Boycott targets Walker contributors - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Boycott targets Walker contributors


MADISON (WKOW) -- A call on Facebook to boycott Governor Scott Walker campaign contributors has a following of more than 20,000 people.

M&I Bank is one company in particular drawing criticism because some of its directors contributed to Gov. Walker.

Jeff Skiles, a well-known local pilot who flew alongside Sully Sullenberger on the "Miracle on the Hudson" plane, is one of the many people targeting the bank.

Skiles began moving his money out of M&I Bank and into a bank near his home in Oregon on Tuesday.

"It's time to move to a smaller community bank where the money is going to be invested locally and where their interests are going to be more in line with my interests as a depositor," Skiles said.

He says he was an M&I Bank customer for 18 years.

"Here is a bank that shows what is wrong with corporate America and politics today," Skiles said.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows a senior vice president and the chairman emeritus of the bank each contributed $5,000 to Walker's campaign last year. It shows the chairman and his wife have contributed more than $22,000 since 1999.

Still, regional M&I Bank president Doug Nelson says that doesn't speak for the entire company.

"Corporately, we are not taking a position on the debate over the budget repair bill," he said. "We're simply trying to be a bank—a good financial provider of services to our clients and also a good corporate citizen."

He says M&I Bank did not make corporate contributions to any campaign

"Individuals within the bank made contributions as they are entitled to do, both to the Walker campaigns and the [Tom Barrett] campaigns."

Nelson says the company has had people close and open accounts., but there haven't been dramatic changes.

The boycott of business like M&I Bank gained traction on Facebook.

"It was adding a thousand fans right from the very beginning on February 13th," said Sam Hokin, the creator of the Facebook page.

He says he's trying to make sure the boycotts don't go too far.

"I am trying to keep the discussion focused on the very large contributors," he said.

There have been some calls to boycott Brat Fest because some of the companies involved are associated with Walker contributors, but Hokin and Skiles both agree the goal is to look at large contributors who will continue to support Walker.

Skiles says it will be more clear who those supporters are if recall efforts continue.

Governor Walker's office released the following statement in response to the boycott:

While unions have chosen to boycott businesses that create Wisconsin jobs and employ hardworking Wisconsin middleclass citizens, Governor Walker has chosen to promote the private sector job creators that are going to help get Wisconsin working again.  Governor Walker will continue to stand up and fight for the middleclass taxpayers that are employed at these businesses all across our state.

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