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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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.

Scott Walker, Hypocrite Extraordinaire!

Gov. Scott Walker spent part of New Year’s Eve whining again about the remote possibility that he might be outspent in his reelection campaign.

Influence Peddler of the Month for January 2018 - Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC)

January 2, 2018

(This profile updates information and figures in a previous June 2015 feature on WMC.)

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is the state’s largest business organization and consistently one of the biggest spenders on outside electioneering activities and on lobbying.

See Who Is Holding Up the 'Dark Store' Bills

Posted: December 13, 2017
Updated: January 10, 2018

Six months ago, a group of bipartisan legislators sponsored two bills that would close a loophole that big box stores and other companies use to lower their tax assessments.

WDC Statement on GOP Attacks on Elections, Ethics Commission Administrators

I appear before you today to give you our views on the disgusting witch hunt that has been launched against Brian Bell, your Ethics Commission Administrator, and Mike Haas, the Elections Commission Administrator, and indeed anyone who was connected with the old Government Accountability Board.

Special Election Candidates Advance in Legislative Races

Here's a look at the fundraising and contributors to the Democratic and Republican candidates who won primaries on Tuesday in three special elections for vacant legislative seats. Candidates in two of the races – the 10th Senate District and the 58th Assembly District – will face off in a Jan. 16 election.

Walker Appoints GOP Senator as New Ag Secretary

Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Friday appointed a longtime western Wisconsin Republican state senator as the state’s new agriculture secretary.

Koch Brothers, WMC Behind Mining Law

 December 12, 2017

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a controversial bill into law on Monday that ends the state’s sulfide mining moratorium at the behest of powerful business and rightwing ideological interests that have spent more than $14 million to help elect him.

Republican AG Sides with Construction Industry on State Sprinkler Rule

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel is siding with the construction industry, which has donated nearly $170,000 to his campaign, saying the state can’t require sprinkler systems to fight fires in apartment buildings with 20 units or fewer.