Burke Says John Doe Revelations Demonstrate Need For Tighter Campaign Finance Laws

Latest Documents Show GTAC Donated $700K To Conservative Group Prior To Mining Legislation's Passage

Burke has said that campaign contributions from GTAC to the Wisconsin Club for Growth should be illegal, if it isn't. Photo: Maureen McCollum/WPR News.

Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke said revelations from a John Doe investigation into possible illegal campaign fundraising demonstrate a need to tighten the state’s finance laws.

During a campaign stop in Eau Claire, Burke responded to the release of federal court documents related to a John Doe investigation into possible illegal coordination between Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign and advocacy groups. She said the revelation that a $700,000 donation from mining company Gogebic Taconite was made to the Wisconsin Club for Growth when Walker and Republican lawmakers were drafting changes to mining law deserves closer scrutiny.

“If that’s not illegal, it should be, and it certainly should be disclosed,” she said. “What we’re finding from these documents is that if there wasn’t this investigation of campaign finance of Governor Walker’s campaign, we wouldn’t even know about this.”

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Walker has said he wasn’t aware of GTAC’s donation and that his campaign didn’t break any laws.

During Burke’s Eau Claire visit she also said that if elected governor, she would push to tighten Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws.

“I would want to see that disclosure, and I certainly would want to do what I can as governor to limit the influence of special interest, out-of-state money. It only makes common sense but right now I don’t think that our laws are strong enough,” she said.

Burke did acknowledge that any changes to state campaign finance laws would have to align with recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which have struck down several campaign finance restrictions.