Lawmakers Working Full Time, But Not For You

In this update: 1. What our "full-time" legislature really does full time 2. Word spreads about "More Money in Politics" bill 3. Senator claims legislative immunity from open records law 4. "Democracy is more verb than noun" Lawmakers Working Full Time, But Not For You

Email date: 9/17/13

In this update:
1. What our “full-time” legislature really does full time
2. Word spreads about “More Money in Politics” bill
3. Senator claims legislative immunity from open records law
4. “Democracy is more verb than noun”

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What our “full-time” legislature really does full time
In the political fundraising game, there used to be an offseason. No more.

The Democracy Campaign’s recent analysis of campaign contributions from the check-bundling operations known as “conduits” that are run by special interest groups showed more than a 300% increase in such donations over the last two decades, a finding that got statewide media coverage.

Our latest blog post follows up on last week’s report and zeroes in on “off-year” conduit contributions; in other words, the money going to state politicians from these special interest committees in odd-numbered years that typically are free of elections. The increase over the 20-year period was a whopping 728%.

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Word spreads about “More Money in Politics” bill
A guest column by the Democracy Campaign’s director and a member of our board of directors appears in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, making the case against proposed legislation that would double Wisconsin’s campaign contribution limits. The commentary was previously published by the La Crosse Tribune, Chippewa Herald and The Capital Times.

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Senator claims legislative immunity from open records law
A Milwaukee-area state senator is asserting in court that she is above the law. Specifically, Wauwatosa Republican Leah Vukmir is claiming that she cannot be required to comply with Wisconsin’s longstanding open records law while she is in office. In an editorial published today, the state’s largest newspaper took a dim view of Vukmir’s legal maneuver. Let’s hope judges do the same. If the courts buy this ruse, the public’s right to know what legislators are up to will be mortally wounded.

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“Democracy is more verb than noun”
If you weren’t able to attend the 12th annual Fighting Bob Fest and missed Mike McCabe’s speech on the main stage, you can still watch it on YouTube. Mike said a lot in just over 15 minutes, but the theme woven throughout his remarks was basic yet profound: Democracy is not something we have, it’s something we do.

Speaking of Mike, he will be honored for his leadership by Community Shares of Wisconsin at an award ceremony on October 1.