See Who Is Holding Up the 'Dark Store' Bills

Derelict Building

Posted: December 13, 2017
Updated: January 10, 2018

Six months ago, a group of bipartisan legislators sponsored two bills that would close a loophole that big box stores and other companies use to lower their tax assessments.

WDC Statement on GOP Attacks on Elections, Ethics Commission Administrators

Fist on Table

December 22, 2017

(WDC testimony delivered by WDC Executive Director Matthew Rothschild before the Wisconsin Elections Commission on GOP Attacks on Elections, Ethics Commission Administrators.)

Special Election Candidates Advance in Legislative Races

Check Mark

Here's a look at the fundraising and contributors to the Democratic and Republican candidates who won primaries on Tuesday in three special elections for vacant legislative seats. Candidates in two of the races – the 10th Senate District and the 58th Assembly District – will face off in a Jan. 16 election.

Walker Appoints GOP Senator as New Ag Secretary

Senator Sheila Harsdorf

November 10, 2017

Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Friday appointed a longtime western Wisconsin Republican state senator as the state’s new agriculture secretary.

Koch Brothers, WMC Behind Mining Law


 December 12, 2017

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a controversial bill into law on Monday that ends the state’s sulfide mining moratorium at the behest of powerful business and rightwing ideological interests that have spent more than $14 million to help elect him.

Republican AG Sides with Construction Industry on State Sprinkler Rule

Attorney General Brad Schimel

December 11, 2017

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel is siding with the construction industry, which has donated nearly $170,000 to his campaign, saying the state can’t require sprinkler systems to fight fires in apartment buildings with 20 units or fewer.

Kwik Trip cashes in on Walker support

Kwik Trip Gas Station

December 5, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration plans to give up to $21 million in tax giveaways to Kwik Trip, a convenience store chain whose owners and employees have contributed more than $90,000 to the Republican governor.

Special Election Candidates Self-Funding

Stuffed Wallet

December 14, 2017

Seven candidates in two special elections for vacant Assembly and Senate seats have loaned or contributed about $272,715 of their own money to their campaigns (see table below), according to recent campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

Business Lobby Opposes GOP Bills on 'Dark Store' Tax Loophole

Derelict Building

May 4, 2017

Big box chain stores like CVS Pharmacy, Lowe’s, Target, Menards, and Walgreens would no longer be able to use a legal loophole to slash their property taxes under a pair of bills sponsored by GOP lawmakers. The state’s largest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), which usually sides with Republicans, opposes the bills because businesses would pay more taxes.

Tavern Industry Opposes Measure to Change Liquor Laws

Beer Tap

August 3, 2017

The state’s tavern industry says it opposes a Republican bill that would change some state alcohol licensing and sales regulations.

Testimony Before the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on Campaign Finance Transparency

Faceless Donor

December 5, 2017

(Delivered by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Matthew Rothschild.)

GOP Bill Would Slash Time People Can Sue Business

Broken Hourglass on a Calendar

December 4, 2017

Republican lawmakers are introducing a bill that would slash the amount of time that people have to file civil suits against businesses for injuries and other matters.

Take Action: Stop the Article V Convention!

US Constitution

May 30, 2017

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 31, the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations plans to vote on a bill that would authorize an Article V Constitutional Convention for a balanced budget amendment.

Bill Would Allow Chiropractors to Perform Physicals on Student Athletes

Back Pain Illustration

June 13, 2017

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow chiropractors to perform physical exams on student athletes.

Wisconsin School Voucher Bill Backed by Betsy DeVos's Group

School Voucher

June 12, 2017

A bill expected to see action by the legislature next week would eliminate student attendance, grade level advancement, and academic achievement requirements that voucher schools have to meet in order to receive state money.

GOP Lawmakers Want Gun Courses Offered In High School

Apple School Books Pistol

June 9, 2017

GOP lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would require the state to develop gun training classes for high schoolers.

GOP May Consider Heavy Truck Fee to Pay for Roads

Truck and Trailer

June 14, 2017

A per-mile fee on heavy trucks that could raise more than $250 million in two years has surfaced as a possible funding source to pay for Wisconsin’s transportation budget. But the trucking industry, which has contributed nearly $1.2 million to legislative and statewide candidates, opposes the plan.

Anthem is Wisconsin GOP Booster

Anthem Logo

June 22, 2017

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which just announced it will stop selling health insurance in nearly all Wisconsin marketplaces created by the federal Affordable Care Act, is a big supporter of the Wisconsin GOP.

State Superintendent's Race Cost $1 Million

School Room

July 20, 2017

Spending by the candidates and outside special interest groups in the state school superintendent’s race last spring totaled about $1 million, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Wisconsin Contributors Gave $2M+ to Electioneering Groups

Outline of Wisconsin Filled with Money

August 9, 2017

About 230 Wisconsin contributors gave $2.1 million during the first six months of 2017 to dark money groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence state and federal elections.

Did Foxconn Violate State Lobby Law?

Wisconsin's Eye on Lobbying Logo

August 11, 2017

State lobby law requires businesses, groups and other special interests to register with the state after communicating with state elected officials on proposed rules or legislative bills if they do so on five or more days during a six-month period.

GOP Lawmakers Want to End State's Mining Moratorium


August 18, 2017

Republican lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill to end the state’s mining moratorium and open the door for copper, lead and zinc mines in Wisconsin.

WMC Tops Lobbying Groups in the First Six Months of 2017

WMC Headquarters

August 29, 2017

About 700 trade and ideological groups, unions and businesses spent more than $18.8 million lobbying state government during the first six months of 2017.

GOP Candidates Reaped Nearly $2 of Every $3 From Wisconsin ‘Wealth’ Codes

$100 Bills and Credit Cart

September 14, 2017

Individuals with Wisconsin zip code addresses who contributed $100 or more a year to partisan legislative and statewide candidates doled out about $136.4 million between 2003 and 2016, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found. About $86.3 million, or 63 percent, of those large individual contributions went to Republican candidates and about $50.1 million, or 37 percent, of the contributions went to Democrats.