Monday, March 27, 2006

MORE PAY TO PLAY WITH JIM DOYLE


Consulting execs give Doyle $45K
Donations made after firms win state contracts
By David Callender

Months after landing lucrative state contracts, executives from two out-of-state consulting firms gave donations totaling nearly $45,000 to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election campaign.

The donations to Doyle marked the first time that anyone from either company - Chicago-based Equis Corp. and Indianapolis-based Crowe Chizek - gave significant cash to any candidate in Wisconsin, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

In the case of Equis Corp., the firm's president and his wife gave Doyle nearly the maximum contribution allowed under state law - $10,000 each - less than a year after the state approved a contract amendment potentially worth millions to the firm.

The firm's chief operating officer and three other top executives gave Doyle a total of more than $7,000 in the same period.
Consulting execs give Doyle $45K

Crowe Chizek officials, meanwhile, gave Doyle a total of $17,500, beginning with a donation of $2,500 from one of the firm's executives only months after the firm won a $6.7 million contract.

Both contractors submitted low bids for their work, but Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe said the donations renew questions about so-called "pay-to-play" practices in state government.

"This is a classic pattern where campaign contributions flow in after a company wins a contract, where before you didn't see any big donations from folks and then all of a sudden they give these huge amounts," McCabe said. "It could be coincidence, but it creates the appearance that government is for sale," he added.

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