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Donor accused of funneling illegal contributions to Scott Walker through employees

From the Journal Sentinel:

A major donor to Gov. Scott Walker was charged Monday with funneling more than $60,000 in illegal campaign contributions through his railroad employees over five years.

William Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., has agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts - one for exceeding the campaign contribution limits and a second for giving company and personal funds to associates so they could make political donations, mainly to Walker but to others as well. Individuals can give no more than $10,000 to gubernatorial candidates.

As part of a separate settlement, the railroad paid a civil forfeiture of $166,900 - the largest ever imposed by state election officials. Seven employees will each pay $250 forfeitures as well.

Under Gardner's criminal plea deal, prosecutors ask that Gardner be sentenced to two years' probation.

"Because he was cooperative and accepted responsibility at the outset - providing much of the evidence against himself - we are not recommending jail time," said Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf, who investigates election and campaign matters.

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