WDC Ranks Legislators on Political Reform

76 Lawmakers Fail to Pass Muster on Cleaning Up Capitol

April 29, 2008

Madison - Well over half of members of the current Wisconsin Legislature are either actively or passively cultivating political corruption and helping special interests control state government by resisting reforms that would put ordinary citizens in the driver’s seat and restore the state’s reputation for clean and open government, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Support for democracy reform among legislators in both houses was measured by analyzing four roll call votes in the Senate and four in the Assembly. Whether legislators sponsored any of six reform proposals also was taken into consideration. Lawmakers were awarded a full point for each reform measure they voted for, and got a half-point for each bill they sponsored. As a result, the point scale goes from zero to a possible high score of seven.

Legislators are ranked by score and divided into four categories:

  • Democracy Defenders – 6 to 7 points (nine legislators). Consistently voted for reform and regularly sponsored and worked for passage of reform initiatives.
  • Public Allies – 4.5 to 5.5 points (45 legislators). Supported most but not all reform proposals.
  • Bystanders – 2.5 to 4 points (22 legislators). Supported some reform measures but did not actively push for changes limiting special interest influence and cleaning up state politics.
  • Public Enemies – 0 to 2 points (54 legislators). Regularly stood with the special interests and worked to defeat reforms that would restore power to the general public.

The roll call votes on an ethics enforcement reform bill (January 2007 Special Session Senate Bill 1) that was enacted into law last year were included in the analysis for both houses. The other three roll call votes in the Senate were on electioneering disclosure (Senate Bill 77), publicly financed state Supreme Court elections (SB 171) and requiring legislators to wait one year after leaving office before becoming a lobbyist (SB 23). In the Assembly, the other roll call votes were on banning campaign fundraising during the state budget process (Assembly Bill 61), publicly financed Supreme Court elections (AB 250) and electioneering disclosure (AB 272).

The reform bills legislators were credited for sponsoring include ethics enforcement reform (SB 2), comprehensive campaign finance reform (SB 12), prohibiting campaign fundraising during state budget deliberations (SB 25/AB 61), electioneering disclosure (SB 77/AB 272/SB 463), publicly financed Supreme Court elections (SB 171/AB 250), and full public financing of all state races (SB 182/AB 355).

Representatives Mark Gundrum of New Berlin and Roger Roth of Appleton were not included in the analysis because their leaves of absence from the Legislature for military service in Iraq occurred during the time votes were taken on most of the reform bills.

Legislators
By CategoryBy ScoreAlphabeticallyHandout

Legislators’ Support for Reform

Democracy Defenders Public Allies Bystanders Public Enemies
BLACK, Spencer
LEHMAN, John
TRAVIS, David
HEBL, Gary
RISSER, Fred
BERCEAU, Terese
ERPENBACH, Jon
HINTZ, Gordon
POCAN, Mark
A77
S21
A81
A46
S26
A76
S27
A54
A78
CARPENTER, Tim
CULLEN, David
GARTHWAITE, Phil
HARSDORF, Sheila
LASSA, Julie
PARISI, Joe
SCHULTZ, Dale
SMITH, Jeff
SULLIVAN, Jim
VAN AKKEREN, Terry
WIRCH, Robert
BENEDICT, Chuck
COWLES, Robert
HANSEN, Dave
HILGENBERG, Steve
HRAYCHUCK, Ann
JORGENSEN, Andy
KREITLOW, Pat
MASON, Cory
MILLER, Mark
MOLEPSKE, Jr., Louis
OLSEN, Luther
POPE-ROBERTS, Sondy
SEIDEL, Donna
SHERIDAN, Mike
SINICKI, Christine
SOLETSKI, James
TURNER, Robert
VINEHOUT, Kathleen
ZEPNICK, Josh
BOYLE, Frank
BRESKE, Roger
COGGS, Spencer
ELLIS, Michael
HIXSON, Kim
JAUCH, Bob
KESSLER, Frederick
KREUSER, James
KRUSICK, Peggy
NELSON, Tom
RICHARDS, Jon
ROBSON, Judith
SHERMAN, Gary
SHILLING, Jennifer
VRUWINK, Amy Sue
S3
A13
A49
S10
S24
A48
S17
A93
S5
A26
S22
A45
S2
S30
A51
A28
A37
S23
A62
S16
A71
S14
A79
A85
A44
A20
A88
A61
S31
A9
A73
S12
S6
S19
A43
S25
A12
A64
A7
A5
A19
S15
A74
A95
A70
COLON, Pedro
DARLING, Alberta
DECKER, Russ
FIELDS, Jason
GRIGSBY, Tamara
GRONEMUS, Barbara
HUBLER, Mary
PLALE, Jeff
STASKUNAS, Tony
STEINBRINK, John
TAYLOR , Lena
TOLES, Barbara
WASSERMAN, Sheldon
WILLIAMS, Annette
YOUNG, Leon
SCHNEIDER, Marlin
KAPANKE, Dan
KAUFERT, Dean
LASEE, Alan
LEIBHAM, Joseph
MUSSER, Terry
ROESSLER, Carol
A8
S8
S29
A11
A18
A91
A75
S7
A15
A65
S4
A17
A22
A10
A16
A72
S32
A55
S1
S9
A92
S18
DAVIS, Brett
GROTHMAN, Glenn
KANAVAS, Ted
KEDZIE, Neal
LAZICH, Mary
ZIEGELBAUER, Bob
ALBERS, Sheryl
BIES, Garey
FITZGERALD, Scott
GOTTLIEB, Mark
HAHN, Eugene
HINES, J.A.
JESKEWITZ, Suzanne
OTT, Alvin
TOWNSEND, John
VAN ROY, Karl
WILLIAMS, Mary
BALLWEG, Joan
FITZGERALD, Jeff
FRISKE, Donald
GUNDERSON, Scott
HONADEL, Mark
HUEBSCH, Michael
KERKMAN, Samantha
KESTELL, Steve
KLEEFISCH, Joel
KRAMER, Bill
LASEE, Frank
LEMAHIEU, Daniel
LOTHIAN, Thomas
MEYER, Dan
MONTGOMERY, Phil
MOULTON, Terry
MURSAU, Jeffrey
MURTHA, John
NASS, Stephen
NERISON, Lee
NEWCOMER, Scott
NYGREN, John
OTT, Jim
OWENS, Carol
PETERSEN, Kevin
PETROWSKI, Jerry
PRIDEMORE, Don
RHOADES, Kitty
STONE, Jeff
STRACHOTA, Pat
SUDER, Scott
TAUCHEN, Gary
VOS, Robin
VUKMIR, Leah
WIECKERT, Steve
WOOD, Jeffrey
ZIPPERER, Rich
A80
S20
S33
S11
S28
A25
A50
A1
S13
A60
A47
A42
A24
A3
A52
A90
A87
A41
A39
A35
A83
A21
A94
A66
A27
A38
A97
A2
A59
A32
A34
A4
A68
A36
A29
A31
A96
A33
A89
A23
A53
A40
A86
A99
A30
A82
A58
A69
A6
A63
A14
A57
A67
A98