Sunday, April 12, 2009

Common Cause in Wisconsin - In the News
April 2009

  • Area legislators discuss improving politics
    Panel debates campaign finance reform, issue ads' negative effects

    April 23, 2009 - Breann Schossow, The Spectator

    Wisconsin once held a place in the nation as the role model of clean state government and reforms, boasting politicians such as Gov. Robert La Follette and promoting open records and meetings laws.

    That is no longer the case, said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. But that hasn't hindered his hope.

    "In the 13 years since I've been director of Common Cause, I've never been more optimistic about the opportunity to change that," he said.

    On Monday evening, area legislators joined Heck and others to discuss cleaning up politics and campaign finance reform in Hibbard Humanities Hall.

  • Forum tackles election funding

    April 20, 2009 - Blythe Wachter , Leader-Telegram

    Wisconsin once had a reputation of being a model for clean, accountable state government, but that has changed somewhat in the past 20 years, Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, told a crowd Monday during a forum at UW-Eau Claire.

    Heck pointed to the illegal campaign fundraising scandal involving some state legislators a few years ago, as well as money spent by special-interest groups in recent elections.

    But he said he's "never been more optimistic" about campaign finance reform, pointing to recent "proactive action" taken by state legislators, including legislation introduced by forum speakers Reps. Kristen Dexter, D-Eau Claire, and Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire; and Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls. Tom Giffey, Leader-Telegram editorial page editor, also was a speaker.

  • Column: Has time for reform finally arrived?

    April 17, 2009 - Tom Giffey, Leader-Telegram

    "I think the tremendous amount of money in the Supreme Court races ... opened a lot of people's eyes to how bad the current system is," says Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

    "There is a general perception out there that the corrupt status quo favors those in power, so why would those in power move to change it?" Heck says. However, he adds, more legislators are coming to the conclusion "that it's not good for the public to be cynical about them. ... Because what that also means is that if they do anything good, people will be cynical about that."

  • Winners and losers
    April 16, 2009 - Rick Berg, Isthmus

    "Before closing the book on the last week's electoral showdown, let's wander one last time onto the battlefield to shoot the wounded, award medals for bravery and acknowledge other achievements. To wit:

    Lone Wolf Award: Jay Heck. The head of Common Cause in Wisconsin courageously opposed the flow of shadowy third-party money into the "nonpartisan" races for state Supreme Court and Dane County executive. Heck decried the attack ads launched by the Greater Wisconsin Committee, Advancing Wisconsin and even Planned Parenthood, which told voters, 'Nancy Mistele is dangerous to your health.'"

  • Identify contributors to attack ads
    April 12, 2009 - The Journal Times

    Jay Heck, executive director of the advocacy organization Common Cause Wisconsin, predicted in radio interviews [the Government Accountability Board's rule fix] will tone down some of the vitriol. Formerly anonymous contributors might think twice about signing onto the nastiest ads, knowing their names would be attached.