Small Dark Cloud, Big Silver Lining

In this update: 1. Supreme Court ruling not that bad, Feingold says 2. Get rid of the money 3. Play the Redistricting Game Small Dark Cloud, Big Silver Lining

Email date: 6/29/07

In this update:
1. Supreme Court ruling not that bad, Feingold says
2. Get rid of the money
3. Play the Redistricting Game

The landmark campaign reform law that bears his name was weakened by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Monday, but Wisconsin’s own Russ Feingold sees more silver lining than dark cloud. The Wisconsin State Journal has a similar take.

It’s true the nation’s high court did not rule McCain-Feingold unconstitutional. It did not even strike down the portion of the law dealing with electioneering communications euphemistically called "issue ads." But it did introduce considerable uncertainty and essentially invite special interests to game the system. How the effects of the Wisconsin Right to Life case ultimately play out depends on how the Federal Election Commission responds to the ruling and how aggressively the FEC enforces the law in the wake of the court’s decision.

Still, we couldn’t help but notice that the court ruled on two speech-related cases on the same day – one involving censorship and the other not – and the Supremes bless the censorship in the first case and "give the benefit to speech, not censorship" in the second. That’s the subject of our latest Big Money Blog. The Capital Times noticed this, too.

Actually, there were three cases involving the First Amendment decided Monday, as the New York Times pointed out. The Times was disappointed all three times.

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After Kenosha businessman and former casino developer Dennis Troha admitted he laundered campaign money, Governor Jim Doyle’s campaign said it has no plans to give back the considerable sum it received from Troha because the charges he is pleading guilty to do not relate to donations he made directly to Doyle.

Come on, governor. Your biggest donor is admitting he laundered campaign money. And he is being convicted of laundering contributions to the state Democratic Party because he believed it would help your campaign. Take the high road. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said in an editorial in today’s paper, "give the money back."

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If you’ve ever wondered why the Democracy Campaign has made reforming state legislative and congressional redistricting a priority, check out the Redistricting Game. Even if you’re fully aware of why redistricting is such a big deal, play the game. It’s good fun and will give even the most seasoned observers new insights into the world of political mapmaking.