"Individual employees may choose, at their own discretion and based on their political beliefs, to make contributions to political campaigns. Donors are typically required to identify their employer. Each campaign - Scott Walker and Tom Barrett - received voluntary contributions from individual M&I employees."
I suppose it is possible that this spokesperson is fairly new, given that M&I was recently sold to a Canadian bank. But absent that possibility this response is laughable and it is totally divorced from reality. Don't be fooled by the spin, instead look at the facts.
1. Top executives at M&I Bank have long been boosters of Scott Walker's destructive brand of politics. These were not simply bank tellers or other front line workers giving contributions. Instead it was a cadre of big executives and bosses at M&I that helped finance Walker's campaigns.
2. These top executives often gave thousands of dollars at a time. The biggest example is former M&I Chief Executive Dennis Kuester and his wife who gave $20,000 to Walker during the 2010 campaign alone. Before the 2010 campaign the couple gave at least $5,600 to advance Walker's political ambitions. While this is by far the biggest example it is certainly not the only one. Mark Furlong, the executive that took over for Kuester at M&I gave $3,000 to Walker in the run up to the November 2010 election. So is this tradition of giving to Walker something that is passed down from executive to executive?
3. When the top executives of M&I weren't giving to Walker in massive amounts, others at the bank were giving in what appears to have been coordinated bundles. For example a total of 6 people from M&I Bank gave to Walker on March 25, 2009. A total of 15 gave to Walker on December 12, 2008. A total of 14 gave to Walker on August 22, 2007. Were these coordinated fundraisers hosted by M&I people or are we supposed to believe that they all just happened to repeatedly give on the same exact dates?
4. To pretend that there was any parity in M&I giving to Walker as compared to Mayor Tom Barrett is absurd and highly misleading. For example Dennis Kuester gave $400 to Barrett while giving the aforementioned $20,000 to Walker. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's database, Mark Furlong gave $0 to Tom Barrett during the 2010 campaign while giving the aforementioned $3,000 to Walker. In fact if you were to search the database you will find that M&I Bank employees have given approximately 68 times to Mayor Barrett since 2001 (usually in much smaller amounts than they have given to Walker). During that same time they have given approximately 185 times to Scott Walker.
Given these facts and this longtime financing of Scott Walker's extreme brand of politics, it should be no suprise to M&I Bank that they now find themselves on several boycott lists.