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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2018 Governor’s Race Cost Record $93M+

Stacks of Bills

January 24, 2019

Spending by the candidates and outside electioneering groups who smeared them in the 2018 governor’s race set a record of more than $93 million, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows.

Wisconsin Attorney General’s Race Cost Record $14M

Championship Medal Backed by Cash

January 24, 2019

The 2018 Wisconsin attorney general’s race cost a record $14 million, with outside electioneering groups sharply outspending the candidates, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review shows.

Subeck, Hansen Push Referendum to Overturn Citizens United

Money Out Voters In Wisconsin

Posted: January 17, 2019
Updated: March 1, 2019

Madison — On Tuesday, January 22, Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) will be holding a press conference to unveil their resolutions (AJR11 and SJR9) that would give Wisconsinites a chance to weigh in on the role of big money in elections. The resolutions propose a statewide advisory referendum urging our elected officials to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and related Supreme Court rulings, and to declare that only flesh-and-blood human beings have constitutional rights.

Here’s a Look at the Largest Contributors to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates

Judge's Gavel

January 16, 2019

Two appeals court judges vying for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in April raised a combined $641,000 in the last half of 2018, and many of their largest contributors were longtime partisan donors.

Here’s Why Criminalizing Drunk Driving Faces a Tough Road in Wisconsin

Car Keys and Beverage

January 14, 2019

Renewed efforts to criminalize first-offense drunk driving in Wisconsin face tough prospects despite support from a bipartisan group of state legislators and a new Democratic governor.

Why "Marsy's Law" Is Flawed

Wisconsin Assembly Chambers

January 9, 2019

Matt Rothschild’s testimony for today’s hearing on “Marsy’s Law,” a victims’ rights resolution that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign opposes, as it would violate the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution passed in the last session of the legislature, and if it passes in this session, it would then go to statewide referendum to amend Wisconsin’s constitution. The Wisconsin resolution is part of a nationwide effort spearheaded by the billionaire Henry Nicholas, who has spent $72 million in six other states so far to amend their constitutions, according to Forbes. In the last legislative session in Wisconsin, a lobbying group calling itself Marsy’s Law for Wisconsin, LLC, spent a whopping $864,710 on the resolution here.

Diane Hendricks Tops Wisconsin Donors in Federal Races

Wisconsin Money

January 9, 2019

One Wisconsinite made it into the top 100 donors in federal races in the last election cycle, and that’s Diane Hendricks of ABC Supply in Beloit.

ATC Execs Throw Money Around in Madison

Power Lines

January 8, 2019

Senior executives of the two companies building a controversial powerline in southwestern Wisconsin have been greasing the skids in Madison.

Two Appeals Judges On April Ballot for Open Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat

Wisconsin Supreme Court Chambers

January 3, 2018

Two state appeals court judges are on the April 2 ballot to replace retiring Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

Influence Peddler of the Month – National Rifle Association

Pistol with Stacks of Cash

Posted: January 2, 2019
Updated: Corrects 9th paragraph to say bill did not pass

 

In Wisconsin, the National Rifle Association spent just over $1 million in 2018 on electioneering activities in legislative and statewide elections. It was one of only a handful of powerful special interests to surpass the seven-figure mark for election spending last year.

Lame Duck Bill Helps Ashley Furniture, Walker Donors

Duck on a couch

December 18, 2018

One lame duck bill that got little notice helps Ashley Furniture, whose executives are big contributors to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker Got $5K From Kimberly-Clark Employees

Paper Manufacturing

December 14, 2018

Republican Gov. Scott Walker received more than $5,000 in campaign contributions from Kimberly-Clark employees over the last eight years. Walker just announced a gift of $28 million in taxpayer dollars to Kimberly-Clark, which planned to close plants in the Fox Valley unless it received state aid.

Walker Appointees Gave His Campaign $16K+

Man in suit proffering cash

December 11, 2018

About 1 in 5 appointees by outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to state councils and boards who were approved by the state Senate last week contributed more than $16,000 to the governor’s campaign.

Anti-Prevailing Wage Bill is Part of Lame Duck

Money Behind Barrier and Road Cones

December 4, 2018

A bill that would let the state avoid complying with federal wage laws for some highway projects was among a package of controversial lame-duck measures the GOP-controlled Senate and Assembly was set to consider Tuesday.

Influence Peddler of the Month – Democratic Attorneys General Association

Democratic Attorneys General Association

December 3, 2018

This Washington, D.C.-based group spent nearly $2.2 million in the homestretch of the Nov. 6 elections to help elect Democrat Josh Kaul as Wisconsin’s new attorney general.

Walker’s Board Bans Food Safety Ratings of Restaurants

Kitchen Restaurant

November 30, 2018

A state consumer protection board appointed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker has sided with the restaurant industry to prohibit local governments from using grading systems to tell the public about restaurant food safety.

Record Spending by Outside Groups in 2018

Trophies Sitting on Steps

Posted: November 29, 2018
Updated: March 5, 2019 due to amended reports filed by the groups

About four dozen wealthy special interest groups doled out more than $60 million to mostly smear candidates during the 2018 fall legislative and statewide elections, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary review found.

Ex-DNR Employee Says Agency Was Pressured to Approve Big Donor’s Golf Course

Golf Ball

November 12, 2018

A former Department of Natural Resources employee says the agency was pressured to approve permits for a high-end golf course along Lake Michigan by the Kohler Co., whose owner is a major contributor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Pro-Democracy Referendums Pass in Wisconsin, Elsewhere

American and Wisconsin Flags Over the State Capitol Dome

November 8, 2018

On Nov. 6, voters in Wisconsin and around the country demonstrated that they want more democracy.

Reported Electioneering Group Spending Tops $36M in Fall Elections

Faceless Figures Celebrating

November 7, 2018

About four dozen special interest groups reported a record $36.5 million in independent expenditures in Wisconsin’s statewide and legislative fall elections, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign preliminary review.

Referendums on Fair Maps and $ in Politics in Dozen Wisconsin Communities

Ballot Box

November 5, 2018

On Election Day tomorrow, voters in a dozen communities in Wisconsin will be asked to weigh in on referendums dealing with banning gerrymandering or overturning the Citizens United decision.

Record Spending by Express Advocacy Groups in Wisconsin

Facelss Champions

Posted: November 1, 2018
Updated: November 20, 2018

This is a list of the record-breaking spending by independent expenditure groups in Wisconsin in this election, as of Nov. 1. Most of the spending has been for the governor’s race and the race for attorney general. Almost all of the rest has been for state senate and state assembly seats.