Sneak Attack on Corporate Electioneering Disclosure

n this update: 1. Assembly to take up anti-disclosure bill tomorrow 2. A conflicted court 3. No free IDs for voting unless you ask 4. The first problem 5. What’s wrong with America 6. Volunteers needed for Fighting Bob Fest 7. Community Shares helps you to help the Democracy Campaign Sneak Attack on Corporate Electioneering Disclosure

Email date: 9/12/11

In this update:
1. Assembly to take up anti-disclosure bill tomorrow
2. A conflicted court
3. No free IDs for voting unless you ask
4. The first problem
5. What’s wrong with America
6. Volunteers needed for Fighting Bob Fest
7. Community Shares helps you to help the Democracy Campaign

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Assembly to take up anti-disclosure bill tomorrow
Jobs legislation was supposedly going to be at the top of the Legislature’s agenda heading into the fall. But lawmakers are only planning to be in session tomorrow and then not at all the rest of the month, and there are no jobs bill to be found on the docket. One thing that is on the Assembly’s agenda is a bill blocking disclosure rules that were put in place in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC allowing unlimited election spending by corporations and other interest groups. The Legislature not only rolls back the rules that were already approved, but also preemptively prohibits the state Government Accountability Board from approving any similar rules in the future.

The Democracy Campaign called attention to the legislation, introduced as Assembly Bill 196, back in June when it first surfaced.

Please take a minute today to call the Legislative Hotline at 800-362-9472 (or 266-9960 in Madison) to leave a message urging your Assembly representative to oppose AB 196. Or better yet, contact your legislator’s office directly.

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A conflicted court
The Assembly is set to act on anti-disclosure legislation at the same time the state Supreme Court has just started considering a lawsuit aimed at blocking another new campaign finance disclosure rule. As we reported in our last E-Lert, Justice David Prosser bowed out of that case because of a conflict of interest. Deciding not to hear a case – a step called recusal that is required by the state judicial ethics code whenever there is reason to believe a judge may not be able to be impartial – is becoming increasingly commonplace for members of the state’s highest court. In fact, if the physical altercation between Justices David Prosser and Ann Walsh Bradley ends up resulting in judicial misconduct charges, it looks like most if not all of the members of the court would have to recuse, resulting in a dead end for any misconduct proceedings.

The problems on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court have caught the attention of legal observers outside our borders. A national judicial reform advocate recently wrote a commentary on recusal issues for the Chicago Tribune and focused almost exclusively on Wisconsin to make his point.

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No free IDs for voting unless you ask
If it wasn’t clear Wisconsin’s new law requiring a photo ID to vote is really about voter suppression, the state’s don’t-tell-unless-they-ask policy regarding the availability of free IDs leaves little room for doubt. John Nichols has it exactly right in his latest column. The Wisconsin voter ID policy amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax.

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The first problem
“You can’t tackle the jobs problem, the budget problem, the tax problem...without tacking the first problem – money in politics. It is corrupt. It is institutionally corrupt.”

Any idea who said it?

Would you believe a current Republican presidential candidate?

Watch this.

Wisconsin used to be a beacon of clean, open and honest politics. For the better part of a century, Wisconsin managed to build up an impressive immunity to the corrupting effects of money in politics. Our immune system has failed. Look no further than the flood of money from outside our borders that washed over the recent senate recall elections. Clean and open and honest it ain’t.

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What’s wrong with America
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has come out with a new book on how America has fallen behind and gave a brilliant interview to NPR on the subject. About the same time, the Democracy Campaign’s director was wondering out loud what the great Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi would make of America right about now. A few days later, President Obama’s jobs speech got him to thinking about Coca Cola of all things.

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Volunteers needed for Fighting Bob Fest
The Democracy Campaign will be at Fighting Bob Fest this Saturday and we hope to see you there. We’ll have an informational booth and could use some volunteers to staff our table. If you’re able to help, contact our advocacy director Beverly Speer at 608-255-4260 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mike McCabe is scheduled to speak on the main stage at 9:30. Some of Mike’s speeches at past Bob Fests are archived on our website.

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Community Shares helps you help the Democracy Campaign
One of the many ways people can financially support the Democracy Campaign is by giving through Community Shares of Wisconsin. WDC is a member of Community Shares, so if your employer offers a workplace giving program, it is easy for you to give to us this way. If you are a public sector employee, look for us under “Community Shares of Wisconsin” in your campaign booklet. If you are a private sector employee, you may also have a CSW campaign at work. If your employer does not have a workplace giving option, you can suggest joining. And if you recently retired, there are other ways of giving through Community Shares.

When you direct a donation to the Democracy Campaign through Community Shares of Wisconsin, we receive 100% of your gift.

Thanks to all who support us through workplace giving. It’s a big help and we appreciate it.