Press Releases

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's press releases and special reports cover issues central to our mission, including campaign fundraising, political corruption and more.

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Sweet Victory for Democracy in Wisconsin!

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

March 29, 2018

It’s not often that we’ve had occasion, over the last seven years, to celebrate a victory for democracy here in Wisconsin, but today is one of those rare days.

Today, Gov. Scott Walker followed the law.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Testimony Against GOP Proposed Change to Special Elections Law

Before Senate Committee on Elections and Utilities

March 28, 2018

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished Senators. It’s nice to see you all again.

I’m Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which, since 1995, has been advocating for clean, open, and transparent government.

I’m here today to oppose, in the strongest terms possible, the naked partisan power play that is going on right now.

Excessive Polluters Are Large Campaign Contributors

March 28, 2018

Executives with about a dozen papermakers, utilities, and other companies accused of dumping excessive pollution into Wisconsin waterways in 2016 and 2017 are also generous campaign contributors in most cases.

High Court Candidates Raised $1.2M+ Since Jan. 1

March 27, 2018

The two candidates facing off in next week’s spring election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court raised more than $1.2 million combined since the beginning of the year.

Walker, Fitzgerald, Vos Shameless on Special Elections

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

March 23, 2018

Scott Walker, Scott Fitzgerald, and Robin Vos have no respect for democracy or representative government.

They are drunk with their power, and they’ll do anything to hold on to it.

Vote No on State Treasurer Referendum

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

March 26, 2018

On April 3, Wisconsin voters will find a referendum on their ballot to eliminate the office of the State Treasurer.

Please vote no on this referendum.

Meteor Timber Gave $12K to GOP, May Get Tax Break

March 23, 2018


The sand-processing plant, which would be located between Tomah and Black River Falls, is sought by Meteor Timber, a company owned by Atlanta, Ga.-based Timberland Investment Resources. The project would destroy about 16 acres of rare hardwood wetlands.For the second time in as many months, the GOP-controlled Assembly has approved a break for a proposed frac sand mining operation whose owners contributed $12,000 to the state Republican Party last year.

Bill Sought by Special Interests to Cut Lawsuits Goes to Walker

March 23, 2018


The proposal, Assembly Bill 773, reduces from six to three years the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits involving liability, fraud, rights violations, and injury to character.A pro-business bill that slashes the amount of time people can file lawsuits was given final approval on Friday by the Assembly and sent to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Senate Approves Sheldon Adelson’s Anti-BDS Bill

 

March 21, 2018

The measure, Assembly Bill 553, prohibits state and local governments from adopting rules to boycott doing business with Israel. It also requires contracts of $100,000 or more between state and local governments and businesses for goods and services to prohibit the business from being involved in the so-called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The movement, which has surfaced in recent years on some college campuses, is designed to pressure Israel to stop oppressing the Palestinian people.A bill that punishes local governments and businesses that boycott Israel was approved Wednesday by the state Senate and sent to GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Corporate Contributions to State Parties, Legislative Committees Topped $1M in 2017

 

March 20, 2018


By party, Republicans accepted about $900,375 and Democrats accepted $133,750 – a near $7 to $1 difference.Two Wisconsin Indian tribes and real estate and beer interests led the special interests that made more than $1 million in corporate campaign contributions in 2017 to four legislative campaign committees and the state Democratic and Republican parties.

Koch Volunteer of the Year Helps Sink Wisconsin Marine Sanctuary

March 20, 2018


“It did blindside many of us,” says Rolf Johnson, the CEO of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. “I was really excited about this.”When Gov. Scott Walker rescinded his nomination for a federal designation of a marine sanctuary north of Milwaukee on March 6, he caught a lot of people by surprise.

GOP Lawmakers Led Dems in Fundraising, Cash on Hand in 2017

March 14, 2018

Republican legislators had more than three times as much cash in their campaign accounts as their Democratic counterparts at the end of 2017, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

GOP Legislative Campaign Committees Outraised Dems 2:1

 

March 13, 2018

The two GOP legislative campaign committees raised more than twice as much as the two Democratic committees - $1.9 million versus about $900,000. Here are their fundraising totals for 2017:

GOP Donors to Electioneering Groups Outspent Dem Donors

March 6, 2018

Nearly two-thirds of the Wisconsin contributions made in 2017 to special interest groups that can raise and spend unlimited cash to influence state and federal elections went to groups that mostly back Republicans.

Wisconsin Contributors Gave $4.5M to Electioneering Groups in 2017

March 5, 2018

Nearly 500 Wisconsin contributors gave a record $4.5 million in 2017 to political nonprofit groups that can raise and spend unlimited cash to influence state and federal elections.

State Approves State Park Land Swap for Large Donor’s Golf Course

March 1, 2018

The Natural Resources Board approved a deal to give a major Republican campaign contributor state park land for a new high-end golf course he is building on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Influence Peddler of the Month - Americans for Prosperity (Updated)

March 1, 2018

(This profile updates information and figures in a previous November 2015 feature on Americans for Prosperity.)

The state arm of Americans for Prosperity is one of Wisconsin’s top outside electioneering spenders, doling out an estimated $5.7 million since January 2010 on Wisconsin legislative and statewide elections.

Check Out NRA Support for Walker, Legislators

In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, it appears GOP Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature will continue to bow to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and rebuff calls to consider tougher gun laws.

Scant Money Trail on Meteor Timber

February 27, 2018

The money trail on the sand-mining company that received some breaks by the Republican-controlled Assembly is hard to discern.

“Workers’ Day of Action” Speech

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

February 26, 2018

(This text is an expanded version of the speech that Rothschild delivered at the Wisconsin Capitol on February 24, 2018, at an event sponsored by AFSCME.)

I’m Matt Rothschild from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and we focus on money in politics right here in this state.

And when you follow the money, you get a clear picture of who actually rules Wisconsin.

GOP Assembly Approves WMC, Koch-Backed Wetlands Bill

February 16, 2018

A controversial Republican bill that would loosen state protections and allow development of up to one million acres of Wisconsin wetlands was approved by the state Assembly.

How Money Is Degrading Our Democracy in Wisconsin

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

February 16, 2018

(Lecture delivered to University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism class taught by Dee Hall on February 15.)

It’s a pleasure to be with you today, and I’ve got to say how lucky you are to have Dee Hall as your professor because she’s one of the best investigative reporters in this state, and I’m sure she’s teaching you some of the tricks of the trade.

I want to talk you today about the assault on democracy right here in Wisconsin over the last seven years, and how money is degrading it.