Special Interests Conned Public In High Court Races

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 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

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.

Majority of New Legislature on Record in Favor of Reform

More than half of the members of the new Legislature have either voted for or publicly committed to support two important campaign reforms.

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

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 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

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?

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

The rule that is the subject of the upcoming meeting on August 28 is more than 30 years out of date and at least two Supreme Court rulings behind the times. It leaves Wisconsin trapped in 1976.

Wisconsin Donors Slather “527” Groups With Cash

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

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 Listed Alphabetically

Table of all candidates listed alphabetically.

Legislative Hopefuls Score Record Cash

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

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

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

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.

New Guide Brings Redistricting Out into the Open

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, George Mason University, and the Joyce Foundation are pleased to announce the release of A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting, authored by Brennan Center counsel Justin Levitt.

Support for Reform Runs Strong in Wisconsin, Poll Shows

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

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.

New Report Documents Special Interest Pressure on Midwest Courts

This spring, Wisconsin voters endured their second special-interest-group dominated Supreme Court campaign in the last twelve months, featuring over $4 million in TV advertising by outside groups more interested in using judicial elections as a tool of political intimidation and control than for public accountability.

School Voucher Supporters Top Out-of-State Givers

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

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.
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