Only in the Capitol

In this update: 1. Senators rein in voters, unleash lobbyists 2. Why no prosecution of clear violations of Open Meetings Law? 3. Monitoring the 2014 election hijackers Only in the Capitol

Email date: 3/13/14

In this update:
1. Senators rein in voters, unleash lobbyists
2. Why no prosecution of clear violations of Open Meetings Law?
3. Monitoring the 2014 election hijackers

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Senators rein in voters, unleash lobbyists
Only in the Capitol do less time for voting and more time for lobbyists to make political donations seem like good ideas. Only retiring Senator Dale Schultz of Richland Center broke ranks with ruling Republicans yesterday as a bill to restrict early voting and ban weekend voting altogether and another bill giving lawmakers an extra month and a half to squeeze lobbyists for campaign contributions were narrowly passed. The vote to limit early voting was 17-16, as was the vote giving lobbyists more time to make donations.

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Why no prosecution of clear violations of Open Meetings Law?
In a guest commentary published by the Wausau Daily Herald and soon to appear in other state newspapers, the Democracy Campaign’s director asks this very question.

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Monitoring the 2014 election hijackers
Well-heeled interest groups already are taking to the airwaves to influence this fall’s state elections. So the Democracy Campaign is already shining as much light as we can on their activities. It’s all in the Hijacking Campaign 2014 feature on our website.

Wealthy interests like the Koch brothers evidently are no longer content with swaying voters in state and national elections. They now have their sights set on local contests too. So does ALEC, the national corporate-funded lobbying operation.

The invasion of local politics by shadowy front groups with deep pockets is unfolding right here in Wisconsin. In Polk County, a group called Operation Prosperity is pouring big money into an attempt to elect an entire slate of county board candidates. The group is being tight-lipped about its funding sources but claims to be a local effort. Little is known about who is really behind this outfit, so it’s impossible to say for sure, but nothing about the group’s online presence or its campaigning so far has the look or feel of a grassroots undertaking.