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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10 Questions for Wisconsin State Candidates

Boy asking questions of a candidate

June 22, 2018

1. Are you for banning gerrymandering in Wisconsin? In other words, do you back the Iowa model of independent, nonpartisan, and transparent map drawing by career civil servants – not the party in power?

2. Are you in favor of rewriting our campaign finance law to ban corporations, unions, and other groups from giving directly to political parties and legislative campaign committees?

Road Project Companies Contributed $220K+ to Walker’s Campaign

Traffic Cones

June 20, 2018

Owners and employees of nine of the 15 companies picked by the state to rebuild a portion of Interstate 94 have contributed about $221,200 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns.

Outside Groups Spent $4M+ So Far on Legislative, Statewide Elections

$100 Bills

June 18, 2018

Twenty special interests groups spent an estimated $4.1 million so far this year on a statewide spring election and three legislative special elections.

Corporate Welfare Recipients Contributed $800K+ to Walker

Hands Shaking Before Falling Dollars

June 13, 2018

Owners and employees from about two dozen companies that received corporate welfare from the state in 2017 have contributed more than $800,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign.

Redistricting Leaves Nearly 2.5 Million Residents With No Choice in Legislative Elections

Locked Ballot Box

Posted: June 6, 2018
Updated: June 12, 2018

(This article has been revised to reflect changes to the fall legislative ballot made by the Wisconsin Elections Commission on June 11.)

Nearly 2.5 million Wisconsin residents will have little or no choice in the fall elections about who represents them in the state legislature, according to a review by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Special Election Candidates Get Most Contributions from Outside Their Districts

Polling Place Sign with Luggage

June 11, 2018

The major party candidates on the ballot in Tuesday’s legislative special elections accepted about $3 of every $4 in large individual contributions from outside of the districts they want to represent, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Group, Candidate Spending Tops $1.2M in Two Legislative Special Elections

Dollars Floating on Black Background

June 8, 2018

Candidates and outside special interest groups have spent more than $1.2 million in two legislative special elections the voters will decide June 12.

High Court Approves New Factory Farm Sought by Large GOP Contributors

Factory Dairy

June 5, 2018

Owners of a proposed factory farm who are generous contributors to GOP legislative and statewide candidates can go ahead with their controversial project in Wood County, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Outside Spending Mounts in Senate Special Election

Stacks of Hundred Dollar Bills

June 1, 2018

Outside group spending is escalating in a special election in northeastern Wisconsin’s 1st Senate District, where Democratic organizations were outspending a Republican group nearly 2-to-1.

Influence Peddler of the Month for June 2018 - American Federation for Children

June 1, 2018

(This profile updates information and figures in a previous October 2016 feature.)

This is a pro-school-voucher group based in Washington, D.C., that has spent more than $6.5 million on outside electioneering activities to back mostly Republican legislative candidates in Wisconsin since 2010.

Dem Groups Boost Spending in Special Elections

Cash Register

May 30, 2018

Outside groups supporting Democrats are pouring money into two upcoming legislative special elections in Wisconsin.

The elections in the 1st Senate and 42nd Assembly districts are scheduled June 12 to fill the vacant seats.

Wisconsin Pols Took Contributions from Accused Drug Makers


May 24, 2018

Five drug makers accused of stoking the nation’s opioid epidemic in lawsuits filed by Wisconsin counties contributed more than $39,000 to Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates.

More than three-quarters of Wisconsin’s 72 counties sued the pharmaceutical manufacturers last year, accusing them of fraudulently marketing painkillers that led to an epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths that has cost the counties millions of dollars in social service, law enforcement, and health care costs.

State Investigating Incident at Sand Mine Owned by Large Walker Donor


May 23, 2018

The state is investigating the release of an estimated 10 million gallons of sludge into the Trempealau River by a sand mining company whose owner is a large Republican Party contributor.

The company, Hi-Crush Proppants, of Houston, Tex., said it released the muddy water in a holding pond on Monday to free a bulldozer driver who had slipped into the pond.  The water and bright orange sediment flowed into nearby farm fields and a tributary and into the river.

Major Walker Donor Named Chief Planner for Foxconn Project

May 15, 2018

A company owned by a major donor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker was named the chief planner for the taxpayer-subsidized Foxconn manufacturing plant.

Foxconn said Monday that the Hammes Co., in Milwaukee, was chosen to be the lead developer for the 2,900-acre project. The company is led by Jon Hammes, who is Walker’s campaign finance chairman for his November reelection bid. Hammes was also finance chairman for Walker’s brief 2015 GOP presidential campaign.

State GOP Backing Newcomer in State Senate Special Election

May 10, 2018

The state Republican Party is backing a newcomer over a GOP Assembly lawmaker in next week's primary for a special election in the 1st Senate District.

Recent campaign finance reports show Alex Renard, a manager at his family-owned Renco Machine Co. in Green Bay, received about $34,400 in in-kind contributions last month from the state GOP. Renard faces Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, in a May 15 primary. Jacque, who has been elected to two-year terms to the Assembly since 2010, has not received any party contributions in his bid for the Senate seat.

Judge Nixes DNR Permit for Proposed Sand Mine

May 7, 2018

A state permit to allow an out-of-state company to destroy a rare wetland in order to build a frac sand mine in western Wisconsin has been invalidated by a judge.

Nancy MacLean’s Dire Warning

May 4, 2018

Our democracy is at a “historic turning point,” said Nancy MacLean, the author of “Democracy in Chains,” last night in Madison, where she was the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s annual celebration.

The Duke University historian likened our current situation to two other perilous periods in U.S. history: the Civil War and the 1930s. In both those periods, she said, “the property supremacists” were trying to prevail over the advocates of democracy.

Today, the Koch Brothers and their big-donor network represent those who value property rights over democratic rights.

New GOP Law May Increase Water Pollution, Flooding in Some Communities

April 26, 2018

Developers and other special interests were behind a new state law that cuts the amount of storm water runoff that local governments may regulate.

New State Law Prohibits Communities From Regulating Drones

April 20, 2018

A new state law approved by the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Scott Walker prevents communities from regulating drones.

Walker Signs Landlord-Backed Bill Easing Rental Inspections

April 17, 2018

A bill backed by landlords that imposes restrictions on rental inspections conducted by local governments was signed into law on Monday by GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker Signs WMC, Koch-Backed Bill to Limit Work Rules by Local Governments

April 17, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on Monday that prohibits local governments from passing or enforcing numerous employment rules.

Robin Vos’s Title Loan Trip Troubles

April 13, 2018

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’s ties to a title loan company in Georgia have put him in hot water.