Can You Hear Over the Static?

In this update: 1. Can Wisconsin voices be heard over the outside static? 2. Milwaukee chamber of commerce breaks law in its zeal to help Walker 3. ALEC comes out of shadows into the light 4. Politicking in the name of charity Can You Hear Over the Static?

Email date: 4/20/12

In this update:
1. Can Wisconsin voices be heard over the outside static?
2. Milwaukee chamber of commerce breaks law in its zeal to help Walker
3. ALEC comes out of shadows into the light
4. Politicking in the name of charity

______________________________________________________________

Can Wisconsin voices be heard over the outside static?
State elections in Wisconsin should be about voters here deciding how they want to be governed. It’s pretty hard for voters to decide their own political fate when there is so much outside interference. In the upcoming recall elections, Wisconsin has become a pawn on a national chessboard. Story after story focuses on how the governor’s jet-setting is yielding record-breaking hauls of campaign money, how outside groups supply most of the money and end up doing most of the talking in recall elections, and what all this is doing to our democracy.

______________________________________________________________

Milwaukee business group runs afoul of law in its zeal to help Walker
In our latest Big Money Blog the Democracy Campaign was the first to report on illegal contributions to the Milwaukee chamber of commerce’s political action committee that were then passed on to Governor Scott Walker’s campaign. The group has been fined and the Walker campaign has returned the money. The Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Channel 6 in Milwaukee and others followed up with stories about the scheme that included reactions from the business group and Walker’s campaign.

______________________________________________________________

ALEC comes out of shadows into the light
The Washington, D.C.-based bill mill and special interest dating service known as the American Legislative Exchange Council operated in virtual anonymity for decades. No more. ALEC is fast becoming a household word around the country and is now facing a furious backlash for its peddling of corporate influence and right-wing policy.

The Democracy Campaign started calling attention to ALEC’s role in Wisconsin in 2007 when ALEC-inspired legislation surfaced to deregulate cable television. We’re still calling out the group. In fact, Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe will be a featured speaker at a forum about ALEC on Sunday in Wausau. The event starts at 2 p.m. in Wausau’s Universalist Unitarian Church at 504 Grant Street.

______________________________________________________________

Politicking in the name of charity
When the Democracy Campaign filed complaints last month with the IRS against three political groups that are masquerading as charities in hopes of prompting federal authorities to crack down on abuse of the nation’s tax laws for political purposes, we shined light on activity here in Wisconsin that is part of a much larger national problem. Our friends at the national Center for Responsive Politics have a feature on their OpenSecrets website devoted to what they call the “Shadow Money Trail.” The latest installment posted yesterday shows how a national group started with the help of Republican operative Karl Rove is gaming the tax code.