Railroad Executive To Be Sentenced for Campaign Law Violations

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WEST BEND - A railroad executive charged with campaign finance violations has been scheduled to appear in a courtroom in West Bend on Thursday afternoon for a sentencing hearing.

Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company chief executive William Gardner agreed to plead guilty to one count of excessive political contributions and one count of unlawful political contribution in Washington County.

Gardner last May apologized for using company money to reimburse employees' political donations to Gov. Scott Walker.

The governor, who was in the middle of a primary contest at the time, returned about $44,000 in contributions. Donating corporate money to political candidates is illegal in Wisconsin.

Gardner issued a statement saying he didn't realize he was violating the law but says he will plead guilty.

The Government Accountability Board fined Gardner and Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company a record $160,000.