Email date: 4/28/10
In this update:
1. WDC flags 11 who gave more to campaigns than state law allows
2. “Full-time” work to die for
WDC flags 11 who gave more to campaigns than state law allows
The Democracy Campaign today issued a report identifying 11 contributors to candidates for statewide office and the legislature who exceeded the annual limit on donations in 2009. Audio commentary on our findings is available here.
Included among the 11 are four repeat offenders. Three of the four received no penalty from the former state Elections Board. The fourth, who could have been fined more than $22,000, was required to pay a forfeiture of only $834.
Enforcement has been significantly stepped up by the Government Accountability Board that replaced the Elections Board as part of a 2007 ethics reform law the Democracy Campaign had sought for years. When WDC flagged donors who exceeded the limit in 2008, the GAB assessed some hefty fines.
‘Full-time’ work to die for
Wisconsin is one of 10 states that is considered to have a “full-time” legislature and state lawmakers here are among the best paid in the nation. But as the Sheboygan Press pointed out in a recent editorial, the full state Senate convened in session on 17 days in 2009 and 14 days in 2010 before adjourning its 2009-2010 session last week. The full Assembly was “in session” only slightly more regularly, convening for 23 days in 2009 and 13 in 2010. That included two all-nighters members of the lower house pulled in a mad rush to complete its work for the year.
The work habits of Wisconsin lawmakers beg some obvious questions. If Wisconsin’s legislature is “full time,” just how infrequently are part-time legislatures in other states in session? And instead of working into the wee hours of the morning when most everyone in the state is asleep and virtually no one is watching, couldn't they just schedule a few more work days during the year?