This report makes me really uncomfortable whether or not collecting information is legal or commonplace or useful or whatever. It’s not like we don’t already know that voter info is gathered, dissected, and exploited, but Gov. Scott Walker’s state (and others) making money off confidential details like, you know, home addresses pushes my already squeamish buttons.
APPLETON — Computer files kept in Madison with detailed information on Wisconsin’s 3.7 million registered voters now fuel a healthy revenue stream for the state.
State law allows the Government Accountability Board to sell the public information in bulk with a $12,500 price tag or in pieces to individual candidates looking to target specific voters in an election. Last year the state took in $269,000 by selling the data, a review by Post-Crescent Media has found. Since 2011, 585 individual sales led to $388,595 in revenue.
“Some people get mad that we’re selling their information, but we’re required to do so by state law,” said Reid Magney, spokesman for the GAB. “We don’t sell birthdates and we don’t sell phone numbers or email addresses.”
Again, what is for sale are the voter’s addresses and voter participation history, and that is information that campaigns can use to target specific areas.
Those who took advantage of the data sales were primarily political organizations, including the Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, and state parties. Equal opportunity privacy invasion for cash.
Who purchased Appleton data?
Post-Crescent Media requested a list of all voter data purchases between 2011 and this spring. Here is a list of who purchased Appleton-related data in that period. This does not include the 24 individuals who purchased statewide rolls.
|Name||Subject of purchase||Amount paid||Voters||Date|
|Aldermanic district 5||$30||957*||3/18/13|
|Curt Konetzke||Aldermanic district 3||$40||3,104||3/4/13|
|Kathy Plank||Aldermanic district 7||$40||3,475||1/30/13|
|Mark Priddis||Aldermanic district 3||$40||3,111||1/28/13|
|Pam Holdorf||Aldermanic district 13||$30||1,016*||1/15/13|
|Tim Hanna||City of Appleton||$220||38,931||3/13/12|
|John Hill||Aldermanic district 2||$40||2,759||3/13/12|
|Tom Goehler||Aldermanic district 12||$40||2,540||2/28/12|
|John DeVantier||Appleton school district||$145||24,207||2/8/12|
|Dave Broker||City of Appleton||$190||33,012||2/6/12|
|Jeff Lutz||Aldermanic district 4||$40||3,039||1/30/12|
|Tom Van Susteren||Aldermanic ward 2||$35||1,522||1/12/12|
|Michael Smith||Aldermanic district 10||$40||2,571||1/6/12|
*active voters spring only