Monday February 18, 2019

Forward with Education & Reason

FacebookTwitterYoutube
Newsletter
Feeds:

Progressive Thinking

Discussion with education and reason.

Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan nonprofit political watchdog group now in it's third decade of working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703-3689, 608-255-4260

Sen. Larson Leads on Campaign Finance Reform

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 07 February 2019
in Wisconsin

chris_larsonSen. Larson’s bills would limit the role of the super wealthy and corporations, and bring some more transparency to our politics.


MADISON - Sen. Chris Larson, Democrat from Milwaukee, is taking the lead in the Wisconsin State Senate on the urgent issue of campaign finance reform.

He is introducing what he calls the “2019-2020 Campaign Integrity Package,” which consists of nine bills. These bills would go a long way toward rectifying the damage that was done when the GOP leadership disastrously rewrote our campaign finance law back in 2015.

“Powerful special interest groups and wealthy corporations continue to have an overwhelming and growing effect on elections across Wisconsin and nationwide,” Sen. Larson says. These bills “address our most damaging campaign finance problems.”

mta-milwaukeeOne of the bills, which is entitled the “No Corporate Campaign Bribes Act,” would ban corporations, labor unions, tribes, and other groups from donating to political parties and legislative campaign committees. In the last session, such donations amounted to $1.7 million. For more than 100 years prior to the 2015 rewrite of our campaign finance law, corporations and other groups were not allowed to make such donations. (The Legislative Reference Bureau draft number for this bill is LRB-1094. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Jonathan Brostoff is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

Another bill, the “Communications Transparency Act,” would lift the lid on the dark money that has flooded into Wisconsin elections. It would require so-called “issue advocacy” groups to disclose the names of any donors who gave them $100 or more in the preceding 12 months. Now we’d know who is paying for the mud that’s splattering on our screens at election time. The bill would also require the reporting, within 48 hours, of any mass communication that costs more than $500 and is made within 60 days of an election. (Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate.)

Another important bill, the “Coordination Control Act,” would prohibit unlimited donations to “issue advocacy” groups that are coordinating with candidates. Instead, those donations would not be able to exceed the limits on direct contributions to candidates. Under the 2015 law, a candidate may coordinate with these outside groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from their donors, thus making a mockery of the limits on direct contributions to candidates. The bill also redefines “coordination” to mean that the candidate or candidate’s agent “exercises control over or engages in substantial discussions or negotiations” with the outside electioneering group. The 2015 law made it almost impossible to convict someone of illegal coordination because it defined coordination much more narrowly. (This bill is LRB-1093. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Jimmy Anderson is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

Four bills would lower donation limits.

One of them, “The Sensible Limits Act,” would place a $10,000 ceiling on donations to political parties and legislative campaign committees. The 2015 law let rich people give unlimited amounts to these groups, which may then turn around and give that money to the candidates. (This bill is LRB-1088. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Melissa Sargent is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

A similar bill, the “Stop Unlimited Contributions Act,” would also limit the transfer of funds between political parties and legislative campaign committees. (This bill is LRB-1319. Lead sponsors of the bill are Rep. Sargent in the Assembly and Sen. Larson in the Senate.)

The “Restoring Reasonable Limits Act” would lower the individual donation limit to $10,000 for candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, and secretary of state. The 2015 law had raised it to $20,000. (This bill is LRB-1089. The lead sponsors are Sen. Larson and Rep. Sargent.)

The “Special Interests Limitation Act” would also cut in half the amount that the political action committees may contribute to candidates. (This bill is LRB-1090. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Christine Sinicki is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

The last two bills would eliminate defects that the 2015 law introduced.

The “Closing the PAC Loophole Act” would require any group that spends more than $1,000 on express advocacy to register as a political action committee in Wisconsin. The 2015 law allowed national PACs to avoid registering unless they spend more than half their money in Wisconsin, and most don’t. (This bill is LRB-1091. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Anderson is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

And the “Contribution Sunshine Act” would require campaign committees to identify the employer of any donor who gives more than $100. The 2015 law took this requirement away, and by so doing, obscures the influence that a company may be exercising. (This bill is LRB-1095. Sen. Larson is the lead sponsor in the Senate, and Rep. Brostoff is the lead sponsor in the Assembly.)

