Tuesday February 27, 2024

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Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild

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

Wis Democracy Campaign - Vouchers, tax breaks, and my farewell

Posted by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 29 June 2023
in Wisconsin

wdc-logo-2022Our friend Matt Rothschild does his last column of an illustrious career.


MADISON - If you want to know why private schools are getting such an influx of your tax dollars, just follow the money.

6281As Mike Buelow, our research director, reported here, three of the biggest backers of vouchers have spent $67 million in our elections since 2010 to buy the politicians they need:

School Voucher Backers Win Big with Evers, GOP Agreement

The wealthy and the powerful also got their servants in the Republican legislature to give them a big tax break, as I noted here:

GOP Budget Rewards the Rich

6282The flattening of our income tax code and the siphoning off of public money for private schools would appall our progressive forebearers in Wisconsin, who, 100 years ago, fought so hard for progressive taxation and public education.

And they’d also be appalled at all the outside money that’s still contaminating our politics today.

As Fighting Bob La Follette, one of my heroes, once wrote: “Democracy is a life, and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might the encroachments of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated.”

I know you’re a lover of democracy, as I am. And I know there are many people, one or two generations behind me, who are involved – creatively and energetically – in this struggle.

They give me hope.

And you give me hope.

And Law Forward gives me hope.

And Civic Media gives me hope.

And Justice-Elect Protasiewicz gives me hope.

Hope that we can make more real the ideals of representative democracy.

And so it is with optimism and gratitude – to you, to the amazing staff at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, to our board of directors, and to all of our supporters and all of our coalition partners – that I bid you adieu.

I’m retiring at the end of this week.

The search is under way, in earnest, for my successor, and I know there are several excellent candidates in that pool.

I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign will flourish in the years ahead.

And I’ll be cheering it on – and you on -- from the sidelines.

Thank you for reading these emails from me.

Thank you for supporting the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

And most of all, thank you for doing your part in the struggle for our democracy.

Wishing you all the best in the years ahead!


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Matt Rothschild
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Wis Democracy Campaign - Beware! Poison in the Revenue Sharing Bill

Posted by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 02 June 2023
in Wisconsin

wdc-logo-2022Matt finally gets to testify on State's revenue-sharing bill.


MADISON - Last week, I went to a hearing at the State Capitol on the revenue-sharing bill.

I got there a good fifteen minutes before the hearing was to start, and I was one of the first to fill out the form that I wanted to testify about the bill.

The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. By 10:00 a.m., the sponsors of the bill had testified. By 11:00 a.m., a lot of local officials had already testified. By noon, still more. By 1:00 p.m., there were only a few people left to testify. By 1:45 p.m., there was only one person left to testify: Me!

If Committee Chair Dan Knodl thought he could wait me out, he was dead wrong. Here’s the testimony I waited so long to give:

Don’t Abridge Our Right to Petition Our Government!

Speaking of Knodl, we’ve completed our first count of the cost of the special election he won in April when he narrowly defeated Jodi Habush Sinykin. If you want to find out who the big donors in that one were, just click here:

Special Legislative Election Cost Nearly $3M

And here’s a tasty little item! The Milwaukee businessman who’s running the GOP Convention there next summer actually donated the max to Joe Biden last time around:

gop-conv-2024WI GOP Donor Heading 2024 Presidential Convention Also Gave to Biden

I hope you like these offerings, and I hope you have a nice weekend!

 

 


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Don’t Mail Your Absentee Ballot

Posted by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 28 March 2023
in Wisconsin

vote-423MADISON - If you’ve got an absentee ballot, it’s too late to safely put it in the mail.

The best thing to do it is to deliver it to your clerk’s office this week, or certainly by Election Day next Tuesday.

sample-423I just delivered mine today!

And if you’re a voter with a disability, please remember that you have the right to get assistance in the delivery of your absentee ballot.

For everyone voting with an absentee ballot, make sure you sign your name and fill in the date, and make sure that your witness signs the form and fills in their address completely.

vote-early-2023If you’re not voting absentee by mail, you can still vote early (absentee in-person) this week. Check with your local clerk’s office about their hours.

And remember, if you’re not registered to vote, you can still register and vote at your polling place on Election Day, April 4. Bring your driver’s license or passport or other valid government ID, and if you’re registering, bring proof of residence, such as a utility bill.

This is a crucial election so please vote, and bring two friends or family members with you!

Thanks for your civic activism!


