WDC Applauds Bipartisan Group’s Campaign Finance Reform Initiative

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign lauded today’s announcement that a group of legislators from both political parties and both houses of the legislature is coalescing behind the Voters First campaign finance reform legislation.

WDC Files Elections Board Complaint on Party 'Issue Ads'

The state Democratic and Republican parties violated Wisconsin campaign finance laws when they paid for ads attacking clearly identified candidates for state office but did not report the spending, according to complaints filed today with the state Elections Board by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Budget on the Auction Block

State lawmakers crafting the 2001-03 state budget offered an array of tax breaks, pork barrel spending and other budget favors worth $819 million - at a cost of $211 for every Wisconsin tax filer - to special interests who contributed unprecedented sums to campaigns in their bid to get preferential treatment, a study released today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows.

Special Interests Average 33,000% Gain On Campaign Contributions

A $10,000 investment a year ago in one of the most profitable stocks on the market - Genstar Therapeutics - would be worth $162,500 today, a 1,525% gain. That’s a lucrative return, but it’s not nearly the bang for the buck that special interests received from investing in state policymaking.

Testimony in Favor of Assembly Bill 682

On behalf of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, I urge you to pass Assembly Bill 682 (AB 682). I applaud Representative Gundrum for having the courage to offer this proposal, and I am happy to lend our support.

McCallum Ducks, Doyle Dodges on Campaign Reform

The frontrunners in the governor’s race ran for cover when challenged to take a public stand on the leading campaign finance reform bill awaiting action in the state legislature, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported today.

WDC: Overhaul 'Jury of Pals'

The state Elections Board has become the captive of the political power brokers it is supposed to regulate and needs a major overhaul if it is to effectively serve the public interest, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today as it offered options for reforming the agency.

WDC Calls the Question on Reform Bill

In a letter to the announced candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today asked for a public commitment of support for the leading campaign finance reform bill awaiting action in the state legislature.

Top State Politicians Earn Poor Marks for Shabby Disclosure

Three dozen state officeholders violated campaign finance laws by not adequately revealing the special interests behind nearly $317,000 worth of large individual campaign contributions they accepted during the first six months of 2001, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

WDC Calls on Doyle to Challenge Caucus Legal Fees

State Attorney General James Doyle should challenge in court the use of public funds for the legal defense of state employees who are under investigation for illegal campaigning with state resources, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign urged today in a letter to Doyle.

Reform Coalition Calls on Finance Committee to Act on Ellis-George Campaign Finance Reform Bill

The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee should take prompt action on a bipartisan campaign finance reform bill that already has won approval from two key Senate committees, clearing the way for floor debate during the fall legislative session, a coalition of 43 statewide advocacy groups today urged in a letter to finance panel members.

Lobbyist’s Pay-to-Play Memo Turns Out to Be Prophetic, Analysis Shows

An April memo from a prominent lobbyist to his clients describing Senate Majority Leader Charles Chvala’s shakedown of special interests for campaign contributions proved prophetic as donors changed their giving patterns to meet demands the lobbyist said Chvala made, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review of the latest campaign finance reports shows.

Caucus Deal

The state Elections Board voted late yesterday afternoon to approve an agreement with the state Ethics Board and legislative leaders that eliminates the scandal-plagued legislative caucuses but also beefs up the staffs available to leading lawmakers. The deal is a mixed bag, with some very good reforms and some real lemons.

WDC Statement on Possible Settlement of Legislative Caucus Investigations

The proposed agreement under consideration by the state Ethics Board and Elections Board fails to meet the crucial tests of an acceptable resolution to the investigations into apparent violations of state ethics, campaign finance and open records laws by employees of the four partisan legislative caucuses.

Legislative Leaders Add Insult to Injury in Caucus Scandal

Taxpayers who've had their money flagrantly misused by state employees engaged in secret, illegal campaign activity will be fleeced again unless the decision by legislative leaders to use tax funds to pay lawyers to defend legislative caucus staffers is reversed, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Six Well-Heeled Contributors Violate Campaign Finance Laws

Six of Wisconsin’s most generous contributors to Republican and Democratic campaigns violated state campaign finance laws during the first six months of 2001 by exceeding the annual $10,000 limit on contributions, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Reform Coalition Asks Chvala to Allow Vote on Ellis-George Campaign Finance Reform Compromise

A broad coalition of statewide advocacy groups today called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala to clear the way for the full Senate to debate a campaign finance reform bill that won bipartisan approval from a key Senate committee in July.

Blown Save

Governor Scott McCallum’s decision not to veto funding for the legislative caucuses was a missed opportunity for the state’s chief executive but will not set back the effort to rid state government of the corrupt practices the taxpayer-funded caucuses have come to symbolize, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Budget Becomes Campaign Cash Cow as Lawmakers Milk Special Interests for $1.6 Million

It’s no wonder this year’s budget was rife with millions of dollars in benefits and breaks for powerful special interests as legislators and their leadership-run committees raked in $1.6 million in campaign contributions during the first six months of 2001, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Reform Groups Urge McCallum to Veto Funding for Legislative Caucuses

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin today asked Governor Scott McCallum to use his partial veto authority to eliminate funding for the four taxpayer-funded legislative caucuses that are at the center of a growing state government scandal.

Reform Groups File Complaint Over Caucus Scandal

The heads of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin today filed a formal complaint with the state Elections Board alleging violations of state campaign finance laws by the Democratic and Republican legislative caucuses overseen by legislative leaders in both houses.

WDC Calls on Ethics and Elections Boards to Investigate Legislative Caucus Scandal

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today called on both the state Ethics Board and Elections Board to investigate apparent violations of state ethics and campaign finance laws by state employees working in the four taxpayer-funded legislative caucuses.

State Lawmakers to Voters: Save Your Breath

In the first 100 days of the 2001-02 legislative session, both houses of the state legislature have refused to act on comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation that does what voters overwhelmingly called on their elected representatives to do, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Welfare For Incumbents Turns Legislature Into 'Gated Community'

Nearly $470,000 in state tax dollars are spent annually on the care and feeding of each state legislator in Wisconsin, creating an enormous electoral advantage for current office holders, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported after analyzing the almost $62 million budget for legislative expenses for the 2000-01 fiscal year as well as spending trends in specific expense accounts.
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