Exposing Money's Influence on Wisconsin Politics

In this update: 1. New web tool makes it easier to see money’s impact on politics 2. Impartial Justice Act funding remains on chopping block 3. How judges should be chosen Exposing Money’s Influence on Wisconsin Politics

Email date: 4/26/11

In this update:
1. New web tool makes it easier to see money’s impact on politics
2. Impartial Justice Act funding remains on chopping block
3. How judges should be chosen

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New web tool makes it easier to see money’s impact on politics
Seeing the relationship between campaign donations and votes on key bills by Wisconsin lawmakers just got easier with today’s launching of a new online site enabling citizens to connect the dots between money and public policy decisions. The site is the product of a partnership between the Democracy Campaign and the California-based group MapLight.

To read today’s announcement of the site’s launch, go here. To check out the site, go to maplight.org/wisconsin.

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Impartial Justice Act funding remains on chopping block
Last week the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau issued a list of non-budgetary items in the proposed state budget. These are policy changes that should be debated separately on their own merits. Included on the Fiscal Bureau’s list is the proposed gutting of the Impartial Justice Act establishing public financing of state Supreme Court elections.

Later that same day, the co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee issued their own memo identifying nonfiscal items that should be removed from budget. The change recommended by Governor Scott Walker to the Impartial Justice program was not on their list, so it remains in the budget bill for now at least. Please take a few minutes to contact finance committee members to urge them to reconsider the decision to keep policy changes in the budget bill that would effectively kill Supreme Court public financing.

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How judges should be chosen
The latest Supreme Court election has brought up the question again: Should we elect judges or appoint them? That is the wrong question, and one that leads to a fruitless discussion. Our most recent Big Money Blog offers a suggestion on how we can steer the conversation in a more productive direction.