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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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.

Republican Bills Would Prohibit Numerous Local Labor Rules

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

An open letter to Fitzgerald, Vos and Wisconsin State Senators

Burns, Dallet Appear Wealthier Than Screnock

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.

Here's What Special Interests Are Up to in 10th Senate Special Election

At least three special interest groups are sponsoring ads and mailings against the Democratic and Republican candidates in an upcoming special election for the vacant 10 th Senate District seat.

Here’s What Special Interests Are Up to in 10th Senate Special Election

Here’s What Special Interests Are Up to in 10th Senate Special Election

January 8, 2018

At least three special interest groups are sponsoring ads and mailings against the Democratic and Republican candidates in an upcoming special election for the vacant 10th Senate District seat.

GOP Lawmaker Gets Warning About Possible Ethics Law Violation

The Wisconsin Ethics Commission told a Republican lawmaker it had “reasonable suspicion” that he violated state ethics laws for promoting his roofing business on state-managed social media accounts.

GOP Bill a Favor to Real Estate Industry

The real estate industry is supporting a GOP legislative proposal that makes sweeping changes to landlord-tenant laws and restricts local governments from enacting ordinances or charging fees to inspect rental properties.