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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Legislative Leaders Add Insult to Injury in Caucus Scandal

Taxpayers who've had their money flagrantly misused by state employees engaged in secret, illegal campaign activity will be fleeced again unless the decision by legislative leaders to use tax funds to pay lawyers to defend legislative caucus staffers is reversed, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Six Well-Heeled Contributors Violate Campaign Finance Laws

Six of Wisconsin’s most generous contributors to Republican and Democratic campaigns violated state campaign finance laws during the first six months of 2001 by exceeding the annual $10,000 limit on contributions, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Reform Coalition Asks Chvala to Allow Vote on Ellis-George Campaign Finance Reform Compromise

A broad coalition of statewide advocacy groups today called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala to clear the way for the full Senate to debate a campaign finance reform bill that won bipartisan approval from a key Senate committee in July.

Blown Save

Governor Scott McCallum’s decision not to veto funding for the legislative caucuses was a missed opportunity for the state’s chief executive but will not set back the effort to rid state government of the corrupt practices the taxpayer-funded caucuses have come to symbolize, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Budget Becomes Campaign Cash Cow as Lawmakers Milk Special Interests for $1.6 Million

It’s no wonder this year’s budget was rife with millions of dollars in benefits and breaks for powerful special interests as legislators and their leadership-run committees raked in $1.6 million in campaign contributions during the first six months of 2001, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Reform Groups Urge McCallum to Veto Funding for Legislative Caucuses

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin today asked Governor Scott McCallum to use his partial veto authority to eliminate funding for the four taxpayer-funded legislative caucuses that are at the center of a growing state government scandal.

Reform Groups File Complaint Over Caucus Scandal

The heads of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause in Wisconsin today filed a formal complaint with the state Elections Board alleging violations of state campaign finance laws by the Democratic and Republican legislative caucuses overseen by legislative leaders in both houses.

WDC Calls on Ethics and Elections Boards to Investigate Legislative Caucus Scandal

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today called on both the state Ethics Board and Elections Board to investigate apparent violations of state ethics and campaign finance laws by state employees working in the four taxpayer-funded legislative caucuses.

State Lawmakers to Voters: Save Your Breath

In the first 100 days of the 2001-02 legislative session, both houses of the state legislature have refused to act on comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation that does what voters overwhelmingly called on their elected representatives to do, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Welfare For Incumbents Turns Legislature Into 'Gated Community'

Nearly $470,000 in state tax dollars are spent annually on the care and feeding of each state legislator in Wisconsin, creating an enormous electoral advantage for current office holders, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported after analyzing the almost $62 million budget for legislative expenses for the 2000-01 fiscal year as well as spending trends in specific expense accounts.

Budget Writers Have Accepted More Than $2 Million in Special Interest Contributions

Joint Finance Committee members who are reviewing the proposed 2001-03 state budget have accepted more than $2 million in campaign contributions from special interests, according to a report released today by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

61 Deep Pockets Give 11% of State Campaign Cash

About five dozen individuals and families representing four-tenths of 1 percent of donors made 11 percent of the total large individual campaign contributions to legislative candidates and statewide officeholders in 1999-2000, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported today.

Special Interest Spending on State School Chief Race to Smash Old Record

Spending by outside interests in the state school superintendent race will easily surpass the previous record and includes a new campaign finance abuse in the form of phony "issue ads" run by a state political party, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported today.

Tightest Budget in Years Still Laced with Special Interest Goodies

Special interests who contribute thousands of dollars a year to the governor and legislative leaders are again seeing their investments pay off through millions of dollars in tax breaks, state funded projects and other proposals in the proposed 2001-03 state budget, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said today.

Mathematically Eliminated

The economics of Wisconsin politics is as screwed up as the economics of major league baseball, with current office holders and favored insiders virtually assured of victory while their rivals are out of contention due to the grotesque imbalance in financial resources, a new Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

WDC Asks McCallum to Continue Thompson's Campaign Reform Pledge

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today asked Governor Scott McCallum to pledge to sign any campaign finance reform legislation that reaches his desk and agree not to use his partial veto authority to alter any bipartisan agreement reached by state lawmakers.

Candidate, Special Interest Spending Soars in 2000

Legislative candidates spent $7.1 million and special interests blew a reported $2.5 million to set new spending records in election year 2000 and send the cost of one senate race soaring to at least $1.7 million, not counting hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional unreported spending on phony issue ads, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis released today.

Green Blizzard Strikes McCallum Campaign Fund in December

Gov. Scott McCallum’s campaign fund accepted special interest campaign contributions faster than the record-setting snow fell in December, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis released today.

Milwaukee Station Aired Little Candidate Issue Discussion

WTMJ Channel 4, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, aired just over a minute of candidates talking about issues each night in the final month of the 2000 campaign, according to a new national study released by the Alliance for Better Campaigns.

Senator Rakes in Banking Money, Casts Deciding Vote to Kill ATM Bill

A week after a bill preventing banks from charging consumers fees to use automatic teller machines (ATMs) was defeated by one vote in the State Senate, an analysis of state campaign finance records by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows a sharp increase in campaign contributions in the last half of 1999 from banking interests to State Senator Kevin Shibilski (D-Stevens Point), who cast the deciding vote on the ATM bill.

Payday Loan Industry Becomes Major Source of Out-of-State Campaign Funds

Payday lenders, mostly from outside of Wisconsin, have become the No. 1 out-of-state special interest contributor during the past two years, contributing thousands of dollars to Gov. Thompson and key legislators who control the fate of legislation to limit the interest rates that the industry charges, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said Monday.

New Campaign Reform Initiative Takes Aim at Partisan Gridlock

A coalition of 20 public interest organizations today unveiled a new campaign finance reform proposal that re-establishes campaign spending limits, tightens limits on campaign donations, creatively addresses independent electioneering by special interest groups and breathes new life into Wisconsin’s once effective system of public financing of election campaigns.