- Views & Opinions
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is renting out his email and donor lists to other candidates to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from his failed presidential bid.
The campaign owed $1.2 million at the end of 2015 and has paid off about $308,000 since then, according to campaign finance records.
The bulk of those payments have been made possible by income from Granite Lists, a New Hampshire-based company that rents out Republican donor lists. Granite Lists has paid more than $172,000 to Walker’s campaign since it ended in September.
In April alone, Granite Lists brought the campaign nearly $50,000, comprising most of the total $70,930 the campaign brought in that month.
It’s common for candidates to sell their donor lists for extra cash flow once they’re no longer in the race — the donor list from Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential run is featured alongside Walker’s on the Granite Lists website.
But the funding agreements aren’t always evident on campaign finance reports. In addition to flat-rate charges, candidates can set up revenue-sharing agreements, where some of the proceeds they obtain from donors are diverted back to the list owner.
Candidates can also pay a flat rate of $10,500 to email Walker’s entire 675,000-person email list and $7,000 to email the 225,000 donors and presidential sign-ups, according to Granite Lists website.
“Even before he ran for president, Gov. Scott Walker had amassed a huge national network of online donors which was the envy of the political fundraising world,” the website says.
It calls Walker’s donor file “one of the hottest donor lists to hit the market in years.”
Granite Lists said no one was available for comment. Walker’s campaign treasurer, Kate Lind, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Walker spent an average of $90,000 a day on the 71-day campaign and still owed $898,676 at the end of April. The largest outstanding debt he owes is $260,000 to FLS Connect for telemarketing and data.
In April, Walker offered his fans T-shirts from his campaign in exchange for $45 donations. In his email asking for the money, Walker said but he was unable to honor size and color requests. He suggested that the shirts could be framed as keepsakes or used for “crafty things,” such as pillows or bags.