Thursday, December 30, 2010

In the News - December 2011




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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waukesha D.A. "Surrenders" to Jensen/G.A.B. Disclosure Rule About to be Weakened?/More



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update - December 21, 2010
  1. Former Assembly Speaker Scott Johnson Gets a Gentle Pat on the Back
  2. Government Accountability Board to Capitulate on Needed Campaign Disclosure?
  3. Upcoming State Supreme Court Election to Showcase New "Impartial Justice" Reform



1. Is there a separate standard of justice for the political class than for ordinary Wisconsin citizens? It appears so. Yesterday, in a stunning development, in the almost decade-long Legislative Caucus Scandal saga, the Waukesha County District Attorney announced a settlement (or -- more accurately -- a surrender) with former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen who was criminally charged more than eight years ago for three counts of felony misconduct in public office: Jensen settles misconduct case; felonies dropped and Former state legislator settles misconduct case.

The settlement? A $5,000 forfeiture in exchange for dropping the felony charges. Oh, and Jensen must repay (with interest?) Wisconsin taxpayers the $67,000 he utilized to pay for lawyers in 2001-2002 before he was criminally charged in October of 2002 (along with former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti, former Assistant Majority Leader Bonnie Ladwig and former State Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala). Four years ago, Jensen was tried by a jury of his peers and found guilty of three felony counts and a misdemeanor and sentenced to 15 months in prison. But a new trial was ordered on appeal because of a technicality and the new trial venue was moved from Dane County, where Jensen's alleged crimes were committed, to Waukesha County--his home county (only legislators in Wisconsin can "choose" where to be tried). Waukesha County D.A. Brad Schimel apparently never seriously considered a trial, saying the job would have overwhelmed his office. So, instead, in the plea deal with Jensen's lawyers, Schimel just surrendered. And so a major player in the most sweeping and serious political scandal in Wisconsin's history can now go "Scott free" off into a "bright, bright sunshiny day," which he actually had the audacity to cite in his statement yesterday. Incredible.



2.
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board was created in 2006-2007 as a direct reaction to the scandal involving Jensen. It has done a commendable job thus far in enforcing Wisconsin's ethics and campaign finance laws and updating them. Last Summer, an administrative ruled promulgated by the G.A.B. and strongly supported by CC/WI went into effect that would require outside special interest groups who ran campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy to disclose their donors - just as candidates and groups seeking to influence the outcome of an election must do and have done for decades. But the rule that went into effect on August 1st was challenged by several of the outside special interest groups. The G.A.B. attempted to reach a settlement with them and keep the rule in effect, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court jumped into the fray in August and voted 4 to 3 to block disclosure from being in effect for the 2010 Fall election campaigns. The Court last month decided to rule on the constitutionality of the rule in March of 2011.

Yesterday afternoon, the G.A.B. issued a notice for a meeting tomorrow to pass an "emergency rule" to clarify the earlier disclosure rule. CC/WI is analyzing the rule to see if it significantly backs away from the disclosure Wisconsin needs to enable voters to know who is trying to influence their vote at election time. This development and the issuance of the emergency rule right before Christmas had not been on the radar screen and we will investigate whether or not this is a significant departure from the previously strong and principled position the G.A.B. has consistently taken with regard to the issue of campaign finance disclosure. We hope not. But stay tuned.......



3. Believe it or not, the campaign for the next election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is well underway. Justice David Prosser is running for re-election for a new ten-year-term and thus far three challengers have stepped forward. The primary election in February will winnow the field down to two candidates and the general election will be in April. This is the first election being held since the enactment into law of Wisconsin's landmark "Impartial Justice" law which CC/WI strongly supported and which was enacted into law a little more than a year ago - the most sweeping campaign finance reform in Wisconsin since 1977.

To see why this law is so important and how it will work in the upcoming State Supreme Court election you can watch this program taped yesterday by Wisconsin Eye in which the CC/WI executive director and top officials of the Wisconsin G.A.B discuss the genesis and implementation of "Impartial Justice" with moderator Steve Walters.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a healthy and happy 2011 from Common Cause in Wisconsin!

To make a year-end contribution to support the reform work of CC/WI, please go here. Thanks!



Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


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Friday, December 17, 2010

Bill Kraus - CC/WI State Governing Board Co-Chair




Bill Kraus

Bill Kraus is a native of Marshfield and was a long time resident of Stevens Point. He has been the Co-Chair of Common Cause in Wisconsin since 1995 and served on the National Governing Board of National Common Cause from 2004 to 2007.

 Bill was a long-time Republican strategist in Wisconsin and was instrumental in the election of Governor Warren Knowles in 1964, 1966 and 1968 and in the election of Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus in 1978. He then served as the Director of Communications for Dreyfus from 1979 to 1983 and then as an executive for the Sentry Insurance Company.

Bill's political writings have appeared in many publications and he is a regular commentator on Wisconsin Public Radio and a blogger on CC/WI's blog: WisconsinPoliticalFix.org and other sites.

Bill attended Carleton College and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.

He lives in Madison and is married to Toni Sikes.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wisconsin Legislature Should Pass Redistricting Reform and Disclosure Legislation When it Comes Back to Ratify Labor Contracts This Week


Press Release
December 14, 2010


CONTACT:
Jay Heck – 608/256-2686



REDISTRICTING REFORM AND DISCLOSURE LAW SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE
LEGISLATIVE AGENDA WITH LABOR CONTRACTS THIS WEEK

The Wisconsin Legislature will apparently call itself into Extraordinary Session this week to consider pending public employee contracts due to expire soon. While they are in session, the State Senate ought to do two other very important things for the citizens of Wisconsin before the end of 2010.

The completion and compilation of the 2010 Census - which counts the number and location of Wisconsin citizens - means that the process of legislative (and Congressional) redistricting will begin in 2011. The current method of redistricting in Wisconsin is among the most partisan and secretive of any such process in the nation and ought to be reformed. The Wisconsin Legislature ought to expand the call of the session for the labor contracts to include passing legislation to establish a non-partisan redistricting process such as the one they have had in Iowa since 1980. It ought to be done now, this year, before Wisconsin's current redistricting process kicks into gear -- behind closed doors and costing Wisconsin taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The Wisconsin Legislature should also pass legislation requiring outside special interest groups who run campaign communications disguised as issue advocacy to disclose their donors. This is something they neglected to pass last April and Common Cause in Wisconsin was the first organization in the state to call for the Legislature to come back in December and get this done.

For more on the disclosure measure, read this recent editorial. You can also listen to CC/WI explain the need for disclosure in a recent Wisconsin Public Radio segment.

Passing redistricting reform and disclosure now will clear the way for the new Wisconsin Legislature and Governor to work on improving the economy and creating jobs -- their stated priority during the campaign that ended on November 2nd. It will also provide the citizens of Wisconsin with a much needed boost in confidence that their state government is doing something positive for their interests rather than for narrow partisan and deep-pocketed special interests.

_________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
http://www.commoncausewisconsin.org/

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In the News - November 2010






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Monday, November 22, 2010

Wisconsin Legislature Should Pass Disclosure Legislation When it Comes Back in December to Ratify Public Employee Contracts


Press Release
November 22, 2010


CONTACT:
Jay Heck – 608/256-2686



WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE SHOULD PASS DISCLOSURE LEGISLATION IN DECEMBER WHEN THEY COME BACK TO VOTE ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CONTRACTS

Disclosure Law Needed Now Before State Supreme Court Election Heats Up
Early in 2011

Last week, State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan said they would call the Wisconsin Legislature back into session in December to vote to finalize contracts for thousands of state employees before the Republicans take over in January.  They should also complete some critical unfinished business dating back from last April when they adjourned the 2009-2010 Wisconsin Legislature without passing legislation to require the disclosure of the donors of those millions of dollars of campaign ads masquerading as issue advocacy.

Millions of dollars of ads -- most of them negative -- were run by outside special interest groups during state elections in Wisconsin for Governor and for the State Senate and Assembly during the campaign season that ended on November 2nd. Documentation of more than $10 million spent by special interest groups during 2010 making disclosed expenditures were released Monday by the Government Accountability Board but the G.A.B. was not able to report millions of dollars of undisclosed expenditures that were made to influence the voters of Wisconsin because of the failure of the Wisconsin Legislature to pass disclosure legislation and because a narrow 4 to 3 majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended a G.A.B. rule requiring disclosure of the donors of these outside groups that went into effect last August 1st.

