Prosser still paying down debt
MADISON — Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is still paying off debts associated with the 2011 election that nearly cost him his seat on the bench and cost his supporters around $700,000.
Prosser defeated challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg in a race that included public financing and millions in spending from outside groups. An anomaly in Prosser's narrow victory led to the first statewide recount in more than two decades. The results confirmed Prosser won the election by just 7,004 votes. But it came with a price.
Three years after the victory, the team behind Prosser's campaign and political action committee is still trying to raise money to pay off about $200,000 in remaining debt associated with the election and recount.
"Since 2011, the debt-retirement environment has been challenged by a near-constant election cycle," wrote Brian Nemoir, Prosser's 2011 campaign director and adviser to the Prosser Victory Recount Fund, a political action committee.
Campaign finance reports show Prosser's campaign account amassed nearly $233,000 in debt between January and July 2011. Most of that went to legal fees for Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, a Milwaukee law firm, which didn't respond to requests for comment.
The most recent filing, covering July 1 through Dec. 31, 2013, showed the campaign had paid just $33,000, most of it coming from in-kind donations from the Prosser PAC. The next report is due in July.
Meanwhile, the Prosser PAC recently received help from former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, who appointed Prosser to the bench in 1998. Thompson sent out an email in January this year asking for donors to repay a "debt of gratitude" to Prosser.