Email date: 7/8/14
In this update:
1. Out-of-state donors throw their voices
2. Bringing dark money into the light
3. Records showing finances of state candidates posted on wisdc.org
4. High court endows corporations with religious rights
5. Citizen Koch to screen in Fox Valley on Thursday
Out-of-state donors throw their voices
If money is speech as the Supreme Court insists it is, then a lot of voices in Wisconsin elections are being thrown from well outside the state’s borders. A new Democracy Campaign report shows a pronounced spike in recent years in the amount of campaign money coming from both coasts and just about all points in between.
The old normal was between $300,000 and $2 million a year from out-of-state donors to Wisconsin politicians. The new normal is a minimum of $4 million annually, a level reached in 2013 even though there were virtually no state elections being held. Once the giving is done in 2014 and all the outside money is counted, the number for this pivotal election year will be much, much higher.
Check out our podcast for more on our findings.
Bringing dark money into the light
A recent special report by WITI-TV in Green Bay did an excellent job of explaining the phenomenon of “dark money” in politics. The latest posts on our Big Money Blog also address the farce that keeps so much of the money influencing elections cloaked in darkness.
The Federal Communications Commission recently provided one glimmer of hope of exposing dark money with a new disclosure rule for political advertising on television.
Records showing finances of state candidates posted on wisdc.org
In the last week the Democracy Campaign launched a Campaign 2014 feature on our website where visitors can see campaign finance activity by all candidates for state office this year. We also were able to obtain the statements of economic interest filed by all candidates and have posted them as well. These records provide a glimpse into the candidates’ sources of income, their investments and other financial holdings, and debts.
High court endows corporations with religious rights
Corporations not only can spend as much as they want on American elections because the U.S. Supreme Court defines them as persons with an unlimited First Amendment right to use the capital they amass to fund political speech, they now can refuse to comply with the nation’s health insurance law on religious grounds.
As is becoming the norm, a humorist best captured the essence of the high court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. Meanwhile, a lower court judge had choice words for the five-member majority on the Supreme Court after the decision was announced, and public confidence in the court hit a record low.
Citizen Koch to screen in Fox Valley on Thursday
A one-night-only showing of the documentary film Citizen Koch on Thursday in Appleton was sold out, but now the show is being moved to a larger theater, making more seats available. If you live in the Fox Valley, here’s your chance to watch the movie the modern-day robber barons don’t want you to see.
WDC director Mike McCabe will be there and will participate in a post-fim discussion with the audience.