On August 13th, a bitterly divided Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4 (Gableman, Prosser, Rogensack and Ziegler) to 3 (Abrahamson, Bradley and Crooks) decision to block from continuing in effect, a disclosure rule that would require outside organizations trying to influence the outcome of elections in Wisconsin -- through campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy -- to disclose their donors and register with the state: Court halts rule on political ads. The rule, which was promulgated by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) -- and not opposed by the Wisconsin Legislature -- took effect on August 1st. But the narrow majority on the court -- in an act of incredible and hypocritical judicial aggressiveness -- intervened at the behest of several outside special interest groups seeking to preserve the corrupt status quo - preventing disclosure of these phony issue ads.

The need for the Legislature to act in December is critical. First, it needs to trump the irresponsible action of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in blocking the G.A.B. rule. Passage of disclosure legislation that would then be signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle would accomplish that. Second, the campaign for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat currently occupied by Justice David Prosser is already underway. Unless the Legislature passes disclosure legislation in December it is likely that hundreds of thousands -- and perhaps millions of dollars worth of undisclosed campaign ads masquerading as issue advocacy will begin to air in January. Should the citizens of Wisconsin be forced to endure yet another campaign dominated by outside special interest groups without knowing who is behind the money? Unless the Legislature passes disclosure legislation and Doyle signs it into law it is almost certain that Wisconsinites will be subjected to another nasty state supreme court campaign awash in secret money.

This is not a partisan question of doing this while the Democrats control the Legislature and Wisconsin has a Democratic Governor. It needs to be done now in order for disclosure to be in effect for the upcoming State Supreme Court election this winter and during early next Spring.

Decker, Sheridan and Doyle should act now for the sake of future elections in Wisconsin. Beginning with the election just ahead in early 2011. It would be a great victory for transparency in Wisconsin and a welcome holiday gift for Wisconsinites of all political persuasions.

_________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
http://www.commoncausewisconsin.org/

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Disclosure is the Top Reform Priority in the Aftermath of Election Day 2010


Press Release
November 8, 2010


CONTACT:

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

Common Cause in Wisconsin has been practically a "one-note Johnny" this Fall - pushing for meaningful disclosure of the donors to outside spending groups trying to influence the outcome of elections at the state (and federal) level. In the aftermath of the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court's bitterly divided 5 to 4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision this past January, disclosure is essential.

After last Tuesday -- and the unprecedented amount of money spent on undisclosed campaign communications -- disclosure is even more critical than ever. Whether it will occur legislatively, remains to be seen. Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (defeated) and Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (defeated) all expressed public support for disclosure, but never got together to make it happen -- despite our repeated calls and those of Wisconsin newspaper editorial boards to to so.

It is now up to Republican Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and likely Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald to make it happen in 2011. Will they do it? So far it doesn't seem that disclosure is a priority for them. Not yet, anyway. We may have to insist that they do it. Minnesota did. Surely, Wisconsin can do as much.

The Oshkosh Northwestern, in an editorial last Friday, agrees.

__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

In the News - October 2010



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lack of Disclosure of Most Outside Special Interest Group Spending Leaves Voters in the Dark



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update - October 28, 2010
  1. Undisclosed Attack Ads Flood Wisconsin Airwaves
  2. Legislators and Citizens Discuss Reform at Forum in Appleton
  3. Minnesota Does Disclosure Right



1. "Thanks" to an irresponsible and reckless decision made by a narrow majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in August, Wisconsin citizens will never know who is funding the millions of dollars worth of political attack ads from outside special interest groups that are airing almost every minute of the day and night attempting to influence the outcome of state elections.

On August 13th, a bitterly divided Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4 (Gableman, Prosser, Rogensack and Ziegler) to 3 (Abrahamson, Bradley and Crooks) decision to block from continuing in effect, a disclosure rule that would require outside organizations trying to influence the outcome of elections in Wisconsin -- through campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy -- to disclose their donors and register with the state: Court halts rule on political ads. The rule, which was promulgated by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) -- and not opposed by the Wisconsin Legislature -- took effect on August 1st. But the narrow majority on the court -- in an act of incredible and hypocritical judicial aggressiveness -- intervened at the behest of several outside special interest groups seeking to preserve the corrupt status quo - preventing disclosure of these phony issue ads.

