Thankful

In this update: 1. Thank goodness that’s over 2. Public wants campaign finance overhaul 3. Power of redistricting evident in election results 4. Giving thanks Thankful

Email date: 11/20/12

In this update:
1. Thank goodness that’s over
2. Public wants campaign finance overhaul
3. Power of redistricting evident in election results
4. Giving thanks

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Thank goodness that’s over
In this season for giving thanks, we join everyone else in being thankful that the political ads have ceased, at least for the time being. All those negative ads definitely work. They are remarkably effective at making people hate politics and politicians more with each passing election.

While this fall’s elections are now in the rear view mirror, it will be quite some time before the Democracy Campaign is able to put a price tag on all the campaigning in state races. The reason can be summed up in two words: Dark money. Wisconsin’s campaign finance disclosure laws were written in the 20th century and are ill-equipped to reveal how campaign money is flowing in 21st century elections. Tens of millions of dollars spent to influence Wisconsin’s elections slipped below the radar, leaving us with considerable sleuthing to do before we can put together a spending tally. WDC’s director discussed the disclosure problem with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week and taped a video chat on the subject that the newspaper posted on its JSOnline website.

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Public wants campaign finance overhaul
Much is made about how divided Americans supposedly are on so many issues. But Americans are united about at least one thing – the need to rein in the money in elections. A public television report by Bill Moyers focuses on some of the evidence of the public consensus that has emerged over money in politics. A letter the Democracy Campaign mailed to the governor and members of the state senate and assembly at the end of last week cites even more evidence.

A recent story in the state’s largest newspaper provided the umpteenth glimpse into why people have reason to be sick of the political money game. There’s a real eyebrow raiser at the end of the article....

“(Assembly GOP leader Robin) Vos said Georgia officials are simply protecting their interests by giving to Republican politicians in Wisconsin.

‘It’s fair to say that if Democrats had been in control, might they have done things that hurt their (title loan) business? Probably,’ he said during a five-minute interview. ‘It makes sense to buy – you know – to have insurance: Pro-free-market, pro-business Republicans are in office no matter what.’

Campaign donations to Republican lawmakers as insurance against industry regulation?

Politicians are rarely that blunt.

Vos then offered a more nuanced explanation.

‘Obviously, if Democrats were in charge, they would probably try to do things that would hurt their industry,’ he said. ‘So having people that understand your industry and want to help it grow in Wisconsin to provide opportunities for people to work and (allow) individuals to be able to make financial decisions under their own free will, I guess that’s where Republicans are.’

So Wisconsin is open for business.

But only so long as you remember to pay the premium.”

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Power of redistricting evident in election results
Curious thing about the elections in Wisconsin for the U.S. House and the state legislature. Democratic candidates got more votes. But Republicans still won more seats. Actually, ain’t nothing curious about it. This is exactly how the Republicans who controlled last year’s redistricting process planned it.

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Giving thanks
Speaking of giving thanks, all of us here at the Democracy Campaign have a great deal to be thankful for. Friends. Family. Community. And the privilege and blessing of being able to do work every day we think is important and worth doing. We also are lucky and blessed to have so many faithful supporters who enable us to follow our passion and do this labor of love. Thank you.

The whole Democracy Campaign family wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving.