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

Outline of Wisconsin Filled with Money

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.

State Republican Party is Screnock’s Largest Contributor

Judge Michael Screnock

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 Leaders Bow to Special Interests on “Dark Store” Bills

Person Kneeling in Derelict Building

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

Paper Manufacturing Plant

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.

Walker Signs Rate Settlement Bill Backed by Utilities

Electric Meter

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

Counties That Have Passed Fair Maps Resolutions

Grassroots movement to limit gerrymandering gains momentum

February 1, 2018

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

RSLC Logo

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.

Rent-to-Own Shills Push Anti-Consumer Bill

Rent-to-own TV

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.

Hendricks Clan Contributes $80K to Walker

Diane Hendricks

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

Walker Next to Welcome to Wisconsin Sign
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.

Landlords Win in the Assembly

Faceless landlord kicking out faceless tenant

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

Senator Scott Fitzgerald

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.

Open Letter to the Sauk County Board on Redistricting

Wisconsin Deserves Fair Maps

January 23, 2018

(Open letter to Sauk County Board Chair regarding nonpartisan redistricting.)

Wealthy Walker Donor’s State Forest Project Gets New Life

Bicylists on Trail through Woods

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

Coin Stacks

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

Kohler-Andrae State Park

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”

Boycott Ban

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.)

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

Blind Justice Statue

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

January 12, 2018

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

The special election pits Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, against Democrat Patty Schachtner, of Somerset, who is St. Croix County’s medical examiner. The election was called after longtime GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf resigned her northwestern Wisconsin Senate seat last month to become Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary.

Most of the spending by the candidates and groups has been for radio, digital and television advertisements and mailings.

The latest campaign finance reports show Jarchow and Schachtner raised nearly $450,000 and spent about $340,000 as of Jan. 1. The bulk of the candidates’ fundraising came from their respective state parties, partisan legislative candidate and fundraising committees, and special interest political action committees.

In addition to the candidates, at least four special interest groups – one Democratic and three Republican – have interfered in the election. Here’s how:

Greater Wisconsin Committee’s independent expenditure arm reported spending $30,000 on digital ads to support Schachtner and oppose Jarchow;

Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance, which is affiliated with the Wisconsin Realtors Association, has sponsored two mailings that praised Jarchow, claiming he has backed legislation to make houses more affordable and reduce income and property taxes;

Americans for Prosperity has sponsored 60-second radio and 15-second digital advertisements supporting Jarchow. The advertisements claim Jarchow supported policies that created jobs and cut taxes for families and small businesses;

Republican State Leadership Committee has sponsored a 60-second radio ad and a mailing that accused Schachtner of wasteful spending and supporting higher taxes.

The Republican groups are phony issue ad outfits that refuse to disclose their fundraising and spending activities. Greater Wisconsin’s activities are disclosed, but the group has frequently sponsored phony issue ads in past elections.

Americans for Prosperity, a rightwing electioneering group created by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was created to support Republican and conservative candidates for federal, state and local offices around the country. Since January 2010, the group has spent an estimated $5.7 million on Wisconsin legislative and statewide elections.

The Republican State Leadership Committee is a Virginia-based group that supports Republican candidates for state and legislative offices in Wisconsin and around the country. Since January 2010, the group has spent more than $2.7 million on Wisconsin elections.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee uses four entities to support Democratic and liberal candidates for legislative and statewide offices. All told, the committee arms have spent more than $30 million on Wisconsin elections since January 2010.

Republican Bills Would Prohibit Numerous Local Labor Rules

Workers

January 11, 2018

A gang of business, banking, rightwing ideological, and other powerful special interests are backing GOP bills that would prohibit local governments from passing a variety of labor-related ordinances.

Stop the Attacks on Elections and Ethics Commissions Leaders

Sen. Fitzgerald (left), Rep. Vos (right)

An open letter to Fitzgerald, Vos and Wisconsin State Senators

Burns, Dallet Appear Wealthier Than Screnock

Gavel on a layer of cash

January 10, 2018

The three candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court have filed financial statements, which appear to show Madison attorney Tim Burns and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Frank Dallet are wealthier than Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock.