Shell Game Allows Corporate Money to Flow Into Wisconsin Legislative Races

Wisconsin Corporation Major Funder of National Stealth Group DLCC

March 31, 1999

Madison - Corporate money may be banned in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t keep itf rom flowing to our legislative campaigns. A report released today by the Center for Responsive Politics called "Trickle Down Politics"shows how money from Wisconsin corporations and national special interest groups weaves through more than a dozen states and may have landed in our back yard.

Construction Firm Executives' Campaign Donations Exceed Legal Limit

Fond du Lac Builder Gives Governor $37,000 in One Day, $4,000 to Senator & Over $2,500 to Lt. Governor

August 2, 1999

Madison - Two executives of C.D. Smith Construction of Fond du Lac exceeded the limit in state law on individual contributions to candidates for state office with their donations to Governor Tommy Thompson, Lieutenant Governor Scott McCallum and Senator Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh).

Wisconsin 35th Nationally in Disclosure of Money in Politics

December 13, 1999

Madison - Wisconsin’s reputation for open government and clean politics took another beating in a new national survey of disclosure of money in politics, which ranks Wisconsin 35th among the 50 states and says the forecast for electronic disclosure of campaign donations in the state is "mostly cloudy," according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Leaders' Fund-Raising Operations Amount to 'Legal Laundering

Committees Shield Candidates from Taint of Special Interest Cash

November 18, 1999

Madison - Legislative campaign committees controlled by legislative leaders have become legal money laundering operations that raise huge sums of special interest money that benefits candidates but is not reported by the candidates, allowing them to appear free of lobby groups’ attempts to influence them, according to a report released today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin.

Lawmakers Don’t Make Grade on Campaign Finance Reform

WDC Gives Legislature D+ for ‘Bleak’ Record on Reform

November 15, 1999

Madison - The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said Monday that the Legislature’s penchant for partisan bickering and a lack of desire to reduce the flow and influence of monied special interest groups earns them "D+" grade on campaign finance reform efforts so far in the 1999-2000 legislative session.

Lawmakers Spend More Time Fund Raising Than Working on State Budget

September 23, 1999

Madison - Democratic and Republican legislators scheduled events this summer and fall to get Wisconsin residents to part with some of their money. One is pitching airplane rides, several others hosted golf outings, two of them went on the road with a comedian, one group organized a zoo tour and the others threw theme parties ranging from a pig roast in a park to a reception at a yacht club. (See table below.)

Senate Democrats, Assembly GOP Set Pace in Money Chase

Money Flowing to Power, Leadership Committees Sop Up PAC Cash, Sources of Donations Reveal Little Difference Between Parties

September 7, 1999

Madison - Legislators and leadership-run campaign committees collected over $875,000 in campaign contributions in the first half of the year when state budget decisions were being made, according to an analysis of state campaign finance records by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Support for Election Campaign Fund Rises for Second Straight Year

Number of Taxpayers Aiding Public Financing Nearly Triple the Number of Private Donors

August 12, 1999

Madison - For the second straight year, the number of taxpayers designating $1 to the state’s election campaign fund increased from the previous year, according to records the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign obtained from the state Elections Board. The income tax check-off provides funding used for public grants to candidates who agree to limit campaign spending. 

Funding for Campaign Reform Survives Budget Process

July 14, 1999

Madison - The conference committee working to reconcile the Senate and Assembly versions of the 1999-2001 state budget agreed last week to include $870,000 in general tax funds to pay for any campaign finance reforms the legislature may pass this session.

Assembly Republicans Up Ante to Kill Campaign Reform

GOP Caucus Votes to Subsidize Big Donors and Neuter Public Financing

June 22, 1999

Madison - Last night’s action by Assembly Republicans to provide tax breaks to big-money political contributors and undermine the income tax checkoff that provides funding for public grants to candidates who agree to spending limits is another strong signal that the Assembly GOP caucus is intent on killing campaign finance reform, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Assembly Republicans "Stand in Schoolhouse Door" on Campaign Finance Reform

GOP Caucus Votes to Remove Funds Earmarked for Campaign Reform from Budget Bill

June 17, 1999

Madison - Today’s vote by Assembly Republicans to remove $750,000 from the 1999-2001 state budget for public financing grants for legislative candidates amounts to a partisan attempt to kill campaign finance reform, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Nursing Home Industry Contributions Distort State Long Term Care Policy

May 24, 1999

Madison - By shrewdly targeting campaign contributions to key legislative leaders and heavily investing in the governor’s race and lobbying efforts, Wisconsin’s nursing home industry has succeeded in tilting state long-term care policy toward institutional nursing home care, according to a study released today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and AARP. The state’s bias toward nursing home care is costly to taxpayers and has left thousands of senior citizens who want home-based services on a lengthy waiting list, the report shows.

State Candidates Continue to Increase Personal Spending and Cost of Campaigns

One Candidate Giveth . . . And Then Taketh Back

May 18, 1999

Madison - Candidates for state legislative office in the 1998 elections set an all-time record for contributions to their own campaigns, including one candidate who dumped more than $100,000 into his own campaign fund to scare off challengers, and then took back the money, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Special Interests Have Contributed More than $733,000 to State Budget Writers

April 17, 1999

Madison - Nearly two dozen special interests made more than $733,000 in campaign contributions to further the careers of legislators who are now members of a powerful committee responsible for retooling the governor’s proposed 1999-2001 state budget, according to a new Wisconsin Democracy Campaign report.

Budget Writers Approve $750,000 in Tax Dollars for Campaign Finance Reform

April 29, 1999

Madison - The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee has approved a recommendation by the governor to use $750,000 in public funds to help pay for campaign finance reform.

Thompson Spent $6.72 for Each Vote

February 3, 1999

Madison - Governor Tommy Thompson spent $6.72 for each vote he received in 1998, more than four times the cost per vote of his first campaign. By contrast his opponent, Ed Garvey, spent $1.47 for each of the votes he received, the lowest per vote cost of any of Thompson’s previous challengers.

27th Senate District Home to Three Campaign Spending Records

February 2, 1999

Madison - The voters of the 27th Senate District endured unprecedented levels of spending on three fronts in 1998. Shattered records include spending by a single candidate, spending by both candidates and overall spending including that by outside groups.

Small Portion of Tobacco Settlement Could Pay for All of Campaign Finance Reform

January 26, 1999

Madison - The WDC called on the governor to propose using a small portion of its $5.9 billion share in a multi-state settlement with the tobacco companies to fund campaign finance reform in order to stem the future influence of special interests like tobacco.

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.

Special Interests Making Their Lists and Checking Them Twice

A Revised Version of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’

December 22, 1998

Madison - 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.

What Happened in the 1998 Elections and Why

November 4, 1998

Madison - This election should be a wake-up call for the citizens of Wisconsin.

Legislative Challengers in Big Financial Hole

Huge War Chests Show Advantages of Incumbency

July 27, 1998

Madison - 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

Friday July 25, 1998, 11:00 AM, Assembly Parlor

July 24, 1998

Madison - 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 Election Spending Sets New Mark

Just Latest Example of Need for Reform

May 8, 1998

Madison - 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.

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