Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform

Comprehensive campaign finance reform bill from the 2007-08 Wisconsin Legislature. Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform

Special Session Senate Bill 1

February 2008

On November 30, 2007 Governor Doyle called a special session on campaign finance reform, to begin on December 11. A comprehensive reform plan was formally introduced on January 22, 2008 at the governor’s request as December 2007 Special Session Senate Bill 1.

The bill combines the Ellis-Erpenbach bill (Senate Bill 12) and the Impartial Justice bill (Senate Bill 171). The package provides public financing of all state races and full public financing of state Supreme Court elections. It bans fundraising during the state budget process and eliminates leadership-controlled campaign fundraising committees. The bill requires full disclosure of special interest electioneering done under the guise of so-called "issue advocacy," and places restrictions on the source of funds used for this campaign advertising. But it updates the SB 12 provision regulating special interest campaign ads to take into account the June 2007 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wisconsin Right to Life case challenging the federal McCain-Feingold campaign reform law.

Special session SB 1 was introduced and referred to the committee on Campaign Finance Reform, Rural Issues and Information Technology on January 22, 2008. The committee held a public hearing on the bill February 12, 2008 (WDC’s testimony). The committee approved it on a 3-1 vote on February 28, 2008.