Why Politicians Fear Donors More Than Voters

In this update: 1. State legislative campaigns fueled by outside money 2. Ideas for breaking budget logjam abound, but stalemate continues 3. AT&T calling 4. Fines for fake news keep coming Why Politicians Fear Donors More Than Voters

Email date: 10/10/07

In this update:
1. State legislative campaigns fueled by outside money
2. Ideas for breaking budget logjam abound, but stalemate continues
3. AT&T calling
4. Fines for fake news keep coming

Casual observation and common sense are enough to see clearly that politicians fear their big campaign donors more than they fear voters. A study released today by the Democracy Campaign helps explain why, putting hard numbers behind what gut instinct tells you. It shows Wisconsin legislators get 70% of their large individual campaign contributions from people who can’t vote for them.

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If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then Wisconsin Republicans must be from Mercury and state Democrats are from Uranus. It’s hard to figure why they are so polarized. After all, they have much in common. They share the same owners. They both comfortably operate in a diseased political culture. You’d think they’d be able to talk to each other.

The governor obviously has come to the conclusion that budget negotiators in the Legislature will never come to an agreement, and he now is putting forward a revised budget plan and says he will call the Legislature into special session to act on it. Maybe this will break the budget logjam. And maybe it won’t.

Ideas for fixing the broken budget process are not in short supply. A recent Wisconsin Radio Network story focused on how best to do it, as did a Milwaukee Public Radio interview with the Democracy Campaign’s director. Wisconsin State Journal columnist Susan Lampert Smith got a little more creative.

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If there’s ever an end to the state budget process, the Legislature will move on to other business. AT&T and others in the telecommunications industry are ready. How ready? The latest newsletter of the Alliance of Cities counts the ways.

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Our friends at the Center for Media and Democracy have been quietly winning a most important battle . . .  the fight against fake news. CMD recently won another round. Not many noticed. But we sure did.

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If you haven’t checked out our Big Money Blog lately, recent topics include a new threat to open government, a union-management marriage on cable TV, and a governor returning tainted campaign donations. No, not that governor.