Since the Court's injunction in mid-August, the citizens of Wisconsin have been robbed of needed transparency in our elections. CC/WI strongly supported the GAB rule and has been pushing for transparency and disclosure of the donors of phony issue ads since we first proposed a similar rule and legislation back in 1997.

The State Supremes have not acted in either a timely or expeditious manner in deciding this issue. Two and a half months after suspending the GAB disclosure rule, there is still no decision from the Court. They should never have intervened in the first place. The matter had already been decided by the nation's highest court last January. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that more robust disclosure can and should be required of organizations that seek to influence the outcome of an election -- as the phony issue ads run in Wisconsin clearly do.

As a result, Wisconsin has been ground zero in the nation in the number of undisclosed communications made by outside groups in Gubernatorial elections. Wisconsin voters will also have no idea who the donors are behind the hundreds of thousands of dollars of communications being spent on statewide and legislative elections.

A Milwaukee television news report earlier this week provides a clear and concise summary of this entire situation and what is at stake.

Wisconsin's largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized on the secrecy problem on Tuesday.

And if Wisconsin is "ground zero" for undisclosed communications by outside special interest groups, then the Fox Valley is ground zero in Wisconsin.



2.
This past Monday evening, Common Cause in Wisconsin hosted another in our series of "reform forums" around Wisconsin to talk to and hear from citizens all over the state about the need for political reform. More than 60 citizens gathered in Appleton at Lawrence University to hear opening remarks from Wisconsin State Representatives Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) and Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton), Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and Jay Heck, CC/WI's excutive director.

The need for disclosure of outside special interest group campaign communications, public financing, redistricting reform, state budget reform and the need to ratchet down the unprecedented partisan rancor in the state were all discussed. Citizens asked many excellent questions and offered insightful opinions. You can see the Wisconsin Eye coverage of the forum here.



3. The Green Bay Packers finally prevailed over the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Farvre last Sunday, to the delight of most Wisconsinites. But when it comes to requiring the disclosure of the donors to outside special interest groups making campaign communications, Minnesota is way ahead of Wisconsin. When the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed the flood of corporate and union treasury money to drown out the voices of citizens in the Citizens United decision last January, the Minnesota Legislature acted swiftly to require disclosure of those entities donating to "front" groups running campaign communications. In Wisconsin, the Legislature adjourned in April without reaching agreement on disclosure legislation.

The Minnesota Legislature -- unlike the Vikings and Favre -- got the job done and now have the disclosure law Wisconsin needs.



Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Campaign Finance and Election Reform Take Center Stage in Appleton on Monday, October 25th


Press Release
October 21, 2010


CONTACT:
Jay Heck – 608/256-2686



CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM PUBLIC FORUM
TO TACKLE VITAL POLITICAL REFORM ISSUES

Monday Evening, October 25th at Lawrence University


6:30 - 8:00 PM

Warch Campus Center 225 (Hurvis Room)
Lawrence University
711 E. Boldt Way, Appleton, WI

Campaign finance and political reform has been a major focus in the Wisconsin Legislature and in the media over the past year -- and with good reason:

Unprecedented amounts of political cash -- much of it undisclosed from outside special interest groups -- is being spent in Wisconsin's elections for Governor, for control of the Wisconsin Legislature and for the U.S. House and Senate.

On December 1st, the most significant, substantive campaign finance reform in Wisconsin in 30 years became law when the Governor signed the “Impartial Justice” Bill after the Wisconsin Legislature passed it in November. This new law will provide full public financing to qualifying candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court who voluntarily agree to abide by a spending limit of $400,000.

Not surprisingly, within weeks of its enactment, opponents of campaign finance reform launched counterattacks in the form of two separate lawsuits against the “Impartial Justice” Law.

In addition, the Wisconsin legislature has yet to pass a crucial measure that would require disclosure of the donors behind those ubiquitous vile and demeaning attack ads masquerading as issue ads that appear during the election season and are funded by outside special interest groups.

