Rescue High Court, Reform Groups Urge

Memo

April 09, 2008

Logo: League of Women VotersLogo: Common Cause in WisconsinLogo: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

To: All State Senators and Assembly Representatives

From:

Andrea Kaminski, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, (608) 256-0827

Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin , (608) 256-2686

Mike McCabe , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, (608) 255-4260

Re: Pass Special Session Senate Bill 1

The campaigning in this year’s Supreme Court race was not only demeaning and highly damaging to our state’s highest court, but it also was perhaps the starkest illustration yet of what has gone haywire in election campaigns in Wisconsin. Not only was the race outrageously expensive and the advertising misleading and often downright untruthful, but most of the campaigning was done outside of state laws designed to ensure an informed citizenry and protect the integrity of our elections. As a result, a few interest groups got to do almost all of the talking and the public was kept in the dark about who was paying for the lion’s share of the campaign advertising.

It is time to return our elections to the candidates and the voters.

The legislature and governor can do this right now. We call on legislative leaders to reconvene the special session on campaign finance reform and act on Special Session Senate Bill 1.

This bill contains all of the ingredients needed to make sure we don’t again experience what all of Wisconsin had to endure in last week’s Supreme Court election. And it contains all of the ingredients needed to make sure that special interest groups aren't the only ones who are heard and that candidates actually matter in elections. The bill overhauls the way Supreme Court elections are financed, repairs Wisconsin’s broken campaign finance system for other state races, and restores meaning to the disclosure requirements and campaign contribution limits in current state law.

Please pass this bill so that the candidates themselves can get their messages to the voters.