Report: Major DC Lobby Firm Throwing Fundraiser For Wisconsin GOP Leaders

March 9, 2011 3:55 p.m.

On the heels of their 18-1, Democratic Senator-free vote to roll back collective bargaining rights for thousands of state workers, Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Senate will head to a high-price fundraiser in their honor in DC.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel key players in the Wisconsin GOP will gather at the downtown DC headquarters of lobbying firm BGR Group March 16 for an event that donors “are asked to give at least $1,000 to the state Republican Party’s federal account” to attend.It takes $1,000 to get you in the door, but “sponsors” are asked to pony up $2,500 and “hosts” 5,000.

Some of the names on the list of elected Wisconsin Republicans scheduled to attend, according to the Journal Sentinel:

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau; Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon; Rep. Scott Suder of Abbotsford; Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend; and Joint Finance Committee co-chairmen, Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills and Rep. Robin Vos of Burlington. … All five Republican congressmen and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are listed as invited guests.

Wisconsin connections to BGR run deep. The president of government affairs for the firm is Bob Wood, who the paper reports was a “former chief of staff and campaign manager” for former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson. On the national level, BGR couldn’t be more connected to the national establishment. The firm’s original name? Barbour (as in Haley) Griffith Rogers.

The state GOP says the event “was scheduled well before” Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) controversial budget was introduced.

“While we’ll be doing all we can on various fronts to try to counter some of the millions that national union bosses and are now pumping into the state to influence Wisconsin elections,” state GOP Executive Director Mark Jefferson told the paper, “this particular event doesn’t really play into it much.”

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