And finally, this spring partisan legislative and Congressional leaders will draw new voting districts -- a process that happens just once every 10 years. Here in Wisconsin, this process is done behind closed doors, without public participation or input. Legislators spend millions of taxpayer dollars to pay expensive lawyers to help them “choose” their voters by creating partisan, uncompetitive districts. Reforming Wisconsin’s disgraceful redistricting process must happen if we ever hope to see truly competitive elections.

These and other campaign finance reforms are more vital than ever as we brace ourselves for the fallout of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission— a decision that, among other things, gives corporations and interest groups the ability to use money from their treasury coffers to fund candidates, thus potentially giving these entities far greater influence on the outcome of elections at both the federal and state levels.

How will the Citizens United decision affect Wisconsin? How can we find out who is really behind those vicious attack ads? Can the "Impartial Justice" Law withstand the lawsuits filed against it? And how should we change the way our voting districts are drawn?

These important and timely issues will be the focus of discussion in Appleton this coming Monday during a "Reform Forum" organized by CC/WI entitled:

What Ever Happened to Good Government in Wisconsin?
**And How Should We Fix It?**

Panelists will include:

Panelists will include:

State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton)
State Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah)
Executive Director Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin
Executive Director Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin

Lawrence University Professor David Gerard will serve as Moderator.

Please join us at this free public forum for what we anticipate will be a lively discussion.

Full details can be found here.

__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
http://www.commoncausewisconsin.org/

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Candidates for Wisconsin Lt. Governor and Attorney General Respond (or not) to Political Reform Questions



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update - October 12, 2010
  1. Candidates for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General Weigh In (Or Not) on Political Reform
  2. In 2010, as in 1910 - Reform Hangs in the Balance
  3. Debating Campaign Finance Reform & Disclosure at Marquette Law School



1. During the Summer, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sent candidates for statewide office and for the Legislature and Congress a number of questions about candidate positions on issues. Common Cause in Wisconsin collaborated in the effort and two weeks ago we reported the responses of the candidates for Governor. Below are the responses (or lack of them) of the two major candidates for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin and for Attorney General of Wisconsin on political reform issues:

The Questions

1. Do you support extending to all other state offices a system of public financing along the lines of the one created for state Supreme Court elections in the 2009 Impartial Justice Act?

2. Who should be responsible for redrawing legislative districts after each census: the Legislature, a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission?

3. Do you support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending? Do you support requiring corporations to notify and get permission from share holders in order to engage in election spending?

The Responses of the Candidates for Lieutenant Governor

Tom Nelson (Democrat)

1. We need to work to get the money out of politics. Whether it be through the expansion of Impartial Justice, or through other programs it is important for people to have faith in their government. This session the state Assembly, in which I served as the Majority Leader, effectively banned fundraising during the budget, passed the Impartial Justice Act, and worked to find real solutions to giving our constituents faith in their government.

2. Every ten years there is a mad scramble for power in both houses of government, as well as the Governor's Office, to redraw the lines after the US Census. Unfortunately, it breeds further partisanship and only causes the people to have less faith in their government. This process is expensive, and almost always ends up in the courts. Mayor Barrett has put forth a plan to change how redistricting is done. Indeed, we need a transparent process that ensures that the Voting Rights Act is followed, as well as a process that yields real competitive districts.

3. Yes; Yes

Rebecca Kleefisch (Republican)

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response

Then, last week, both candidates did address the question of redistricting reform in interviews with DoorCountyDailyNews.Com in which Democrat Tom Nelson reiterated his support for reform while Republican Rebecca Kleefisch said she supports the current, corrupt status quo.

The Responses of the Candidates for Attorney General of Wisconsin

Scott Hassett (Democrat)

1. I do support a system of public financing for elections and I am taking the public financing grant available to my campaign.

2. I favor a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission to redraw legislative districts. Partisanship needs to be as far removed from redistricting as possible.

3. Yes I do support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending in order to bring integrity and transparency to the election process. I support shareholder involvement in political spending decisions by a corporation.

J B Van Hollen (Republican) Incumbent

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response



2. The 2010 election in Wisconsin may be as pivotal with regard to the future of political reform as was the 1910 election. Read the Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director's essay about the two elections, which was the featured opinion-editorial in this past Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal.