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Matt Rothschild
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High Court Spending Continues Record Soar

Posted by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Monday, 20 March 2023
in Wisconsin

money-behind-politicsThe flood of money continues, as outside groups have spent $18.1 million on reported independent expenditures and secret phony issue ads in the Supreme Court race, more than three-and-a-half times the previous record.


MADISON - Two weeks away from the April 4 elections, candidate and group spending in the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court stands at more than $20.2 million – smashing state and national records for spending in a judicial contest.

Outside group spending for Daniel Kelly now exceeds that for Janet Protasiewicz by $4.2 million.

About 30 outside electioneering groups have spent $18.1 million on reported independent expenditures and secret phony issue ads in the race, more than three-and-a-half times the previous record. Groups backing Kelly or opposing Protasiewicz have doled out $9.9 million. Groups backing Protasiewicz or opposing Kelly have spent $5.7 million. (About $2.5 million in group spending was directed at the two candidates who lost in the primary.)

The top-spending groups behind Protasiewicz were:

A Better Wisconsin Together Political Fund, $5 million on television and online ads and mailings;

Wisconsin Conservation Voters, $785,836 on campaign literature and brochures and payroll expenses;

Organizing Empowerment PAC, $532,500 on phone and other voter mobilization activities;

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, $476,755 on radio and digital ads, canvassing, and mailings;

One for All Committee, $450,000 on videos and online advertising.

The top-spending groups behind Kelly were:

Fair Courts America, $4.6 million on television and radio ads and mailings;

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), $3.1 million on broadcast advertising;

American Principles Project PAC, $795,894 on digital ads;

Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, $600,000 on television ads;

Americans for Prosperity, $374,531 on online advertising, mailings, and canvassing.

Both WMC and the Alliance for Reform spent most of their money on television ads. In two instances – here and here – the groups used the same television ads, which accused Protasiewicz of handing down a light sentence for a man convicted of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl.

The most recent reports filed by the candidates showed they spent a total of $2.12 since they entered the race last year, through Feb. 6. Spending was led by Protasiewicz who has doled out $1.37 million, which is nearly six times the $237,719 spent by Kelly.

Whoever wins will determine the ideological balance of the court, which is currently controlled 4-3 by conservatives. Protasiewicz, who is viewed as a liberal, and Kelly, a former conservative Supreme Court justice, are vying to replace a retiring conservative justice.

Protasiewicz and Kelly moved on to the April ballot because they were the top finishers in the Feb. 21 primary, knocking off two other candidates who had spent a combined $507,699 through Feb. 6.

matt-rothschildThe next batch of fundraising and spending reports by the candidates are due March 27 and will likely show that several million dollars more in candidate spending. (Other news outlets, such as WisPolitics, have reported higher figures than the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Our numbers are based only on figures already reported to the state by candidates and independent expenditure groups or that we could estimate from so-called “issue advocacy” groups.)

But spending to date has already surpassed the record $10 million spent in 2020 on a Wisconsin Supreme Court race as well as the national record of $15 million spent on an Illinois judicial race in 2004.

For more information about all of the groups involved in the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court race, please visit the Democracy Campaign’s Hijacking Campaign 2023 feature. For more information about candidate fundraising and spending and their top contributors, please go here.

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Wis Democracy Campaign - Sunshine and Justice!

Posted by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 17 March 2023
in Wisconsin

wdcMADISON - I hope your week is going well. Here are a couple of great articles that my colleague Iuscely Flores has written for us in the past few days.


The first is essentially the text of a brief talk she gave in Milwaukee at a press conference on the need to make legislators retain all of their records:

new-sunshineWisconsin Democracy Campaign Supports New Sunshine Law

And the second is a story she wrote after attending an inspiring event in the Wisconsin Capitol:

econ-justice-wdcState Reps Hong and Shelton Reintroduce Economic Justice Bill of Rights

For my part, I’ve been giving talks to several groups recently about all the money in our Wisconsin Supreme Court race and how we got in this predicament. Here’s one version of it:

Recusal and the Wisconsin Supreme Court

And if you’re free this Saturday, please attend the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival. My colleague Carlene Bechen will be giving a talk during the morning breakout session about fair voting maps as a path toward representative government, how every issue that faces Wisconsin is impacted by the heavily gerrymandered voting district maps, and what we can do to end gerrymandering. The festival starts at 9:00 a.m. and is at Wisconsin Heights High School, 10173 US Highway 14.

Have a nice weekend!


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Matt Rothschild
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