Sen. Larson and the other lead sponsors of these bills are doing a great service to our democracy here in Wisconsin.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Wis Democracy Campaign "Kochs, WMC Behind Bills"

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Sunday, 03 December 2017
in Wisconsin

koch-brothersMADISON - Over the last couple weeks, the influence of the Koch Brothers and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) has been on display, if you were looking.

And we were looking!

First, we discovered that two senior officials at the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity suddenly resigned to do campaign work for Michael Screnock, the Walker ally who is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court:

Court candidate hires former Koch group executives as campaign advisors

Then we saw that Koch groups were the only ones that registered in favor of another bill that Walker just signed which will deregulate several occupations:

Walker approves Koch bills to loosen licensing

WMC and the Kochs were behind yet another bill Walker just signed that’ll let landowners do just about anything with their property, even if it wasn’t zoned for such a purpose:

Walker signs lax land-use bill backed by big boys

And WMC, along with a veritable polluters’ lobby, is backing a bill to do away with Wisconsin’s regulations that protect our clean air:

WMC behind Republican bill to repeal state air pollution rules

This is why I say that the Koch Brothers and WMC are the folks that really run Wisconsin – not Walker or Fitzgerald or Vos. They’re just the hired help.

You can count on us to keep showing you who the real powers are in Wisconsin – and what effect they are having on all of our lives!

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.S. If you appreciate our urgent work, please send us a tax-deductible gift today. It’s simple: Just click here. Or mail it in the old-fashioned way to the address below. Thanks!

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Constitutional Convention Action Alert!

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Monday, 06 November 2017
in Wisconsin

constitutional-conventionMADISON - I need you – right now! -- to contact your Wis. State Senator about a horrible bill that’s up for a vote TOMORROW, Tuesday! It’s called AJR 21, and it seeks a Constitutional Convention on a balanced budget amendment. And if you are in one of the below listed districts, it is of particular urgency you contact your senator and encourage their "no" vote.

The balanced budget amendment is a horrible idea because it would tie the hands of our government in times of recession.

But there’s an even bigger problem with calling a Constitutional Convention, and that is, once it gets under way, it may go beyond its original mandate and throw everything on the table, including our basic rights.

This Constitutional Convention idea is closer than you think. If Wisconsin and just a few more states sign on, you’re going to wake up one morning to the news that there’s going to be a Constitutional Convention. And then who knows what’s going to happen and what damage can be done?

The bill again is AJR 21, and here are the Republican Senators that are crucial to contact and to urge to vote no:

  • Sen. Rob Cowles (SD2) -- (800) 334-1465
  • Sen. Dan Feyen (SD18) -- (608) 266-5300
  • Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (SD13) -- (608) 266-5660
  • Sen. Devin LeMahieu (SD9) -- (608) 266-2056 (pronounced Lemma-hue)
  • Sen. Terry Moulton (SD23) -- (608) 266-7511
  • Sen. Luther Olsen (SD14) -- (608) 266-0751
  • Sen. Jerry Petrowski (SD29) -- (608) 266-2502
  • Sen. Roger Roth (SD19) -- (608) 266-0718
  • Sen. Van Wangaard (SD21) -- (608) 266-1832

The Wisconsin Assembly has already passed their bills and now the State Senate needs to block them. Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.

Thanks for picking up your phone! Please report back with feedback from your calls.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Wis Democracy Campaign 'School Voucher $$$'

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 26 July 2017
in Wisconsin

wis-democracy-campaign$8.5 million reasons why State GOP wants to expand school vouchers, financial filings at Walker run Republican Governors Association, and more...


MADISON - While almost all the press coverage on the state budget lately has been about the petty bickering among GOP leaders over transportation, there’s been little attention paid to a relatively united GOP effort to greatly expand school vouchers. We show the money behind this push here.

