Budgeting for Two Wisconsins

In this update: 1. Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 1 2. Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 2 3. Who voted against doubling donation limits in the Assembly Budgeting for Two Wisconsins

Email date: 6/24/13

In this update:
1. Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 1
2. Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 2
3. Who voted against doubling donation limits in the Assembly

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Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 1
The latest addition to our Big Money Blog identifies the common thread running through the thousand-page state budget passed last week by the Legislature and deposited on Governor Scott Walker’s desk.

The commentary was republished by The Capital Times over the weekend.

An editorial in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel focuses in on another of the budget’s features and asks: “What is it about the public eye that too many politicians fear?”

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Helping a few at the expense of the many, part 2
A search of the Democracy Campaign’s donor database shows that in 2012 a grand total of 234 donors reached Wisconsin’s $10,000 annual limit on campaign contributions. That was actually twice the number we usually see. In 2011, there were 105 and in 2010 there were 111.

In a state of more than 5 million people, it will be a couple hundred with extremely deep pockets who would benefit from the Assembly-passed elections bill doubling the limits on political donations. Their capacity to influence candidates for state office will increase by 100%. Everyone else’s voice will be diminished.

An editorial published in the Kenosha News last week comes to the same conclusion, arguing that “this ‘reform’ serves a very small universe” of donors and amounts to “another incumbent protection plan.”

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Who voted against doubling donation limits in the Assembly
After the voice vote in the Assembly to pass the elections bill (AB 225) that doubles Wisconsin’s limits on political donations, some members asked to have their votes recorded. Quite a few people have asked us which Assembly members did that. We checked the Assembly Journal that is the official record of the proceedings in the house, and 22 members (14 Democrats and eight Republicans) asked unanimous consent to be recorded as voting “no.” They include: Representatives Joe Sanfelippo (R), Rob Hutton (R), Paul Tittl (R), Amy Sue Vruwink (D), Chris Taylor (D), Sondy Pope (D), Mandela Barnes (D), Eric Genrich (D), Robb Kahl (D), Dianne Hesselbein (D), Dana Wachs (D), Gary Hebl (D), Melissa Sargent (D), Katrina Shankland (D), Andy Jorgensen (D), Duey Stroebel (R), Jim Ott (R), David Craig (R), Jill Billings (D), Janet Bewley (D), Dean Kaufert (R) and Andre Jacque (R).

So the Assembly vote to pass AB 225 was effectively 77-22.

The bill now moves on to the Senate. If you have not already done so, please take the time to let your senator know how you feel about doubling campaign contribution limits as Assembly Bill 225 does.