Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, may be the face of the Tea Party favorite caucus in Congress. But big business interests have also contributed mightily to the budget chairman’s campaign, according to analyses from the nonpartisan political money trackers at MapLight.

Wall Street, insurance, health care and pharmaceutical interests contributed the most to the Janesville Republican’s campaign from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011. Those corporate interests accounted for about $817,000 of the $3.2 million Ryan raised during this two-year period.

One of Congress’s top fundraisers, Ryan entered the current election cycle with more than $3 million cash on hand. He now reports having $5.4 million cash on hand in his congressional war chest.

Top organizations funding Ryan included Wisconsin insurers Northwestern Mutual and American Family Insurance, accounting firm Pricewaterhousecoopers, Goldman Sachs and Koch Industries.

Like many legislators, Paul Ryan — a career politician who is chairman of the House budget committee and also sits on Ways and Means — raises plenty of money from the District of Columbia.

In MapLight’s most recent analysis, of data from 2005 to 2007, 65 percent of his contributions came from outside Wisconsin and 83 percent from outside his southeastern Wisconsin district. Donations from Washington and Virginia together accounted for more than those from Wisconsin.

Readers can explore the data at’s Paul Ryan page. The publicly available data is compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Members of Congress are not required to precisely disclose their personal wealth, other than to identify individual assets within set ranges. Ryan’s most recent disclosure, filed in May, puts him toward the high end of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.

According to this filing., Ryan has assets worth more than $2 million but less than $10 million. Much of his money is salted away in money markets, mutual funds and individual stock holdings. He has substantial investments in mining companies and Home Depot. He also reports having between $100,000 and $250,000 set aside in Edvest, a college savings plan.

Ryan reports owing between $250,000 and $500,000 for the mortgage on his Janesville home.

Kate Golden and Bill Lueders report for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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It's finally setting in: Trump is Trump and he’s not going to change because of winning the nomination.

The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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