Recalls Make Case for Reform

In this update: 1. Need for reform never clearer 2. Prosser surrounded by ethical controversy again 3. Tighten your belts everyone, except you campaign donors 4. The joke’s on them 5. National journal singles out WDC for watchdog work Recalls Make Case for Reform

Email date: 8/23/11

In this update:
1. Need for reform never clearer
2. Prosser surrounded by ethical controversy again
3. Tighten your belts everyone, except you campaign donors
4. The joke’s on them
5. National journal singles out WDC for watchdog work

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Need for reform never clearer
One thing that this summer’s recall elections made clear, as the Green Bay Press-Gazette put it in an editorial this weekend, is that Wisconsin’s campaign financing system lets special interests buy elections.

Read this, this, this and this and it’s hard to argue with that conclusion.

Rather than address the growing special interest influence that comes with such campaign spending frenzies, one prominent Wisconsin lawmaker wants to do away with recall elections instead. The daily newspaper in that legislator’s backyard wants none of it, arguing that his proposal would make the world more safe for politicians but not for democracy.

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Prosser surrounded by ethical controversy again
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser’s behavior is putting him on thin ice again. Ethically speaking, that is. Prosser has a clear conflict of interest in an upcoming case involving campaign finance disclosure rules and has no business participating in it, but he has so far declined to recuse himself.

Our latest Big Money Blog points out that the state judicial ethics code leaves Prosser no wiggle room. He is obligated to step aside in this case, and national legal ethics experts agree. Yet Prosser keeps wiggling.

Take a few minutes to contact the state Supreme Court to add your voice to ours that Justice Prosser has no choice but to recuse himself from the upcoming campaign finance case. And contact the state Government Accountability Board, whose disclosure rules are being challenged, to urge the board to insist on Prosser’s recusal.

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Tighten your belts everyone, except you campaign donors
To justify extreme austerity measures not to mention the elimination of worker rights, Governor Scott Walker and his legislative allies repeatedly told the people of Wisconsin the state is broke. It’s funny how there always seems to be some money to be found when a big campaign donor needs a favor.

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The joke’s on them
As David Carr of the New York Times wrote recently in a profile of comedian Stephen Colbert’s recently formed Super PAC: “Maybe the whole system has become such a joke that only jokes will serve as a corrective.”

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National journal singles out WDC for watchdog work
The Nonprofit Quarterly recently highlighted six groups from across the nation that are serving as effective watchdogs on government. The Democracy Campaign is one of them.