Email date: 12/19/12
In this update:
1. The Citizens United effect
2. Legislating under the influence
3. Claim of pro-Democrat bias on GAB rings hollow
The Citizens United effect
As the Democracy Campaign's director told the state's version of C-SPAN in an interview this week, spending on state and federal election campaigns in Wisconsin tripled in the two election cycles since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case that unleashed unlimited interest group spending on elections.
Spending after the ruling from 2010 to 2012 is already more than $376 million, and the Democracy Campaign tally does not yet include spending on state election campaigns in the final weeks before the November elections because that activity won't be reported until late January. Before the court's decision, just under $123 million was spent on state and federal elections from 2006 to 2008.
Fifteen recall elections in 2011 and 2012 certainly factored heavily into the sharp increase in spending. But even if you remove the more than $137 million spent on the recalls from the overall tally, spending still doubled.
Legislating under the influence
In the political arena, the response to mass violence of the sort just seen in Connecticut is all too predictable. First there is a rash of official pronouncements of shock and horror. Next a great deal of very conspicuous prayer for the victims. Then earnest promises of action or at least debate. And then absolutely nothing is done about the root causes.
Each time there is mass killing and this same sequence of political events is repeated, it is hard to overlook all the money the gun lobby showers on politicians here in Wisconsin as well as members of Congress from across the country. It's also hard not to notice the role played by the corporate-funded, right-wing bill mill that writes pro-gun legislation that has been passed in states throughout the nation.
Claim of pro-Democrat bias on GAB rings hollow
The Senate Republican leader says the state agency responsible for carrying out elections and enforcing campaign finance, ethics and lobbying laws is biased in favor of Democrats. He wants to replace the agency's board of retired judges with one made up of political appointees. Funny, but half of the six current board members held office as Republicans before going on to become judges. Two others never held a partisan office. One previously served as a Democrat. Still too much of a pro-Democrat lean for today's GOP braintrust.
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