Democrats Take Money from Once-Jailed Lawmaker, Crook

“Wisconsin is open for corruption,” declared Assembly Democrats over and over again as they rose one after the other on the Assembly floor to oppose John Doe reform, GAB reform and campaign finance reform legislation. In their telling of it, adjustments made to the John Doe process to prevent it from being used in cases involving campaign finance law violations would give a green light to corruption in government.

In addition to speaking against the reforms, unsuccessfully trying to amend the legislation, and voting against two of the three bills, Democrats also recused themselves en masse from the campaign finance overhaul package. But there is a noticeable chink in the Democrats’ rhetorical and political armor.

Democrats have a history of taking campaign contributions from a once-jailed lawmaker and a lobbyist who pled guilty to felony charges regarding illegal campaign contributions.

“Republicans stood on the side of opening up Wisconsin to corruption,” declared state Rep. Katrina Shankland (D) during one floor session this week. “As Republicans open the door for corruption, the door on Wisconsin’s era of clean, open and transparent government has been slammed shut,” lamented Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) in the Democrats’ weekly radio address.

Former state Sen. Chuck Chvala (D) was forced out of office after being charged with 19 felonies related to using his power and position in state government for political purposes. Chvala pled guilty to 2 felonies and temporarily lost his law license because of his crimes.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s campaign contribution database, Chvala has made over $28,400 in campaign contributions. In the most recent election cycle, Chvala gave $500 to Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent, $250 to Rep. Evan Goyke, and $1,000 to Rep. Dianne Hasselbein between 2012 and 2014.

Lobbyist Gary Goyke is the father of Democratic state Rep. Evan Goyke, and has had multiple run-ins with the law ranging from breaking ethics rules with a state senator to pleading guilty to felony counts of illegal campaign contributions.

Since 2008, Goyke has given $1,000 to Rep. Andy Jorgensen, who loudly complained about GAB reforms on the Assembly floor, $350 to Rep. Daniel Riemer, and even $400 to Minority Leader Barca. Added up, Goyke has contributed $57,930 to mostly Democratic and liberal political candidates.

Before loudly complaining about recent reforms, Assembly Democrats may want start scrutinizing where they get their campaign contributions from.