Make Illegal Donations, Get a Budget Favor

In this update: 1. WDC files complaint over excessive donations 2. An extraordinary attack on democracy 3. Scraping bottom without stooping 4. How to get a place at the table 5. Headed in the right direction . . . or not Make Illegal Donations, Get a Budget Favor

Email date: 6/14/11

In this update:
1. WDC files complaint over excessive donations
2. An extraordinary attack on democracy
3. Scraping bottom without stooping
4. How to get a place at the table
5. Headed in the right direction . . . or not

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WDC files complaint over excessive donations
Not only is the Florida owner of a predatory lending firm a campaign finance scofflaw, his company stands accused of shady business practices in Wisconsin. None of this is standing in the way of state budget writers adding a special provision to the budget bill clearing the way for the company to resume operations in the state. The Democracy Campaign filed a complaint today with the state Government Accountability Board after discovering that the auto title loan exec gave more to Wisconsin politicians than state law allows.

Depending on who you believe, the budget that is being acted on this week is either the first truly balanced one in ages, or is the most unbalanced in our lifetime. What’s certain is that it is chock full of special favors for big campaign donors. The one WDC identified today adds to a long list of items, several of which were highlighted in our last E-Lert.

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An extraordinary attack on democracy
Even though the Legislature was already scheduled to be in session this week, its leaders are calling members into “extraordinary session” to act on the state budget bill. This maneuver allows them to limit debate and amendments as well as avoid procedural obstacles to rapid approval of the bill by both houses. Meaning less time for the public to digest and respond to the voluminous bill’s many policy implications, including the dismemberment of the Impartial Justice Act. WDC director Mike McCabe teamed up with the director of the national Justice at Stake Campaign to write a commentary for the Green Bay Press-Gazette on that act of violence against our justice system.

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Scraping bottom without stooping
First it was learned that state Republicans are planning to run fake candidates in Democratic primaries to give GOP senators targeted for recall an extra month to campaign to save their jobs, despite the fact it would be considerably more expensive for taxpayers. Democrats insisted they would never stoop so low, but now are saying they will run “placeholder” candidates within their own party. The effect is the same, namely costly primary elections triggered by candidates who have no intention of seriously campaigning for the office. We agree with the editorial published today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This is just more fakery.

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How to get a place at the table
“Members-only premiums and benefits” await you if you join the Governor’s Roundtable for $2,500 or the Governor’s Club for $1,000. If you have not yet received your invitation, here it is.

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Headed in the right direction . . . or not
By wide margins, Wisconsinites are convinced the state and the nation are headed in the wrong direction. Nine out of every 10 members of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, on the other hand, think things are definitely looking up. Meanwhile, CNN’s latest poll shows two-thirds of Americans believe elections are for sale, and 86% of the public thinks elected officials are mostly influenced by pressure from campaign contributors.