$8.5M reasons Wisconsin GOP wants to expand school vouchers

In other news, our research staff has been pouring over recent financial filings of special interest electioneering groups. One such group is the Republican Governors Association, now headed by none other than Scott Walker. That may be why some wealthy Wisconsinites decided to fork it over, as we note here:

10 Wisconsin donors give outside electioneering group $1M+

You know why I don’t get depressed by all this big money being tossed around, even when we see it up close and personal every day here?

Because I also see an amazing grassroots movement to do something about this. I bet you didn’t know that Wisconsin is second only to Massachusetts in the number of communities that have voted, by overwhelming margins, that they want to amend the U.S. Constitution to proclaim, once and for all, that corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech. It’s been voted on in in 112 communities, and it's passed every single time!

In Door County alone, seven communities have climbed on board just in the last six months, as you’ll see here:

Door County pushes amendment to overturn Citizens United

This is one of the most under-reported stories in the state. You heard it here first!

I hope you’re having a nice summer.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.S. Please support our urgent work with a tax-deductible gift by clicking here or making and mailing a check to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry

Democracy Campaign 'Back in touch...Fair Maps Town Halls near you'

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 14 July 2017
in Wisconsin

highway-wiSpecial interests and the road funding plan, the Wisconsin Supreme Court copout on conflict-of-interest rules, the influence peddler of the month, and more...


MADISON - Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a bit. Between the long July 4th weekend and my son coming home for my birthday (which was yesterday), I didn’t get around to updating you on what we’ve been posting and on some exciting redistricting reform efforts under way.

So please let me catch you up.

On the budget transportation impasse, we noted the power of the trucking industry and the big business lobby:

GOP leader tells special interests to cough up road funding plan

Then, in a story that we broke here at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, we reported on Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s scorching response to the Court’s written justification for not tightening its conflict-of-interest rules:

Wisconsin Supreme Court buries recusal in “feeble” move

And, as we do every month, we anointed another special interest group with our not-so-highly-coveted Influence Peddler of the Month Award. Here’s who won it this month:

Influence peddler of the month - Wisconsin Hospital Association

On the gerrymandering issue, I have to say it’s really getting hot. About a dozen counties, just this year, have passed resolutions urging the State Legislature to draw district maps in a nonpartisan manner. Contact us if you do not see your county on the list.

And we got a record number of signatures on our petition for fair voting maps when we were tabling at the Farmers’ Market in Madison for a couple hours on July 1. And attendance at #FairMaps events all over the state are high. We encourage you to share and attend an upcoming Fair Maps Town Hall convenient to you. A complete list can be found here.

  • Wednesday, July 12, at 7:00 PM, at the Germantown Library, N112W16957 Mequon Road, Germantown. Paul Geenen, OFA_WI State Lead, is the speaker. Facebook event page here.
  • Sunday, July 16, at at 4:30pm - 6pm, North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood. The Democracy Campaign is a co-sponsor. Share Facebook event page here.
  • Wednesday, July 26, at 6:00 PM, at the Brewer Public Library, 325 N. Central Avenue, Richland Center. Former Senators Dale Schultz and Tim Cullen are the speakers.
  • Thursday, July 27, at 6:30 PM, at the Orbiletti Center Lincoln Park, 6900 18th Avenue, Kenosha. Sachin Chheda, Fair Elections Project, is the speaker. Facebook event page here.

And there is legislation introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Don Vruwink (SB13/AB44) to enact nonpartisan legislative and congressional map-drawing here in Wisconsin. So please call your legislators at 1-800-362-9472 and urge them to pass this bill.

Thanks for your interest and your activism, as always.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.S. If you like what we’re doing, please support our urgent work with a tax-deductible gift to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. It’s simple: Just click here. Thanks!

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Who's Online

We have 64 guests online

Follow on Twitter

Copyright © 2019. Green Bay Progressive. Designed by Shape5.com