Spooky Doings at the Capitol

In this update: 1. Legislators mulling trick for public, treat for political donors 2. The truth about "public hearings" 3. Support Community Shares of Wisconsin Spooky Doings at the Capitol

Email date: 10/31/13

In this update:
1. Legislators mulling trick for public, treat for political donors
2. The truth about “public hearings”
3. Support Community Shares of Wisconsin

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Legislators mulling trick for public, treat for political donors
Despite receiving 800 emails from citizens opposing legislation that would severely limit campaign finance transparency and hearing from everyone who testified at Tuesday’s hearing except the bill’s authors that the bill is a bad idea, most of the members of the Assembly Campaigns and Elections Committee sounded convinced the bill deserves their support.

Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe was among those who gave testimony to the committee. Wisconsin Public Radio was there covering the hearing. So was the state’s public affairs television network, WisconsinEye, which taped the hearing in its entirety. You can watch the proceedings online, with the hearing on the anti-disclosure Assembly Bill 378 starting at about the 33-minute mark of the video. Mike’s testimony for the Democracy Campaign begins just before the 1 hour 44 minute mark.

Mike posted a commentary this morning on our blog with some additional reflections on this proposed assault on the public’s right to know and those who are pushing it. A conservative blogger also weighed in against the legislation in a column being distributed to newspapers throughout the state.

Your voice needs to be heard as well. The bill’s lead sponsor in the Assembly, Fond du Lac Republican Jeremy Thiesfeldt, dismissed the 800 emails he had received, claiming that they were letters generated by interest groups and did not represent the views of the emailers themselves. This attitude toward electronically submitted citizen input is common among legislators, and is one of the reasons why the Democracy Campaign does not use a web-based system for generating comments to lawmakers. We ask those who share our concerns to take the few additional minutes required to make calls or send messages of their own. Judging from the remarks made by committee members at Tuesday’s hearing, they could use some heartfelt feedback, whether they know it or not.

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The truth about “public hearings”
As Mike McCabe pointed out in a column printed by newspapers like the Reedsburg Times-Press, hearing the public is the last thing legislators do at public hearings. He was talking about last week’s hearing on sand mining, but could just as well have been describing this week’s hearing on the anti-disclosure legislation.

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Support Community Shares of Wisconsin
If you work for an employer participating in Community Shares of Wisconsin’s workplace giving program, please give your support. It’s a great way of helping the Democracy Campaign. If you aren’t in a workplace that provides this opportunity, you can contact CSW about starting one or learning about the other ways to make a gift to this outstanding social action network.