Time to Take Down the White Flag

In this update: 1. It’s time for GAB to reconsider surrender on election ad disclosure 2. Redistricting reform legislation introduced Time to Take Down the White Flag

Email date: 5/10/13

In this update:
1. It’s time for GAB to reconsider surrender on election ad disclosure
2. Redistricting reform legislation introduced

______________________________________________________________

It’s time for GAB to reconsider surrender on election ad disclosure
The complaint the Democracy Campaign filed Tuesday against a group pushing school privatization got the attention of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s watchdog columnist as well as other journalists like The Progressive magazine’s political editor. Now what remains to be seen is whether it will prompt action by state election authorities.

Targeted in the complaint is the American Federation for Children, a national organization advocating expansion of private school voucher programs whose Wisconsin operations are spearheaded by former state Assembly speaker Scott Jensen. The group boasted to its members and funders about spending nearly $2.4 million last year to influence Wisconsin elections but reported less than $345,000 in election spending to the state.

The Democracy Campaign’s director posted two commentaries on the subject on our Big Money Blog in the last few days. The first one points out that the loophole Jensen’s group exploited to keep more than $2 million in election spending a secret was actually closed by the state Government Accountability Board three years ago, but the new disclosure rules that board members unanimously approved back in 2010 have not been enforced. The second describes how the GAB was bullied into submission by lawsuit-happy interest groups and calls on the agency to start enforcing their own rules. Better late than never.

TAKE ACTION: If you agree, contact Government Accountability Board members and tell them to reconsider their surrender and start enforcing their own disclosure rules so that groups like the American Federation for Children are required to come clean and reveal the full extent of their efforts to influence Wisconsin elections.

For more on the big money behind the push for more taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, check out the story in the Madison weekly Isthmus that mentions the Democracy Campaign’s recent report on campaign contributions from pro-voucher interests.

______________________________________________________________

Redistricting reform legislation introduced
WDC-backed legislation aiming to reform the process of redrawing legislative district boundaries has been introduced in both houses of the Legislature as Senate Bill 163 and Assembly Bill 185. Now that the legislation has been proposed, the next step is getting public hearings on the bills. The senate bill has been referred to the Senate Elections and Urban Affairs Committee, and its companion bill in the lower house has been sent to the Assembly Government Operations and State Licensing Committee.

TAKE ACTION: Follow the link to the senate committee and contact the members to urge them to hold a public hearing on SB 163 and also contact the members of the assembly committee to urge them to hold a hearing on AB 185.