Special Interests Conned Public In High Court Races

Report finds attack groups’ interest in crime and safety doesn’t match negative ads

August 20, 2008

Madison - Special interest groups that spent an estimated $7.7 million on "issue advocacy" in the last two Supreme Court elections focused their advocacy on an issue - crime and public safety - that not only has little to do with the work of the Supreme Court but next to nothing to do with the groups’ own policy agendas, a new Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Smear Groups Set Spending Record In ’08 Legislative Races

Special interests pump unprecedented sums into Assembly contests

December 17, 2008

Madison - Special interests led by labor and conservative ideological groups spent an estimated $7.1 million on mostly negative advertising, mailings and telephone calls to harass voters and smear candidates in the 2008 legislative races, including more than $1 million on a single Assembly race, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

WDC statement on GAB's new rules for issue ads

November 11, 2008

In approving new rules requiring special interest groups to fully disclose their electioneering activities and abide by existing state campaign contribution limits, the state Government Accountability Board today struck an important blow for the public’s right to know and helped put the “r” back in free speech.

State Donors Give Record $3 Million-Plus To Shadow Groups

Milwaukee philanthropist exceeds $1 million in contributions

October 28, 2008

Madison - Wisconsin contributors have donated a record $3.27 million to unregulated special interest groups that spend much of their money on negative broadcast advertising, mailings and other electioneering activities to muffle what the candidates in federal and state races have to say on issues that really matter to voters, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Incumbents Hunkering Down In Beds Of Cash

Legislative officeholders, special interests determined to maintain status quo

September 26, 2008

Madison - Legislative candidates on the November ballot had $5.52 million in their campaign accounts at the end of August, but nearly $3 of every $4 was held by incumbents who also are likely to benefit from more contributions and negative, outside electioneering activity by powerful business, labor and other special interests in the coming weeks, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Tobacco Contributions No Spit In The Bucket

Company’s contributions follow favorable tax change for product

September 16, 2008

Madison - An Assembly Republican leader accepted $7,500 in campaign contributions from executives of the nation’s leading maker of smokeless tobacco products shortly after the company successfully sought to change the way the state taxes one of its most popular products among children, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has found.

Is Cash Warming Doyle to Nuclear Option?

New owners of Point Beach plant made big donations to governor shortly before Doyle shifted his position on nuclear energy

September 3, 2008

Madison - Executives of a Florida utility with large stakes in nuclear and wind power contributed nearly $24,000 to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle a little more than a month before Doyle announced he was willing to consider new nuclear plants as a future energy option, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has found.

Government Accountability Board and Issue Ads

Regulation of Phony “Issue Ads”

Presented: August 28, 2008
Posted: September 2, 2008

TO: Government Accountability Board
FROM: Mike McCabe, Executive Director Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
SUBJECT: August 28 meeting regarding regulation of political communications under GAB 1.28

Wisconsin Donors Slather “527” Groups With Cash

Unregulated groups got $1 million in first six months of ’08; $2 million-plus so far in the 2007-08 election cycle

August 28, 2008

Madison - Unregulated political hit groups responsible for many of the negative ads and outside electioneering activities in federal and state elections received a record $2.2 million from Wisconsin donors during the last 18 months including more than $1 million in the first six months of 2008, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Candidates Leave Voters Guessing on Reform

Few Candidates for Legislature Respond to Democracy Reform Questionnaire; Most Leave Voters Guessing

Posted: August 14, 2008
Updated: September 2, 2008

Logo: League of Women Voters Logo: Common Cause in Wisconsin Logo: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Common Cause in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today released the responses of state legislative hopefuls to six questions on democracy reform issues the three groups posed to all candidates.

Legislative Hopefuls Score Record Cash: All Candidates by Total Raised

August 13, 2008

Table of all candidates by total raised.

Legislative Hopefuls Score Record Cash

Incumbents hold $4 to $1 advantage over challengers

August 13, 2008

Madison - Legislative candidates and fundraising committees raised a record $3.39 million and had nearly $6 million in their campaign accounts in the first half of 2008 – an election year where slim majorities have party control up for grabs in the Assembly and Senate, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Nasty Supreme Court Race Cost Record $6 Million

Candidates were outspent $4 to $1 by outside special interests

July 22, 2008

Madison - The 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court race cost $5.96 million, including a record $4.8 million by outside special interest groups that secretly raised and spent most of that money on negative ads about the candidates, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Big Money Flows to Power

Report shows special interest contributions flip-flop with party control

July 15, 2008

Madison – Most wealthy special interests contribute more to the political party that controls the Assembly and Senate, flip-flopping between Democrats and Republicans to get what they want, according to a report today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Ethics Questionnaire Sent to All Legislative Candidates

July 10, 2008

Logo: League of Women Voters Logo: Common Cause in Wisconsin Logo: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund, Common Cause in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign are calling on candidates for the Wisconsin Legislature (Assembly and Senate) to state their positions on issues that are central to honest, accountable government. The groups are mailing a questionnaire today to all candidates certified by the Government Accountability Board, with a response deadline of Friday, July 18, 2008.

2008 Legislative Campaign by the Numbers

Posted: July 9, 2008
Updated: September 25, 2008

Statistics for the 2008 campaign for the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Support for Reform Runs Strong in Wisconsin, Poll Shows

State on wrong track and officials can’t be trusted to do the right thing

June 19, 2008

Midwest Democracy Network






 Most Wisconsin residents believe their state is on the wrong track and have little trust in state officials to serve their interests on issues they care about, and a supermajority supports reforms aimed at making state government more honest, accountable and responsive, a new public opinion survey shows.

State Donors Pitch “527” Groups Record Cash

Democratic groups getting most of the Wisconsin contributions

May 29, 2008

Madison - Wisconsin business, unions and individuals have contributed a record $1.5 million in the first 15 months of the 2007-08 election cycle to unregulated groups most of which raise and spend unlimited amounts on negative advertising, mailings and other outside activities in state and national elections, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

School Voucher Supporters Top Out-of-State Givers

$1 in $5 came from proponents of expanding school choice

May 7, 2008

Madison - School voucher supporters contributed $1 of every $5 in large individual campaign contributions state policymakers accepted from special interests outside Wisconsin in 2007, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review shows.

WDC Ranks Legislators on Political Reform

76 Lawmakers Fail to Pass Muster on Cleaning Up Capitol

April 29, 2008

Madison - Well over half of members of the current Wisconsin Legislature are either actively or passively cultivating political corruption and helping special interests control state government by resisting reforms that would put ordinary citizens in the driver’s seat and restore the state’s reputation for clean and open government, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Two Violate $10,000 Contribution Limit in 2007

Pair exceeded the limit in the past and got slap on the wrist

April 16, 2008

Madison - Two wealthy contributors violated the state’s $10,000 annual limit on campaign contributions to state political candidates and committees in 2007 – the second time for each, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review of state campaign finance records shows.

Rescue High Court, Reform Groups Urge


April 09, 2008

Logo: League of Women Voters Logo: Common Cause in Wisconsin Logo: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign


To: All State Senators and Assembly Representatives


Andrea Kaminski, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, (608) 256-0827

Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin , (608) 256-2686

Mike McCabe , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, (608) 255-4260

Re: Pass Special Session Senate Bill 1

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