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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

Blog entries categorized under Wisconsin

Take Action: Block Senate Bill 295

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, 08 February 2016
in Wisconsin

gotv-volunteersMADISON - The Wisconsin State Senate may vote as early as tomorrow, February 9th, on a bill that would end a time-honored tradition in Wisconsin: the voter registration drive.

Last week, the State Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government approved Senate Bill 295 on a party-line, 3-2, vote. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign opposes this bill and urges you – and all your friends – to contact their state senators and tell them to vote against the bill.

The bill would do two good things: It would allow some voters to register on line, and it would allow Veteran Health ID Cards to be valid for voting.

But at the same time, it would make it impossible to conduct voter registration drives. It would do this in two ways.

First, it would forbid the use of special registration deputies. These are people who have assisted municipal clerks in registering voters out in the community. For more than four decades, such deputies have done a phenomenal job in reaching out to our neighbors and signing people up to vote. This is the heart and soul of the work of such valiant groups as the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Second, it would even forbid municipal clerks from conducting voter registration drives. This year, the clerks in Madison and Milwaukee have been conducting these registration drives in public libraries all over their cities.

This bill would depress voter turnout by design, and that’s outrageous.

So please contact your state senator today and urge your senator to vote no on SB 295.

If you don’t know your legislator’s name or email address, just go to legis.wisconsin.gov and type in your address in the box in the top right corner.

Thanks for your activism!

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Watch Those “Issue” ads!

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, 07 February 2016
in Wisconsin

rebecca-bradleyRebecca Bradley is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and she's using video from the Bradley Foundation backed Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives, in her campaign. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin.


MADISON - You can tell election season is open in Wisconsin now because your TV screens and your mailboxes are starting to fill up with bogus “issue” ads.

The first group out of the gate is the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives. They’ve put together an ad that praises Rebecca Bradley, who is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And they’ve even used video from Bradley’s campaign itself. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin, by the way.

Group’s “issue ad” cribs from Supreme Court candidate’s campaign

And we just got a call today from one of our members who got a mailing from this same group that cast aspersions on Iowa County DA Larry Nelson, who is running for circuit court judge.

If you see an “issue” ad from any group, please contact us.

The best way to do so is to go to our Hijack Hotline on our website.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the online reporting form or would rather discuss the details directly: (608) 255-4260.

Speaking of Larry Nelson, he’s one of the three district attorneys who recently joined the John Doe II case and is trying to appeal the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling in the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Now those who were being investigated by the John Doe are trying to block any such appeal, as we wrote here:

John Doe opponents try to block path to U.S. Supreme Court

One other issue we’re following closely is the outrageous effort to loosen the restrictions on high-capacity wells that factory farms use. The latest twist is that Speaker Robin Vos has urged AG Brad Schimel to intervene and overrule the DNR on this one. Turns out Schimel has gotten money from some of the biggest factory farm owners, as we show here:

Schimel to rule on wells after getting contributions from factory farms

You never know what they’ll come up with next! But you can count on us to expose it.

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Privatizing Water!

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, 29 January 2016
in Wisconsin

clean-drinking-waterMADISON - This week we revealed that there is one company behind the Republican bills to make it easier to sell off municipal water utilities. Find out who that company is, and how much it spent on lobbying last year, by reading this article:

Bills would make it easier to privatize public water utilities

And guess whose fingerprints are all over these bills? None other than ALEC, as we show here:

ALEC’s fingerprints on bills to privatize public water supplies

The NRA is also throwing its weight around in the legislature. It’s behind two bills, including concealed carry for switchblades and other blades:

NRA-backed weapons bills head to Walker

As you can see, there have been a lot of retrograde bills coming down the pike lately. I had fun testifying at the Capitol on Tuesday against a bill that would restrict local governments from issuing their own ID cards to residents. Here’s my testimony:

WDC opposes Senate Bill 533 regulating photo ID cards issued by local units of government

And here’s a bill we support, as it would safeguard public records in Wisconsin:

Democratic bill would create fine for destroying certain public records

As the legislature hurries to finish up its work in the next month or so, we’ll keep an eye out on the bills – and the money behind the bills.

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Koch Brothers, WMC Back Bill Gutting Civil Service

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, 22 January 2016
in Wisconsin

conference-roomMADISON - The state Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill on Wednesday that changes the longtime hiring process for 30,000 public sector jobs. The measure was backed by powerful business and conservative ideological groups that have spent millions of dollars since 2011 to help Republican lawmakers, who control the legislature, and GOP Gov. Scott Walker keep their jobs.

The measure, Assembly Bill 373, overhauls the state’s 110-year-old civil service hiring process by eliminating the requirement that job applicants take exams; shortening the process used by employees to appeal their discipline or dismissal by more than half; and prohibiting senior employees from avoiding termination by bumping less-senior workers from their jobs.

AB373, which was approved on a party line 19 to 14 vote in the Senate, was passed in October by the Assembly, and now goes to Walker, who supports it, for his signature.

Backers of the bill say the civil service process needed to be changed because it takes too long to hire and fire people. Opponents of the measure say the changes will hurt the quality of the state’s workforce by bringing political patronage and corruption back into the hiring of public employees.

The special interests behind the bill are generous backers of Republican legislators and Walker.

AB373 is backed by the state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce(WMC), and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative ideological group created and funded bybillionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

WMC boasts a membership of 3,500 businesses that represent more than a dozen special interests groups, like business, manufacturing, construction, energy, transportation, and health care. The special interests represented by WMC contributed $11.2 million to current Republican legislators and another $31.8 million to Walker between January 2011 and June 2015.

In addition to direct contributions, WMC and Americans for Prosperity, which does not directly contribute to candidates, are among the top special interest sponsors of outside electioneering activities. Together, the two groups spent an estimated $22.4 million between January 2010 and December 2015 to support Republicans or smear Democratic candidates for statewide offices and the legislature.

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Appeal the John Doe Decision!

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, 03 December 2015
in Wisconsin

walkerMADISON - Yesterday, as you may have seen, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court came down with another terrible decision on the John Doe II investigation and essentially fired Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz on the spot.

I wrote about Justice Shirley Abrahamson’s superb and scathing dissent, which you can read here:

Justice Abrahamson slams the canning of the John Doe prosecutor

We then posted the reaction of Prosecutor Schmitz, which is amazing. He says the rightwing groups he had to contend with in this case were trickier than the “violent criminals and terrorists” he used to have to deal with:

Read the defiant statement of the John Doe II prosecutor

We also sent out a letter to five district attorneys in Wisconsin, urging them to take up this battle and appeal the decision of the State Supreme Court straight up to the U.S. Supreme Court:

Open letter requesting DA intervention in John Doe II case

Now it’s your turn: If you’re in any of the five counties — Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Iowa, or Milwaukee — please call or send an email to your district attorney. Their contact information is at the top of the open letter.

The two likeliest DAs to take this up are John Chisholm of Milwaukee County and Ismael Ozanne of Dane County. So if you live there, be sure to contact them. Here’s their info:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone (608) 266-4211

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone (414) 278-4646

We can’t let this horrendous State Supreme Court decision stand.

It would impair our ability to impose sensible limits on campaign spending in the future.

If you believe in fighting for democracy, as I know you do, please contact these DAs today.

Thanks for your activism.

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