The Cost of Ugly

In this update: 1. The cost of ugly governor’s race: $32 million 2. Bills offered to block "revolving door" The Cost of Ugly

Email date: 2/6/07

In this update:
1. The cost of ugly governor’s race: $32 million
2. Bills offered to block "revolving door"

A record $32.3 million was spent electing a governor in Wisconsin in 2006, a Democracy Campaign analysis issued today shows. That’s nearly 40% more than the $23.5 million spent in 2002 and almost four times more than the $8.6 million spent in 1998.

The spending frenzy fueled one of the nastiest election campaigns Wisconsin has seen and further illustrated how degraded and ineffective Wisconsin’s campaign finance disclosure laws and contribution limits have become. Hidden special interest spending on electioneering more than tripled over the undisclosed spending interest groups did in the previous governor’s race in 2002.

The unchecked campaign arms race and the extent to which the public is being kept in the dark about who is trying to influence the outcome of state elections powerfully illustrate the need for action on campaign finance reform.

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Along with campaign finance reform, a key item on the reform agenda of good government groups is lobbying reform. In particular, reform advocates like the Democracy Campaign point to the need to deal with the "revolving door" between government and special interests. Two bills addressing this problem are being introduced in the Legislature, it was announced today.