Email date: 3/17/11
In this update:
1. Business giving to state politicians dwarfs labor’s
2. Boycotts of big campaign donors gaining steam
3. Budget fallout casts massive cloud
4. A future phase of the power grab
5. Wisconsin gets low marks for government spending transparency
Business giving to state politicians dwarfs labor’s
Common misconceptions about who makes the most campaign contributions are on prominent display in the seething controversy over recently-enacted legislation stripping public workers of their collective bargaining rights, namely that business and labor pump roughly equal amounts of money into the political process and that Democrats get most of their financial support from unions.
A Democracy Campaign report issued this morning shows that on average business interests give $12 for every $1 donated by labor unions. The business-to-labor ratio is $104 to $1 for Republicans and $6 to $1 for Democrats. For audio commentary on our findings, go here.
Boycotts of big campaign donors gaining steam
Citizen boycotts of businesses whose top executives are major donors to Governor Scott Walker and his political allies continue to mushroom. This rapidly growing movement is the subject of recent media coverage by local CBS and ABC television affiliates, Huffington Post and The Progressive magazine.
An array of websites, Facebook pages and other efforts are directing people to the Democracy Campaign’s website for listings of donors. There have been more than 5 million hits to wisdc.org in the last month as a result.
Budget fallout casts massive cloud
Of the many paths that could have been taken to deal with the state’s budget problems, those in charge at the Capitol chose the most extreme and divisive one. That will have incredibly far reaching and long lasting effects, as Steve Contorno of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported. In the more immediate future, it changes the complexion of the upcoming April 5 state Supreme Court election. The Wisconsin Reporter focused its recent reporting on another proposed change that, if approved, would further alter Supreme Court politics. The Democracy Campaign has strongly condemned the proposed elimination of a key funding source for the Impartial Justice Act and calls on citizens to urge lawmakers to reject this proposal.
A future phase of the power grab
It has become plainly apparent that recent actions by lawmakers at the Capitol have more to do with politics and power than solving budget problems. Another power grab will begin to play out later this year. That’s when the Legislature begins the once-a-decade task of redrawing legislative district boundaries. The Democracy Campaign and other democracy reform groups throughout the Midwest joined together this week to announce plans to pull back the curtain on redistricting work throughout the region.
Wisconsin gets low marks for government spending transparency
A report issued this week shows there’s a great deal of room for improvement in Wisconsin when it comes to giving the public the ability to see how state government spends money. Wisconsin gets a D+ in this national assessment. Ben Jones of the Appleton Post-Crescent reported this week on one reason the state gets such a poor grade.