Senate, Assembly Leaders Top Anti-Reform List

Representatives at odds with the represented on condition of democracy

February 14, 2013

If voting records are any indication, the Legislature is exceedingly unlikely to tackle the scourge of money in politics, plug holes in porous campaign finance disclosure laws, update obsolete ethics protections or reform partisan redistricting – despite public opinion showing strong tripartisan objections to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and widespread support for changes to the political system.

High Court, School Chief Races Top $3 Million

Handful of special interest groups outspend the candidates

July 25, 2013

Madison – This year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court and state school superintendent races cost nearly $3.3 million and more than half of it was spent by wealthy smear groups on negative advertising and mailings to hijack the elections, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

$10 Million In 10 Years Drives School Agenda

Walker expanding program after millions in backing by voucher supporters

April 15, 2013

Madison –Wealthy campaign contributors and shadowy electioneering groups that back school voucher programs have spent nearly $10 million in 10 years in Wisconsin – much of it to help twice elect a governor who is trying to sharply expand the program, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

35 Groups Rally To Put 'R' Back in 'Free Speech'

Posted: October 8, 2013
Updated: October 10, 2013

Madison - With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments today in a case, McCutcheon v. FEC, that could result in the invalidation of a key federal law limiting campaign contributions, the Money Out, Voters In coalition called for actions to rein in big money in political campaigns at a noon rally at the State Capitol.

WDC Testimony on Assembly Bill 225

Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs

December 18, 2013

(Wisconsin Democracy Campaign testimony before the Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs on Assembly Bill 255, proposal to double the legal size of political contributions in Wisconsin.)

Old Boys' Club Rules Top Contributor Ranks

Women face glass ceiling among elite donors

November 12, 2013

Madison – Women have long been on the short end of a gender pay gap with men – they now earn about 77 cents for every dollar paid to a guy – but the breach is even greater among high-end campaign contributors where women donate only about 25 cents for every $1 doled out by men.

WDC Calls On GAB to Enforce Disclosure Rule in Special Election

November 7, 2013

Madison - In a letter to state Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign urged the agency to enforce a three-year-old campaign finance disclosure rule in the case of campaign advertising being aired by a group fronting for the Wisconsin Realtors Association in a special election contest in a Milwaukee-area state Assembly district.

WDC Testimony on Assembly Bill 378

Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections

October 30, 2013 

(Testimony against an anti-disclosure bill delivered by WDC Executive Director Mike McCabe at a hearing held on October 29, 2013.)

WDC Testimony on Senate Bill 282

Senate Committee on Elections and Urban Affairs

October 3, 2013

(Testimony against Senate Bill 282 requiring disclosure of only the occupation of donors giving over $500.)

Walker's Whales

Governor continues to rake in big money from elite class of donors

Posted: September 19, 2013
Updated: November 13, 2013

Madison – Seventy-eight individuals and couples mostly from outside Wisconsin contributed nearly $1 million to legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates during the first six months of 2013, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Check-Bundling Cloaks Special Interest Sway

Large contributions through conduits jump 300 percent in 20 years

September 10, 2013

Madison – Large individual contributions funneled to legislators through check-bundling outfits that hide the real clout of special interest campaign contributions from the public hit a record $3.7 million in 2011 and 2012, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Coalition Urges Senate to Reject 'More Big Money in Politics' Bill

Legislation Doubles Contribution Limits to Wisconsin Political Campaigns

September 5, 2013

A statewide coalition of 15 citizen and public interest organizations including the Democracy Campaign is calling on the state Senate to reject Assembly Bill 225, a measure that would double campaign contributions limits in Wisconsin and allow big money to further drown out the voices of state voters.

GOP Majority Is Special Interest Cash Magnet

GOP legislators amass three times more campaign cash than Democrats

August 7, 2013

Madison –Republicans who control the legislature raised $1 million and stockpiled $2.54 million in their campaign accounts during the first six months of 2013 while they were loading the 2013-15 state budget with dozens of policy and spending items that benefit special interest contributors, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Legislation Calls for Statewide Vote on Citizens United

Posted: July 24, 2013
Updated: October 1, 2013

Legislation introduced today in the form of an Assembly Joint Resolution would put a referendum question on the November 2014 ballot statewide giving Wisconsin voters an opportunity to have their voices heard on whether the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC should be overturned.

Special Interests Reap State Budget Policy, Spending Breaks

Proposed bill ushers bounty hunters, faster cable TV cutoffs and more junk mail

June 13, 2013

Madison – The proposed 2013-15 state budget the legislature considers this month benefits special interests by making it easier for them to get millions of dollars more in state grants, tax breaks and contracts, threaten water supplies, send people more junk mail, cut off your cable television faster and let bounty hunters work in the state, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Testimony in Opposition to Assembly Bill 225

Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections

June 4, 2013

(Wisconsin Democracy Campaign June 4, 2013 testimony before the Assembly Committee on Campaign and Elections in opposition to Assembly Bill 225 - Govern Without Public Support Act.)

Frack Sand Industry Support Spikes With Mines

Natural gas, sand mining contributions grow 21-fold in five years

May 21, 2013

Madison – Campaign contributions from the frack sand mining and natural gas industries ballooned 2,100 percent in six years and mirror the spike in mines and processing operations that now pepper northern Wisconsin, a Democracy Campaign review found.

WDC Files Complaint, Seeks Investigation of Undisclosed Election Spending by School Voucher Advocacy Group

May 7, 2013
Updated: May 13, 2013

Madison - In the aftermath of revelations that a free-spending interest group pushing expansion of Wisconsin’s private school voucher program told its members that it spent over $2 million more to influence state elections in 2012 than it reported to election authorities, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed a complaint today with the state Government Accountability Board alleging the group violated campaign finance disclosure rules.

Over 18,000 Wisconsinites Call for a Statewide Vote on Citizens United

March 28, 2013

More than 18,000 Wisconsinites have signed a petition calling for a statewide vote to put Wisconsin on record against Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to special interest money in elections. The petition requests a statewide referendum, which must be approved by legislators and the governor. If the proposed ballot initiative passes, Wisconsin would join 11 states that have already voted in favor of overturning Citizens United and allowing laws to limit election spending.

Before and After Citizens United: Wisconsin Election Spending Tripled in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling

Recall elections added to spending spike; without ’em, spending doubled

March 13, 2013

Madison – Candidate and interest group spending in contests for state and federal offices totaled $391.9 million in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles – more than triple the $123.7 million spent in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Cost of 2012 Legislative Races Tops $16 Million

Special interest groups spent millions to flip control of Senate

February 19, 2013

Madison – About 300 legislative candidates and fundraising committees and about two dozen special interest groups that spend most of their money on negative broadcast ads to smear candidates doled out $16.53 million on the 2012 fall legislative races, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review shows.

Mine Backers Drill With Big Cash To Ease Regulations

Special interests that favor new mining rules hold $610 to $1 contribution advantage

January 28, 2013

Madison – Special interests that back loosening mining regulations for a Florida company that wants to dig an open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin have contributed $15.6 million to the Republican-controlled legislature and GOP Governor Scott Walker who are likely to approve mining permit changes in the coming months.

Road Fund Gets Concrete Protection From Special Interests

January 23, 2013

Madison – Powerful special interests that back a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent state policymakers from raiding the transportation fund contributed $5.2 million to past and current legislators between 2010 and mid-2012, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.