A Supreme Court candidate pushed for his opponents to turn away out-of-state money Tuesday.
Milwaukee lemon law attorney Vince Megna said in an interview with The Badger Herald Tuesday his two opponents in the Feb. 19 primary should keep campaign fundraising in the state.
“I’m calling for out-of-state money to be rejected and [to] keep this in Wisconsin,” Megna said. “Whoever wins, wins, but will win honestly with just people in Wisconsin contributing. And that’s going to keep the cost of the whole campaign down.”
Megna pointed to the last Supreme Court election, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the protests at the Capitol, as one that shows the impacts of out-of-state money from billionaires who try to “control” the state’s elections.
Although he called on both candidates to reject out-of-state money, Justice Patience Roggensack is the only one with out-of-state donors, although Wisconsinites have contributed thousands of dollars to her campaign. Roggensack, as the incumbent, has been in the race for longer and has more than $55,000 on hand.
All four of Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone’s donors in the latest finance reports are from Wisconsin. Their contributions add up to $450, compared to the $5,000 Fallone loaned his campaign.
Megna’s campaign is largely self-funded as well; he loaned his own campaign $10,000.
Roggensack’s spokesperson, Brandon Scholz,said people have the right to support candidates in other states and do so with many candidates, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Scholz said when campaigns struggle with getting enough support, they decide to attack candidates.
“Vince Megna’s political attack is a political attack that’s about as old as the hills,” Scholz said. “It’s been done by every single candidate who has trouble raising money for their campaign, so their idea is, ‘Let’s go out and attack opponents for taking a contribution.’”
The most recent reports show all activity until the end of last year.
On Wednesday, Fallone’s campaign criticized Roggensack for failing to report a check sent out Dec. 27. The check in question, which is for more than $20,000, came from a school choice group and included a number of out-of-state donors, including the Walton family who owns Walmart.
“Justice Roggensack owes it to the people of Wisconsin to explain why she left tens of thousands of dollars in donations from out-of-state special interests off of her finance report,” campaign spokesperson Nate Schwantes said in a statement.
Scholz said the Roggensack campaign was compliant with campaign finance laws, which require contributions to be deposited within five days. The check went out Dec. 27 and, as their office was closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, the Roggensack campaign deposited it Jan. 2.
The check will be on the next fundraising report due Feb. 11.
“I think what should be worrisome [is] an associate professor who’s teaching law, and he’s not getting it right,” Scholz said. “That’s something to worry about.”
Scholz also contrasted Fallone and Megna’s attacks with Roggensack’s message of the experience she brings to the race.
Schwantes, Fallone’s spokesperson, said the Roggensack campaign had all of January to work on the fundraising report and did not include the check in it. He said the Supreme Court should be transparent and this “particular instance seems less than transparent.”