Email date: 10/18/11
In this update:
1. Loophole opens door to unlimited fundraising by recall targets
2. State politicians busy turning watchdog into a lapdog
3. Forum to shine light on corporate-sponsored bill mill
4. Easy ways to help the Democracy Campaign
Loophole opens door to unlimited fundraising by recall targets
Not many have noticed over the years, but a decades-old quirk in state law lifts the usual campaign contribution limits for public officials targeted for removal from office in recall elections. The law will allow Governor Scott Walker and any state senators who are expected to face efforts to recall them to engage in unlimited campaign fundraising during the two-month-long petition drives and the legal wrangling that follows to determine whether enough valid signatures have been gathered to trigger such an election. We pointed this out last week in our latest Big Money Blog, which has become the subject of extensive media coverage.
The loophole was the top story on the front page in the Wisconsin State Journal last Friday and topped the local section in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It also made the local evening news on Green Bay’s WBAY-TV as well as Madison’s WKOW and WISC. The money in recall elections also was the subject of coverage provided to commercial radio stations statewide by Public News Service.
State politicians busy turning watchdog into a lapdog
Unrestrained fundraising is not the only advantage Governor Walker will have in a likely recall election. Thanks to legislative maneuvering by his allies in the assembly and senate, the governor also is being given the ability to shape rules governing how recall elections are conducted to his liking.
Steps taken earlier this year by lawmakers to transform the state Government Accountability Board from an independent watchdog agency into a politically compliant lapdog led the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to editorialize last week in favor of legislation restoring the GAB’s autonomy.
Forum to shine light on corporate-sponsored bill mill
A public forum this Saturday in the Madison area aims to focus attention on the Washington, D.C.-based American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC for short, which authors so many of the most controversial policies being pushed by right-wing governors and legislators in Wisconsin and other states across the country. The Democracy Campaign’s director will be among the speakers.
Easy ways to help the Democracy Campaign
If you shop online, there is a way to do it and support the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign at the same time. GoodShop works with more than 2,500 stores and every time you buy something a percentage of the purchase is donated to the charity of your choice. If you designate the Democracy Campaign, you can shop and GoodShop will donate and we will benefit.
Likewise, you can help WDC every time you search the Internet. GoodSearch is a Yahoo-powered search engine that makes a donation to a charity you choose each time you do a search. You need to download a GoodSearch toolbar which then allows you to raise money for a good cause. You simply select Wisconsin Democracy Campaign from the GoodSearch database and then each search you do generates about 1 cent for us.
Finally, please consider hosting a Defend Democracy “Friendraiser” to introduce people you know to our work. We’re looking for hosts of neighborhood gatherings on the weekend of January 21 marking the two-year anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.