A federal court ruling that lifted limits on contributions from political action committees worked in Gov. Scott Walker's favor, to the tune of about $2 million.
Over the course of the year, Walker has taken in about $2.6 million in PAC contributions, according to his latest campaign finance report. About $2.3 million of that was received between July 29 and Oct. 20.
In total, he has taken in about $1.9 million more in PAC money than was previously allowed. For this election, the limit candidates could have accepted from PACs was $700,830.
That changed in September, when U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa ruled the limit was likely unconstitutional. The CRG Network, a conservative PAC, argued that the limits violated its free speech rights.
Randa also blocked the portion of the law that puts limits on the amount a candidate can receive from political parties and legislative campaign committees.
The ruling allows individuals to contribute as much as they like to political parties. The parties can then give unlimited amounts to candidates — a process that allows donors to bypass the $10,000 limit on individual contributions.
On Oct. 23, Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson gave the Republican Party of Wisconsin $650,000. That same day, the Republican Party of Wisconsin gave Walker an in-kind contribution of a little more than $450,000.
While Adelson has previously donated to Walker, this was his first contribution to the state party. He gave Walker $250,000 during his 2012 recall election, taking advantage of the fact that the subject of a recall isn't held to the usual $10,000 limit for individual contributions.
"Half of the $80 million Scott Walker's raised comes from outside of Wisconsin, and we all remember when he when flew to Las Vegas, hat in hand, to beg Sheldon Adelson for his support," said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now. "What are the odds that the same day Las Vegas billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gives for the first time in his 80-plus years to the Republican Party of Wisconsin to the tune of more than $450,000, the same day the party gives Scott Walker more than $450,000?"
Walker, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, went to Las Vegas in March for a meeting referred to as the "Sheldon Primary." The potential presidential hopefuls all vied for the attention of the wealthy casino owner, who poured more than $92 million on behalf of Republicans into the run-up of the 2012 presidential election.
But despite taking in nearly $20 million for his re-election bid this year, $10.4 million of which came in the last three months, Walker is still looking for financial assistance.
Walker told reporters Monday morning that he is losing the airwaves battle, getting outspent on TV and facing pressure from national Democratic groups and labor unions, Politico reported Monday.
"It’s TV spending, Walker emphasized, where national Republicans can make the biggest difference. So far, he said, the out-of-state effort on his behalf 'pales in comparison' to what his coalition of foes have spent on the other side," Politico reported.
Democratic candidate Mary Burke had not yet filed her report, which is due at midnight, Monday afternoon.