Records Galore Broken in '08 Elections

In this update: 1. Record $20 million spent in 2008 legislative races 2. Tell them to leave the Government Accountability Board alone Records Galore Broken in '08 Elections 

Email date: 6/22/09

In this update:
1. Record $20 million spent in 2008 legislative races
2. Tell them to leave the Government Accountability Board alone

If nothing else, last year’s state legislative elections provided further proof that political campaigning is recession-proof. A report issued today by the Democracy Campaign shows that records were broken all over the place. Most ever spent by state legislative candidates. Most spent by special interest groups trying to influence the outcome of legislative races. Most raised in an election year by leadership PACs. Most spent by leadership PACs. Most spent by an individual state Senate candidate. Most spent by an Assembly candidate. Most expensive Assembly race in state history. And most overall spending in Wisconsin legislative elections.

What makes the fundraising and spending totals for 2008 even more notable is what is missing. Not included in WDC’s tally is information from 18 campaign finance reports that were supposed to be available for public review February 2 and in some cases as far back as last fall. The reports are still unavailable despite repeated attempts to obtain them and a first-ever formal open records request for such records. In every past year, the Democracy Campaign was able to get all campaign finance reports and issue final tallies of election fundraising and spending by the end of February.

You can listen to a podcast about today’s report here.

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In an editorial published over the weekend, the Wisconsin State Journal listed six things that should be fixed before the Legislature sends a finished state budget to the governor. First on the newspaper’s list is removal of language inserted by the Senate that would undermine the independence of the Government Accountability Board and hamstring investigations by the agency into suspected political corruption or ethical lapses by public officials.

If you have not already contacted your legislators to protest this sneak attack on independent ethics enforcement in Wisconsin, please take a minute to call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472 (266-9960 in Madison) to leave a message telling them to leave the Government Accountability Board alone.