Wisconsin Democratic Party’s Letter Concerning the Elections Board’s May Decision on Issue Ads

I understand your frustrations and the frustrations of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and I would like to say up front that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is 100 percent committed to campaign finance reform. This was simply the wrong time for the Elections Board to promulgate an emergency rule. Wisconsin Democratic Party’s Letter Concerning the Elections Board’s May Decision on Issue Ads

June 2, 2004

The fall election is less than six months away. Campaigns are ongoing, plans have been made and are already being implemented. To pass an emergency rule mere months before an election is unfair to all parties involved because it changes the rules in the middle of the game.

While many proponents of the rule paint this as a cut and dried issue they neglect to point out that the Elections Boards own attorney, George Dunst, thinks that this rule might be unconstitutional and would definitely be challenged in a long drawn out expensive court battle. Too many state resources are already going to pay lawyer fees and dedicating tens-of-thousands-of-dollars to defend a rule that their own attorney doesn’t support would be a waste of precious resources. It is no secret that the Elections Board is woefully underfunded and understaffed and putting a majority of their resources into defending a lawsuit they are likely to lose would make it even harder for them to do their job.

This rule may be the right path for the State of Wisconsin and the State Elections Board and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, but that is certainly not clear yet. We should not jump headlong into something that could impact the 2004 election and the ability of the Elections Board to do their job effectively unless we have given it careful study.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin simply feels that there are too many unknowns to proceed with an emergency rule at this point. However, we will continue to examine this rule and try to seek out ways to resolve our concern.

Kim Warkentin, Executive Director
Linda Honold, Chair
Democratic Party of Wisconsin