Sunday, March 1, 2009

Common Cause in Wisconsin - In the News
March 2009

  • Amended rule to regulate issue ads on its way to Legislature
    March 31, 2009 - The Daily Cardinal

    According to Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck, interest group spending first became an issue after the 1996 election, when groups began generating anonymously funded attack ads.

    “By avoiding the specific words, [groups] were able to escape having to abide by Wisconsin’s disclosure laws, which require that you have to report the names of the donors,” Heck said. “So they were able to use unregulated anonymous money to run essentially campaign ads.”

    The new amendment, which closes the loophole that allows groups to do this, will likely lead to less third party “attack” ads because donors would have to disclose their names and might be hesitant to be associated with these ads, Heck said.
  • GAB forwards issue ads rule
    March 30, 2009 - WRN - Wisconsin Radio Network

    "They are very negative, and they have a connotation, but because they avoided using the so-called 'magic words,' they escaped regulation, says Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin.

    Heck says the new requirements mean we may hear fewer of these ads. "You're going to find, I think, a lot of people of people who happy to contribute anonymously to these nasty ad very reluctant to have their names attached to the types communications that we've seen in the past," says Heck.

    "The Speaker of the Assembly, Mike Sheridan and the Senate Majority Leader, Russ Decker, have said they are very supportive of this measure, as has the governor," notes Heck. "It would appear this should be able to survive legislative scrutiny." Heck says a court challenge is likely, but he notes similar federal regulations have survived two challenges in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Advocacy groups press for state Supreme Court election reforms
    March 16, 2009 - Green Bay Press Gazette

    "Common Cause executive director Jay Heck said the past two Supreme Court races, including last year’s nasty contest between Justice Louis Butler and eventual winner Michael Gableman, had a horrible tone and were too costly."
  • Top Lawmakers move to freeze pay,
    March 13, 2009 - WKOW Madison

    "This is good news," said Jay Heck of Common Cause Wisconsin. "I think the legislative leadership did the smartest thing they could do."
  • Koschnick defends himself for contributions from lawyers,
    March 8, 2009 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

    "Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said Supreme Court justices and candidates opposing them will always be criticized for taking money from lawyers until a public financing system becomes law.

    "'The only viable and realistic solution in Wisconsin is full public financing for candidates for the state Supreme Court who agree to abide by revised spending limits,' Heck said. 'If you cannot accept any contributions, you cannot be influenced. Period.'"