MADISON, Wis. -

The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate says he was unaware of $750,000 in donations from a lead paint manufacturer given before the Legislature approved a law change sought by the industry.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Thursday that the first he learned of the donations from the owner of NL Industries to Wisconsin Club for Growth was last week in a newspaper article.

The donations were made in 2011 and 2012 and in 2013 the Legislature passed a law retroactively shielding lead paint makers from liability, raising questions of whether the measure was payback for the donations.

Gov. Scott Walker has said it's not surprising he would sign such a law since he has long been in favor of "litigation reform."