Outside Interference

In this update: 1. Smear groups aiming to influence recalls rely on out-of-state money 2. Flattering Grover Norquist 3. Secrecy here, secrecy there 4. A better way Outside Interference

Email date: 2/10/12

In this update:
1. Smear groups aiming to influence recalls rely on out-of-state money
2. Flattering Grover Norquist
3. Secrecy here, secrecy there
4. A better way

______________________________________________________________

Smear groups aiming to influence recalls rely on out-of-state money
Six out of every seven traceable dollars contributed to interest groups that sought to influence senate recall elections came from outside Wisconsin. That striking level of outside interference is just one of the takeaways from a new report the Democracy Campaign issued this morning providing a glimpse into sources of money used by seven electioneering groups that spent heavily in this summer’s races. A podcast posted on our website provides additional commentary on our findings.

WDC’s analysis also looks at fundraising by two national organizations that likely will play big roles in the upcoming election for governor. In this morning’s news was another sign that the influence of outsiders will loom large in the next round of recall elections. A national group founded by billionaires Charles and David Koch just dumped nearly three quarters of a million dollars into a TV ad blitz supporting Governor Scott Walker.

Out-of-state donors also are giving directly to the governor, as noted in a blog posted on WisconsinWatch.org. One of those donors, Texas businessman Bob Perry, has given Walker $500,000. When asked why, Perry replied through a spokesman: “We’ll let the donations speak for themselves.”

In this age when money is speech, those donations don’t speak, they shout.

______________________________________________________________

Flattering Grover Norquist
If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Democratic establishment figures must be quite fond of Grover Norquist. After all, their latest move takes a page right out of the anti-tax zealot’s playbook. Read more in our latest Big Money Blog.

______________________________________________________________

Secrecy here, secrecy there
The Democracy Campaign’s director testified at an Assembly committee hearing this week against legislation that would keep corporate election spending a secret. Then WDC followed up yesterday with a memo to committee members responding to some of the other testimony that was given. The legislation appeared to be on a fast track to passage, with a hearing also scheduled for yesterday in a Senate committee. But the train stopped, at least for the moment, as the bill was removed from the hearing agenda.

Secrecy remained on prominent display, however, with the revelation that Republican legislators signed legal agreements amounting to oaths of silence on the GOP-friendly redistricting plans that were surreptitiously crafted and then quickly enacted. As the Wisconsin State Journal pointed out in a recent editorial, this disgusting show of contempt for open government and the public’s right to know is one more reason why redistricting should be taken out of the hands of the politicians and handled by an independent commission or nonpartisan agency. Assembly Bill 198, which has the support of the Democracy Campaign, would do just that. This legislation was introduced last July and still has not been given a public hearing.

______________________________________________________________

A better way
With Wisconsin politics drowning in cash, former longtime radio journalist Steve Busalacchi recently journeyed to Maine in search of alternatives. He found one.