"Lou Grant" Plugs WDC's Worth

In this update: 1. Newspaper hall of famer testifies to WDC’s value 2. Bill introduced to reenact erased disclosure law 3. Money favors Roggensack in Supreme Court race 4. Micro-brewer says if you wanna play, you gotta pay “Lou Grant” Plugs WDC’s Worth

Email date: 3/27/13

In this update:
1. Newspaper hall of famer testifies to WDC’s value
2. Bill introduced to reenact erased disclosure law
3. Money favors Roggensack in Supreme Court race
4. Micro-brewer says if you wanna play, you gotta pay

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Newspaper hall of famer testifies to WDC’s value
For over a decade, actor Ed Asner played Lou Grant, a gruff, blue-collar, no-nonsense newsman. There is no better real-life personification of Lou Grant than Dave Zweifel. Shaped by his upbringing on a farm and active military duty, Zweifel rose through the ranks of the news business the old-fashioned way, paying his dues as a newsroom errand boy and later as a beat reporter before eventually becoming editor in chief of The Capital Times. Nearly a half-century after he started, Zweifel was named to the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame.

He still writes a column for the paper in semi-retirement, and the Democracy Campaign is the subject of his latest commentary appearing in today’s print edition and online.

He starts with this: “Among the politicians, their hangers-on and the special interests who throw money at them, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign doesn’t have many friends. Consequently, few in what we know as the political establishment are shedding tears for the WDC now that it is losing a $232,500 annual grant from the Joyce Foundation of Chicago, roughly half of its annual budget. Many are overjoyed to think that the Democracy Campaign may not now have enough funding to keep a close watch on the contributions that flow so freely – and often clandestinely – into politicians’ campaign slush funds.”

Near the end of his column, Zweifel quotes one of his contemporaries, a former state legislator and state school superintendent: “Three cheers for Mike McCabe and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. His exposure of our state elected officials, the obscene amounts of special-interest money they receive, and the relationship of that money to legislators’ voting records is critical. He exposes our state Capitol for what it has become – a house of legal prostitution.”

Zweifel concludes with this: “That’s why we need to save the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign – more now than ever. You can contribute to WDC at wisdc.org or 210 N. Bassett St., Suite 215, Madison, WI 53703.”

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Bill introduced to reenact erased disclosure law
It’s never easy to win campaign finance reforms. But back in 2006, a bill pushed by the Democracy Campaign requiring out-of-state political committees seeking to influence Wisconsin elections to disclose all their donors was passed by legislators and signed into law by the governor. A year later the law was purged from the state statutes by an administrative officer under peculiar circumstances. Efforts have been made in every legislative session since to reenact the one-time law, to no avail. Another attempt is being made this year.

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Money favors Roggensack in Supreme Court race
An under-the-radar contest for a seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court tops the list of races to be decided in next Tuesday’s election. Incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack enjoys a big financial edge over challenger Ed Fallone. The Democracy Campaign just updated the Campaign 2013 feature on wisdc.org to include the latest campaign fundraising and spending figures.

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Micro-brewer says if you wanna play, you gotta pay
The woman whose New Glarus beer company is famous for such brews as “Spotted Cow” and “Totally Naked” is nothing if not plain spoken. In recent interviews, Deb Carey spoke with her usual candor about campaign contributions and the way the political game is played these days.