Fee Speech in State Elections

In this update: 1. Report on money in state campaigns shows old trend with a new twist 2. Are hard times coming for fat cats? 3. Delay in deciding national case puts Wisconsin disclosure rule on hold 4. Democracy Campaign starts tweeting Fee Speech in State Elections 

Email date: 7/9/09

In this update:
1. Report on money in state campaigns shows old trend with a new twist
2. Are hard times coming for fat cats?
3. Delay in deciding national case puts Wisconsin disclosure rule on hold
4. Democracy Campaign starts tweeting

A new report issued today by the Democracy Campaign shows that money remains the single best predictor of the outcome of state elections. Legislative candidates who raised and spent the most in 2008 almost always won. What’s more, we found that even in a half dozen instances that appeared to be exceptions to the rule, outside interest groups more than made up the difference for lower-spending candidates.

All in all, today’s report provides further illustration of the extent to which the "r" has been removed from "free speech" in state politics.

For audio commentary on our findings, check out our podcast.

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Will the sour economy lead to an eventual drop in political fundraising and spending in Wisconsin? Some think so. Our answer to the question can be found in the latest Big Money Blog posted this morning.

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The state Government Accountability Board’s plans to put in place new rules strongly backed by the Democracy Campaign closing the "issue ad" loophole that special interest groups use to skirt disclosure requirements and campaign contribution limitations in order to secretly pour huge sums of money into state elections have been temporarily put on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to rule last month on a case involving a movie about Hillary Clinton, but delayed deciding the case until at least September. The board is signaling it is now inclined to wait for the high court’s decision before finalizing the rules it approved in November and then sent along to the Legislature in March.

For more on what is at stake in this case and to get a sense of how some court watchers are reading the tea leaves, go here and here.

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For those who are into social networking and actually know what a "tweet" is, you can now follow the Democracy Campaign on Twitter. We also are on Facebook.