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.
- 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.
|Democracy Defenders||Public Allies||Bystanders||Public Enemies|
VAN AKKEREN, Terry
MOLEPSKE, Jr., Louis
VRUWINK, Amy Sue
TAYLOR , Lena
VAN ROY, Karl