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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Wealthy Walker Donors Give Big to GOP Electioneering Group

February 15, 2018

A handful of Wisconsin donors contributed $1.7 million last year to a group headed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that raises and spends unlimited amounts of cash from special interests to elect GOP candidates for governor nationwide.

How Big $ Can Pollute Wisconsin Supreme Court Races More Than Ever

by Matthew Rothchild, Executive Director

February 14, 2018

Big money can now pollute Wisconsin Supreme Court races more than ever before thanks to the GOP-dominated legislature, which recklessly rewrote our campaign finance law in 2015.

Some of the changes brought on by that law have come into focus after Michael Screnock’s campaign reported receiving $111,100 from the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

State Republican Party is Screnock’s Largest Contributor

February 13, 2018

The state Republican Party contributed more than half of the nearly $214,000 raised during the first five weeks of the year by conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Michael Screnock.

GOP Witch Hunt against GAB Moves to Legislature

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

February 13, 2018

Republican legislators cannot let go of the GAB bone.

It’s a chew toy for them.

On Respectful Political Discourse

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

February 9, 2018

(Speech to the League of Women Voters of Ripon on Febuary 8.)

I’d like to thank the League of Women Voters of Ripon for inviting me here tonight, and everyone for coming here, despite the snow in the forecast.

GOP Leaders Bow to Special Interests on “Dark Store” Bills

February 8, 2018

GOP legislative leaders say they’ve ruled out action this year on two bills that would close a loophole that big box stores and other companies use to lower their tax assessment and force homeowners to pay higher taxes or communities to cut services.

Check Out the Paper Industry’s Contributions to Walker, Legislators

February 6, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to increase the amount of state handouts to Kimberly-Clark Corp. after the papermaker announced it would cut 600 Wisconsin jobs.

Meanwhile, legislative Democrats want to provide $60 million in state aid for Wisconsin papermakers to upgrade their mills.

Walker Signs Rate Settlement Bill Backed by Utilities

February 2, 2018

A measure backed mostly by utilities that would help them resolve electric and natural gas rate disputes was signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

More than Half of Wisconsin Counties Call for Fair Maps

Grassroots movement to limit gerrymandering gains momentum

February 1, 2018

MADISON—The WI Fair Maps Coalition announced today that 37 Wisconsin counties have now passed a  “Fair Maps Resolution” calling on the legislature to move the legislative district map-drawing process to an independent, nonpartisan agency. These 37 counties represent about 2/3 of the state’s population, and more than 70 percent of these counties voted for the Republican candidate for President in 2016. The counties span the state: from Douglas and Bayfield counties to Walworth and Kenosha counties; from Forest and Marinette and Door counties to Trempealeau, La Crosse, and Vernon counties.

Influence Peddler of the Month for February 2018 - Republican State Leadership Committee

Republican State Leadership Committee

February 1, 2018

This Virginia-based group was created in 2002 and engages in electioneering activities around the country to support Republican and conservative candidates for legislative and statewide offices.

Influence Peddler of the Month - Republican State Leadership Committee (Update)

This Virginia-based group was created in 2002 and engages in electioneering activities around the country to support Republican and conservative candidates for legislative and statewide offices.

Rent-to-Own Shills Push Anti-Consumer Bill

January 31, 2018

Two GOP lawmakers who are top recipients of rent-to-own contributions are still pressing their bill to loosen state regulations on the industry.

A legislative hearing was held Tuesday on the measure, Senate Bill 637, which would exempt the industry from the state’s consumer protection laws. Under current law, rent-to-own companies are required to disclose to customers their interest rates, which often climb into the triple digits.

Hendricks Clan Contributes $80K to Walker

January 29, 2018

The family of roofing supply billionaire Diane Hendricks contributed $80,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign during the last half of 2017, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary review found.

Walker Got $1 in $3 from Individuals Outside Wisconsin in 2017

January 26, 2018

About $1 of every $3 in individual contributions raised in 2017 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker came from outside the state, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

Walker’s latest campaign finance report filed with the state by his campaign committee, Friends of Scott Walker, showed he raised nearly $7.2 million, including nearly $6.6 million from individual contributors. About $4.2 million – or 64 percent – came from Wisconsin donors and nearly $2.4 million – or 36 percent – came from individuals outside the state.

Landlords Win in the Assembly

January 24, 2018

A GOP proposal that would make it easier for landlords to evict tenants and limit the frequency and cost of local rental unit inspections was approved Tuesday by the Assembly.

Fitzgerald’s “Hatchet Job” Cuts Off Heads

January 23, 2018

Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald got his way today. He and his Republican colleagues got rid of the administrator at the Ethics Commission, Brian Bell, and the administrator at the Elections Commission, Michael Haas.

But not without facing intense heat from Democratic Senators.

Open Letter to the Sauk County Board on Redistricting

January 23, 2018

To: Marty Krueger, Sauk County Board Chair

Deb O’Rourke, Interim Sauk County Assistant Corporation Counsel

cc: All Sauk County Board Members

Becky Evert, Sauk County Clerk

Fr: Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition

Dear Chair Krueger and Counsel O’Rourke:

We write you today to voice our strong objection to what we see as misleading statements and incorrect advice you gave recently concerning the proposed advisory referendum on nonpartisan redistricting.

Wealthy Walker Donor’s State Forest Project Gets New Life

January 23, 2018

A controversial state forest bike trail and bridge project backed by a wealthy donor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker is getting new life.

Wisconsin Candidate Fundraising Up More Than 550 Percent Over 25 Years

January 22, 2018

As Wisconsin residents brace for another election year for legislative and statewide offices, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found fundraising by Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates shot up more than 550 percent in nearly 25 years.

State OKs Key Permit for Major GOP Donor’s Golf Course

January 18, 2018

The state approved the first in a string of permits sought by a major GOP campaign contributor to build a high-end golf course along the Lake Michigan shore that uses state park land.

Testimony in Opposition to AB 553, the “Anti-BDS Bill”

Before the Assembly Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight

January 17, 2018

(Testimony delivered on January 17, 2018 by Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Matthew Rothschild opposing Assembly Bill 553 that seeks to prevent boycotts against Israel.)

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and honorable members of the Committee. I’m the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which since 1995 has been an advocate for clean and open government, where people matter more than money. I’m also speaking as a Jewish American, who does not believe, not for a minute, that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.

I have the following five problems with this bill.

High Court Candidate’s Campaign Finance Report Lacks Required Donor ID

January 17, 2018

The latest campaign finance report filed by Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns did not identify required occupational information for any of the contributors who gave him more than $200, as required by law.

State’s ‘Whitest’ Districts Tend to Elect GOP Legislators

January 15, 2018

As Wisconsin and the nation prepare to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., a review of U.S. Census data shows Wisconsin residents elect Republican legislators in districts with the highest percentage of white residents, and Democrats in districts with the highest ratio of non-white residents.

Where the Money Is in the 10th Senate Special Election

Candidates are in the final days of campaigning for next Tuesday’s 10th Senate District special election, so here’s a rundown on the money raised by the candidates and the activities and spending by outside groups.