY BALDWIN’s U.S. Senate office to join her re-election campaign as press secretary. KASEY HAMPTON, who most recently worked as an associate at SKDKnickerbocker, replaces Neidhardt as Baldwin’s press secretary for her Capitol office. Hampton previously worked as a communications adviser at the U.S. Department Health and Human Services.

JEREMY ADLER, who formerly worked for America Rising Squared and MARCO RUBIO’s presidential campaign, is joining Speaker PAUL RYAN’s political operation as communications director. Adler will start with Team Ryan Tuesday.

CORY FISH, a former staffer for state Sen. ALBERTA DARLING, is now a registered lobbyist for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the newest member of the group’s government relations team. He’ll be serving as director of tax, transportation and legal affairs. Fish previously worked as Darling’s legal counsel.

JEFF RIPP, who previously served as administrator for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Division of Energy Regulation, started this week his new position as regulatory affairs director at Alliant Energy.

REINCE PRIEBUS, who led the Wisconsin GOP and then the RNC before a short stint in the Trump White House, is rejoining his old law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich as its president and chief strategist in Washington, D.C. He also announced this week he’s joining the Washington Speakers Bureau. President DONALD TRUMP in a tweet congratulated Priebus on the move, calling him “a really good and talented man. We’re proud of you Reince!”

The Wisconsin Science Festival will be hosting a panel event on Nov. 2 as part of its three-day festival. That panel, which will be moderated by outdoor columnist and Wisconsin Outdoor Writers Association President PATRICK DURKIN, will begin at 8 p.m. and will be held at the UW-Madison Discovery Building. Panelists include: DANIEL VIMONT, UW-Madison professor and director of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research; JACK SULLIVAN, formerly of the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Science Services; CATHERINE TECHTMANN, UW Extension professor; KRISTY MAKI, sport development and operations manager of the American Birkebeiner; ANDREW GOYKE, Northland College professor; and LYRIC BARTHOLOMAY, UW-Madison associate professor. See more: https://wisconsinsciencefest.org/event/not-like-it-used-to-be-outdoor-recreation-in-a-changing-wisconsin/

The Milwaukee Press Club and Rotary Club of Milwaukee are holding a program Nov. 7 featuring JON WILE, vice president of content for American City Business Journals, who’ll discuss the expansion of Amazon.com. The program runs from 12 to 1:15 p.m and will be held at the Memorial Hall at the War Memorial Center in downtown Milwaukee. See more: https://milwaukeepressclub.org/events/mpc-partners-with-rotary-club-of-milwaukee-for-program-on-the-1-2-billion-amazon-effect/

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is hosting its Wisconsin Fighting Hunger event Nov. 1 in Milwaukee. The event, which will include the awarding of $360,000 in grants to seven Wisconsin organizations from the Walmart Foundation, features Lt. Gov. REBECCA KLEEFISCH. Grant recipients include Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, Boys and Girls Club of Portage County, United Community Center, the Greater Green Bay YMCA and more. Attendees are then invited to participate in a food packing event following the program. See details: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/wisconsin-fighting-hunger-event/

The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs this week named TOM CZAJA as the department’s first director of emergency communications. He previously spent 39 years in law enforcement. See more: http://dma.wi.gov/DMA/news/2017news/17145

Gov. SCOTT WALKER this week appointed KEVIN KLEIN to serve as Price County Circuit Court judge. He replaces retiring Judge DOUGLAS T. FOX. See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/gov-walker-appoints-kevin-klein-to-serve-as-price-county-circuit-court-judge/

Department of Workforce Development: Secretary RAY ALLEN this week was named to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies Board of Directors. Allen will be representing Region 5. See details: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/dept-of-workforce-development-secretary-ray-allen-named-to-naswa-board-of-directors/

ENDORSEMENTS: The following is a list of endorsements made for statewide and congressional district elections in the last week, based on emails received by WisPolitics.com:

— U.S. Senate:


— 1st CD:

RANDY BRYCE: Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

— 3rd CD:

RON KIND: Tomah VA whistleblower RYAN HONL.

— Governor:



For more Names in the News, see subscriber products from earlier in the week plus the press release page at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/

For upcoming events, see the “Week Ahead” in this product and in your e-mail Monday morning. Click here for the online calendar: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/events/

If you have a contribution, e-mail staff@wispolitics.com

(from the state Ethics Commission)

Eight changes were made to the lobbying registry in the past 10 days.

Follow this link for the complete list:

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