What Would You Do With $81 million?

In this update: 1. Better uses for $81 million 2. No rest for the weary What Would You Do With $81 million?

Email date: 7/30/12

In this update:
1. Better uses for $81 million
2. No rest for the weary

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Better uses for $81 million
One look at the report we put out last week showing that candidates, interest groups and political committees spent $81 million on the recall election for governor, and three words immediately come to most minds: What a waste.

It is so easy to think up so many better uses for such huge sums of money. Our latest Big Money Blog barely scratched the surface. But the few suggestions the blog offered struck a chord, earning it republication over the weekend on madison.com.

The Democracy Campaign’s analysis of recall election spending has been the subject of extensive news coverage in recent days. The report was front-page news in the Wisconsin State Journal and the top story in the local section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Wire service accounts found their way into most all the other newspapers in the state, not to mention a good number outside our state’s borders. Both public and commercial radio news networks told statewide audiences about our findings. And the story was on TV from Rhinelander to Green Bay to Milwaukee. National media organizations like Bloomberg News found it newsworthy, too.

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No rest for the weary
With the recall elections finally in the rear view mirror, Wisconsin voters could use a break from election campaigning but aren’t about to get one. The race for U.S. Senate is going full bore, as are some contests for House seats. Campaigns for state legislature are gearing up, and the Democracy Campaign has quickly shifted its focus from the recall elections to this fall’s state legislative races. We just posted updated information on candidate fundraising and spending in those upcoming elections on wisdc.org, and also posted the latest figures for spending by interest group PACs.

All this money will, of course, fund new rounds of stomach-turning ads. While this junk-food diet caused voters to lose their appetite a long time ago, politicians and their special interest backers never seem to lose their desire to serve up more and bigger helpings. Which gives citizens more and bigger reasons to fight to resculpt the political landscape.