The Check Republic

In this update: 1. Recalls drive record legislative fundraising in 2011 2. Disgusting redistricting process takes an unexpected turn 3. Banks in foreclosure settlement make nice with state politicians The Check Republic

Email date: 2/21/12

In this update:
1. Recalls drive record legislative fundraising in 2011
2. Disgusting redistricting process takes an unexpected turn
3. Banks in foreclosure settlement make nice with state politicians

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Recalls drive record legislative fundraising in 2011
The political establishment’s addiction intensifies. A Democracy Campaign analysis of fundraising last year by state legislators and campaign committees run by legislative leaders shows that record amounts of money flowed into campaign coffers, which ordinarily does not happen in an odd-numbered year. But 2011 was no ordinary odd-numbered year. Most such years are not election years and last year obviously was, with candidates and interest groups spending $44 million trying to influence the outcome of nine senate recall elections. A podcast posted this morning offers commentary aimed at putting the numbers into perspective.

As crazy as 2011 was in Wisconsin politics, it will have nothing on 2012. The One Percenters’ money certainly is not going to stop flowing, a point made perfectly clear the other day by one infamous billionaire.

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Disgusting redistricting process takes an unexpected turn
Opening arguments were supposed to begin today in a federal lawsuit challenging the way political boundaries were redrawn by Republicans who currently control the state Legislature. But a three-judge panel handling the case threw a curve ball this morning, suggesting that lawmakers go back to the drawing board.

This is the first clear sign that the judges have major concerns about the constitutionality of the GOP-friendly redistricting maps. The three-judge federal panel had already signaled their contempt for the secretive and politically contrived way the redistricting plans were developed. The judges had choice words for the hostility to the public’s right to know displayed by legislators, ordering them to fork over documents the lawmakers’ lawyers have been working hard to keep under wraps.

While legislators were being coached to ignore public comments on the redistricting scheme and a formal open records request by the Democracy Campaign was being ignored, it has now come to light that the finished maps were not only being shared with legislators who signed legal agreements binding them to secrecy but also were under review by disgraced former Assembly speaker Scott Jensen, who now heads a group that has spent millions getting Republicans elected to the Legislature.

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Banks in foreclosure settlement make nice with state politicians
Governor Scott Walker rubbed salt in the wounds of state residents who lost their homes with his recent move to siphon off some of the money meant to provide relief to bank foreclosure victims in order to help close a state budget deficit. We couldn’t help but notice that four of the five banks involved in the national foreclosure settlement are active campaign donors in Wisconsin. There’s more on that in our latest Big Money Blog.