What Happened in the 1998 Elections and Why

As we move toward the 21st century, Wisconsin has become the poster child for everything that is wrong with the way we finance campaigns.

State Candidates Dug Deep Into Own Pockets to Run

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today released figures detailing the huge amounts of money candidates sank into their own races for state office in the 1996 campaigns. "Sank" is the operative word as eight of the 12 largest self-contributors lost their bid for office.

Incumbent War Chests Bulge to $4.4 Million

Incumbent office holders raised almost $2 million in the last six months of 1997. Those dollars pushed war chests to a whopping $4.4 million mark heading into the fall elections.

Buy a House?

Wisconsin’s real estate industry spent at least $1.4 million on campaign contributions and lobbying since 1993 to push proposals that often favor realtors and developers at the expense of home buyers, and conflict with environmental protection, the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported.

Special Election Spending Sets New Mark

Campaign spending by the two candidates and several special interest groups in the special election last month set a new record of $689,325. The candidates combined to spend a total of $481,285. Special interest groups spent an additional $208,040 "independently" of the candidates. The previous record, set in 1996 when Sen. George Petak was recalled, was $661,958.

Legislative Challengers in Big Financial Hole

The advantages of incumbency were highlighted again last week as candidates filed reports detailing their fund raising for the first six months of 1998. The bottom line: Wisconsin’s legislative incumbents are well-stocked heading into the 1998 elections. "It is the year of the incumbent," declared Gail Shea, executive director pf the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Campaign Reformers Chide Thompson for Inacessiblity of Information in Finance Reports

Despite all of Thompson’s talk about disclosure and his support for electronic filing of campaign finance reports, there is still no web site with contributor lists, no floppy disk provided to groups who will post the information, no improvement in disclosure at all.

Special Interests Making Their Lists and Checking Them Twice

As Wisconsinites head out for last minute holiday shopping, special interests are busy drawing up wish lists for the Legislature and the governor. "Santa isn't the only one getting special requests this time of year," said Gail Shea, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

WMC Spent $414,979 on Phony 'Issue Ads'

On Eve of Historic Court Case, WDC Gets Partial Disclosure

January 6, 1999

Madison - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce spent $414,979 to influence the 1998 elections through its so-called “issue ad” campaign, according to figures obtained today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

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