April 19, 2009

Our million-dollar Congressman (again)

It's often apples and oranges when trying to examine a Congressman's donations. The collection period may differ; definitions of what a "small" donation is may differ.

But with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, 1st District, one thing is crystal clear: We're talking big, big dollars. Again.

Our six-term Congressman from Janesville, who out-raised and out-spent his 2008 "opposition" by more than 10-1 (and has received between 63% and 67% of the votes in each of his past five elections), today reported having more than $1 million in his campaign treasury. I'm not sure why that is "news" -- after all, Ryan raised just shy of $2 million in the past two-year campaign cycle, and had $878,794 on Dec. 31. (Clearly, he didn't invest it in the stock market.)

But Ryan, in reporting having $1,012,961.32 on hand at the end of March is making the point that 43% of his individual contributions in the past three months have come from 1,970 new campaign donors.

His three-month summary Campaign Finance Report (Jan. 1, 2009- March 31, 2009, the first of the 2009-2010 campaign cycle, at right), reports raising $222,070, with equal amounts coming from individuals and PACs. Ryan says 75% of the individual donors gave $100 or less.

Look here for Ryan's most recent campaign receipts, and check the links within it for yourself to see who gave how much.

Ryan's 2007-2008 summary

We also reviewed Ryan's report from the two-year campaign cycle just ended, listing all donations from 2007 and 2008: That report, excerpted in the graphic above, shows donations of $1,988,141. Some 51% came from individuals: by our rough count, there were about 700 donors who contributed no more than $100; 400 o gave between $500 and $1,000; and 240 who gave $1,000 or more. Another 43.4% came from PACs.

At the end of 2008, Ryan reported total disbursements of $2,367,725 during the two years. He had $878,794 on hand on Dec. 31, 2008, and owed $18,719.

Start here to see Ryan's 2007-2008 donations, along with his opponents' in the last election. It, too, will let you see exactly who gave how much.

Here's Ryan's complete press statement, issued last night:
Following a surge in donations from new donors over the past year, First District Congressman Paul Ryan reported having $1,012,961.32 in his campaign treasury at the end of March.

“People know in these dire economic times that the federal government cannot spend, tax and borrow our way to prosperity,” said Ryan (pictured right, at Kenosha listening session this week). “Citizens who have felt left out of the political process have told me they are responding because they want their money and decision-making power taken out of Washington and returned to them.”

Over the past 12 months, 43 percent of Ryan’s individual contributions have come from 1,970 new donors to his campaign. During that period, 75 percent of the donors gave $100 or less.

“These supporters want to make sure the message I have for keeping jobs in America, guaranteeing access to health insurance, simplifying the tax code and fixing our entitlement programs is heard by all voters,” said Ryan

Ryan said the remarkable number of first time contributors and small donations are an indication that his ideas are resonating with people who have not participated in campaigns previously.

“The reforms I have proposed are common sense solutions. When our business taxes are the second highest in the world, it is no wonder jobs move overseas. With health care, patients should know up front what procedures cost and who gives the best care, so competition drives prices down. And, we need to give taxpayers and seniors better choices in how they pay their taxes and receive their retirement benefits,” said Ryan.

Impressively, 95 percent of Ryan’s individual contributions came from Wisconsin residents during the last election cycle.

“I believe the way to generate support for solutions is to practice principled representation, which means saying what you are going to do and then doing it,” said Ryan. “The support I’ve received from Wisconsin small business owners, unions, seniors and working men and women shows my number one priority is looking out for the best interests of the constituents I was elected to serve.”

“My opponents will attack my record and attempt to portray me in a negative way,” said Ryan. “The voters of this district are showing with their donations that they want me to have the resources to defend the work I am doing on their behalf.”

In keeping with his promise of full disclosure of campaign contributions, a link to Ryan’s Federal Elections Campaign report is available on his campaign website.
We will, no doubt, be labeled as churlish for reporting here that the GM plant in Janesville, Ryan's home town, is shutting down this week, putting out of work the last 100 of more than 1,300 employees at the 90-year-old truck assembly plant, and hundreds more in the community. But Ryan's statement above about "the message I have for keeping jobs in America" seems to make that reminder mandatory.


  1. Ryan is a talk-alot do nothing Congressman. He is not looking out for the citizens of his district, he is looking out for his next step up.

  2. Yawn. This crusade against Ryan is boring.

  3. It would be interesting to know how many fundraising events the humble Rep. Ryan held.

  4. I know you two boys have a huge ax to grind against Ryan, but it's getting to the point where it is funny jusy how left biased you are. Where are the reports on Doyle's Millions or Feingold's war chest. Nothing on the Million spent on Abrahamson's campaign by PAC cash, or the corrupt, soon to be investigated Tony Evers and the huge WEAC Union money spent for him? If you at least come right out and say "We're liberals and are going to report with a slant" people would respect you more.

  5. Anon 8:56: This post began with a press release from Ryan's office, touting his campaign fund-raising success. And he credited his job-saving expertise four days before the largest employer in his home town will shut down. Tone deaf is tone deaf; you don't have to be partisan to see that.

    As for the others: all in good time. Kohl and Feingold haven't run for office since 2006 and 2004 respectively. Feingold is up for re-election in two years. No 2009 FEC campaign finance report is online from him, and the latest from Kohl shows just $5,000. In other words, no news there -- yet.

    Evers is "soon to be investigated." So you can see into the future? Don't waste this gift on WEAC, give us some stock tips...

  6. Good point, Anon 8:56. I am very curious about the money spent on some big union backed candidates. Where are those stories? Where did all the campaign money come from for Evers and Abrahamson?

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  8. Duh. Campaign cash equals government favors equals high taxes. When will we ever learn that the $5 it would cost per taxayer for public funding of campaigns would be 1/100th as costly as our moneyed system.

    See http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

  9. And for those that want more on Ryan they should read Roger Bybee's article at http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/21105