The Mugging of Democracy in Wisconsin

Crime Scene Tape and Police Lights

November 7, 2015

It happened in the dark of night. Almost no one was around. But just about at midnight on Nov. 6, the Republican-dominated Wisconsin State Senate struck at the heart of open and clean government in Wisconsin, dealing it a mortal blow.

Wisconsin Governor's Race Cost Nearly $82 Million

Hundred Dollar Bills

Posted: February 17, 2015
Updated: March 9, 2015

Candidates and outside electioneering groups spent a record $81.8 million in the 2014 governor’s race in Wisconsin, much of it on months of negative broadcast ads and mailings, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Must Recuse Themselves from John Doe

Justice Peaking Under Blindfold

March 10, 2015

Later this term, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will be weighing in on challenges to the John Doe investigation concerning alleged coordination between Scott Walker’s campaign and so-called outside groups during the recall elections of 2011-2012.

Guess Who Backs the GOP Assaults on GAB and Campaign Finance Laws

Weaken the Rules

October 22, 2015

Wealthy business and conservative ideological groups that collectively spend millions of dollars to support Republican legislative and statewide candidates at election time are supporting bills to weaken state campaign finance law and dismember the state’s election and ethics watchdog.

Walker Sides with Enbridge Over Communities, Private Property Owners

Pipeline and Snow

July 17, 2015

Two provisions in the new state budget approved by Republican Gov. Scott Walker help one company: Enbridge Energy. They prevent local governments from imposing added insurance requirements on interstate pipeline operators that transport hazardous material, and make it easier to take private property for such projects.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Condemns State Supreme Court Ruling in John Doe II

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chambers

July 16, 2015

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign denounced the ruling by the biased Wisconsin State Supreme Court to close down the John Doe II investigation into alleged coordination between Scott Walker and so-called outside groups.

Top Donors to Walker’s Presidential Fundraising Committees

Governor Scott Walker

August 4, 2015

More than seven dozen individuals and corporations made contributions of $50,000 or more to two federal committees that were created to support Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s 2016 presidential bid, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Biased Justices Ruled on Wisconsin John Doe Case

Justice Peaking Under Blindfold

July 16, 2015

The four justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court who just dismissed the John Doe investigation concerning alleged coordination between Scott Walker and so-called outside groups were aided enormously by some of the very groups that were party to the John Doe case.

Republican Lawmakers Smoke Dems in Fundraising

Donkey and Elephant on Piles of Money

August 13, 2015

Republican legislators raised about one-third more per capita than Democratic lawmakers during the first six months of 2015 and had 75 percent more money in their campaign accounts as of June 30, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review of recently filed campaign finance reports.

Republican Lawmakers Smoke Dems in Fundraising: Legislators Listed Alphabetically

Donkey and Elephant on Piles of Money

Legislators Listed Alphabetically

August 13, 2015

Legislative Proposal Would Permit Concealed Guns in College Classrooms

Concealed Pistol

October 14, 2015

Wisconsin’s public universities and technical colleges would no longer be able to prohibit people from carrying concealed guns in campus classrooms and buildings under a measure authored by two GOP lawmakers and backed by some pro-gun advocates.

Legislative Candidates, Groups Dole Out $16.8 Million in 2014 Elections


Posted: March 4, 2015
Updated: March 9, 2015

Legislative candidates and special groups that attacked candidates with negative broadcast ads, mailings, and other electioneering activities spent an estimated $16.9 million in the 2014 fall legislative elections, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Milk Source, a Big Walker Donor, Wins in Judge’s Ruling on Wells

Cows Feeding

November 17, 2015

The huge factory dairy farm company, Milk Source, whose executives gave more than $130,000 to Gov. Scott Walker, stands to benefit from a recent court ruling on high-capacity wells. The state has no legal authority to require factory farms and businesses that want high-capacity water wells to monitor water use as a condition for granting their permits, an Outagamie County Circuit Court judge says.

Barbara Lawton, Dale Schultz Decry Money in Politics

Dale Schultz and Barbara Lawton 2015 WDC Annual Meeting

Posted: May 14, 2015
Updated: May 18, 2015

Two prominent political figures, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, decried the poisonous effects of money in our political system last night.

Walker Got Nearly $18K from Executives Whose Companies Failed to Repay Loans


June 10, 2015

Executives from five companies whose $5.6 million in state loans were forgiven by the Walker administration contributed nearly $18,000 to the governor’s campaign since January 2010.

Justice Abrahamson Slams the Canning of the John Doe Prosecutor

Gavel Scales Case

December 2, 2015

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, by a vote of 4-1, today rejected a request from John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz to reconsider its July decision that shut down a secret investigation into alleged coordination between electioneering groups and Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Supports Iowa-Model Redistricting Reform

Drawing with Ruler

September 8, 2015

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign enthusiastically supports the effort by Wisconsin legislators to adopt the so-called Iowa model for drawing Wisconsin’s political maps.

Update: DNR Board Decides to Delay State Land Sale to Walker Donor

Wisconsin DNR Logo

September 24, 2015

The Natural Resources Board has decided to delay a decision on whether to sell several hundred feet of premium frontage on a northern Wisconsin lake to an Illinois couple that has contributed about $3 million to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns for governor and president.

Republicans Go After Local Control in Milwaukee

ID Card

December 30, 2015

Two Republican legislators in Wisconsin are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit towns or counties from issuing photo ID cards for their residents.

GOP Bill Seeks Income Tax Deduction for Psychiatrists

Psychiatrist Consulting

December 23, 2015

A Republican lawmaker is circulating a bill that would create an income tax deduction on up to $200,000 of a psychiatrist’s annual earnings.

Ag's Big Money and Polluted Well Water in Kewaunee County

Cows Feeding

December 22, 2015

In Kewaunee County, cows outnumber people thanks largely to factory farms. According to a recent study, one in three wells in the county failed to meet safety standards for drinking water.

Timber Industry, Environmental Group at Odds Over Forestland Tax Break Bill


December 21, 2015

The timber industry and an environmental group are at odds over GOP bills that could reduce public access and increase logging on forestland for which the owner gets a state tax break.