3. Common Cause in Wisconsin takes its message about the need for political reform all over the state. Later this month we will be in Appleton at one of our frequent "reform forums." Last week, the CC/WI executive director was a participant in a debate about campaign finance reform and disclosure in Wisconsin at the Marquette University Law School. The debate was moderated by Mike Gousha, a fellow at the law school and host of the statewide public affairs television program "Up Front." Opposing reform was Marquette law professor and conservative blogger, Rick Esenberg.

For a recap of the debate, read: Heck and Esenberg: What’s Worse, Campaigning or Campaign Reform?
To see the video and/or to listen to the debate, go here.



Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

CC/WI Reform Event on Monday, October 25th in Appleton




What Ever Happened to Good Government in Wisconsin?

*** And How Can We Fix It? ***

Monday, October 25th, 2010
6:30 – 8:00 PM

Warch Campus Center 225 - Hurvis Room
Lawrence University
711 E. Boldt Way, Appleton, WI

** Free and Open to the Public -- Light Refreshments will be Served **


Please come join in the discussion and learn more about:
  • Redistricting Reform – why it’s necessary and how should we do it?
  • Disclosure of interest-group “phony issue ads” and other “outside” spending
  • Public Financing of Wisconsin Supreme Court and other state elections
  • Campaign Finance Reform in Wisconsin after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Citizens United vs F.E.C.
Panelists:
State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton)
State Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah)
Andrea Kaminski - Executive Director, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin
Moderator: Professor David Gerard of Lawrence University
Presented by: Common Cause in Wisconsin (Underwritten by The Joyce Foundation)
For more information: call Sandra Miller at (608) 658-2109

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the News - September 2010



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Friday, September 24, 2010

Candidates for Wisconsin Governor Respond to Political Reform Questions (One Does and the Other Does Not)



Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update for September 24, 2010

1. Barrett Answers to Political Reform Questions; No Response from Walker
2. In 2010, as in 1910 - Reform Hangs in the Balance




1. During the Summer, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sent candidates for statewide office and for the Legislature and Congress a number of questions about candidate positions on issues. Common Cause in Wisconsin collaborated in the effort and below are the responses of the two candidates for the office of Governor of Wisconsin on political reform issues:

The Questions

1. Do you support extending to all other state offices a system of public financing along the lines of the one created for state Supreme Court elections in the 2009 Impartial Justice Act?

2. Who should be responsible for redrawing legislative districts after each census: the Legislature, a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission?

3. Do you support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending? Do you support requiring corporations to notify and get permission from share holders in order to engage in election spending?

The Responses

Tom Barrett (Democrat)

1. Public financing of campaigns can help make sure everyone has an opportunity to seek public office, and greater inclusion makes for a stronger democratic process. While I support the current public financing of Supreme Court elections, I don’t believe it can be extended to all partisan offices, and there is role for private contributions in campaigns.

2. I have offered a detailed proposal to have the Government Accountability Board ensure that redistricting plans put forth by the legislature produce as many competitive seats as possible in accordance with federal law. This proposal can be implemented for the 2010 redistricting process, removing partisan politics from the process right away. Authorizing a new independent commission would require a change to our constitution and therefore could not be in effect for the upcoming redistricting.

3. Disclosure of campaign contributions is necessary to provide voters complete information on the candidates they are choosing from, and who is behind the messages they are seeing.

Scott Walker (Republican)

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response

Voters deserve responses from Scott Walker to these questions so that they will have the information they need to make an informed choice for Governor. Both Walker and Barrett need to hear from citizens that these questions do matter because citizens know that without political reform in Wisconsin there is little chance that the very real problems confronting Wisconsinites will be addressed. Without reform, the corrupt status quo will prevail.

Confront both Barrett and Walker when they come to your community and ask them for answers to the three political reform questions. Call or e-mail their campaigns and ask them the questions.

Here is contact information for both campaigns:

Walker Campaign Headquarters: (414) 453-2010; E-mail: info@scottwalker.org

Barrett Campaign Headquarters: (414) 271-8050; E-mail: info@barrettforwisconsin.com




2. The 2010 election is critical in determining in what direction Wisconsin will head on many vital issues. Political reform is no exception. One hundred years ago Wisconsinites faced another such election. Then, as now, the question was go forward or turn back? CC/WI's executive director looks back at the candidates and issues in the 1910 election for Governor (and the 1911 legislative session that followed). Are there parallels and lessons for us in 2010? Read: In 2010 as in 1910 -- Reform is on the Line in Wisconsin in CC/WI's blog, A Wisconsin Political Fix.



Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

In 2010 as in 1910 - Reform is on the Line in Wisconsin



A W
isconsin Political Fix
not just another blog
September 23, 2010

By Jay Heck

One hundred years ago in 1910, Wisconsin was able to stake its claim as the most progressive state in the nation. The election for Governor and for the State Legislature that year -- following the Governorship and election to the U.S. Senate in 1906 of Robert Marion La Follette, Sr. -- would usher in a period in which state political and social reform would reach its zenith and flower in its full glory. And it would be accomplished with a purpose and speed that would amaze all who observed it.

Today in 2010, a century later, Wisconsin stands at another critical junction and the path that the next Governor and State Legislature takes during and after the upcoming elections will help to determine whether our great state -- which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the nation’s “laboratory of democracy”-- will steer toward an new era of urgently needed political reform. Or, will we revert back to another “Robber Baron Age” that characterized Wisconsin in the 1890’s when corporations (then, chiefly railroads) and the political bosses they funded, bankrolled state elections and controlled the Governorship and the Wisconsin Legislature while the voices of ordinary Wisconsin citizens were shut out and ignored.

Today, reformers in Wisconsin are fighting to protect many of the reforms that date back to the state’s “Progressive Era” of a century ago as well as political reforms won and enacted recently. such as the “Impartial Justice” Law of 2009 that will provide full public financing to candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court who agree to limit their campaign spending to $400,000. This was the most significant political reform enacted into law in Wisconsin since the 1970’s. Now, powerful corporate and out-of-state special interest groups are trying to scale back and even block this reform from becoming effective next year when the next State Supreme Court election will occur. Reform is under assault now, as it was in 1910.

By 1910, Wisconsin had already undergone a period of political reform under Governor Fighting Bob” La Follette (1901-1906) and his successor, Progressive Republican James Ole Davidson (1906-1911) as they ignited an era of progress and reform in the state that served as an inspiration for the nation. During that first decade of the 20th Century, the Progressive Republicans established primary elections in the state to break the control of political bosses who hand-picked candidates. They brought the all-powerful railroads under some state regulation as well as the public utilities, telegraph, telephone, electricity, water companies, and the insurance industry. Corporations were prohibited from using their general treasury funds to influence state elections, a monumental reform that stood and protected the citizens of Wisconsin until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the prohibition at the federal – and by extension, the state level earlier this year.

Bob La Follette’s sometimes cantankerous and self-righteous personality, as well as his proposals, made him many political enemies and much of the Progressive reform agenda was blocked in the Legislature and elsewhere during his tenure and during that that of Governor Davidson’s. The election of campaign of 1910 would determine in what direction Wisconsin would go. The anti-reform conservative or “stalwart” Republicans united behind State Senator Edward T. Fairchild of Milwaukee as their candidate for Governor, determined to stop and rollback the progressive reforms and regulations of the previous decade. The Stalwarts amassed a campaign war chest of $114,000 – an enormous amount of money for political campaigns in those days. The Progressive Republican mantle was bestowed upon Francis E. McGovern, a former Milwaukee County District Attorney and failed candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1908.

The Republican Primary in 1910 would, in effect, decide the Governorship of Wisconsin because the Democratic Party was very weak back then. Wisconsin was essentially a one-party state and the “real” election was between the Progressives and the Stalwarts. In a hard fought campaign and despite the monetary advantage of the anti-reform conservatives, McGovern emerged triumphant in the Republican Primary and easily prevailed in the General Election. 


On January 12, 1911 Governor McGovern delivered one of the most memorable inaugural addresses ever made to an American Legislature. The theme of his address was the need for strong government action as the only counterweight against the power and influence of corporations and other special interests. He said corporations all too frequently “put arbitrary power in the hands of a few who have used this power to oppress the people and debauch their government.” To counteract this, McGovern said state government “must be made representative of all the people, and economic forces must be so regulated as to secure a fair chance for all in every walk of life.”

Governor McGovern then went on to lead the Wisconsin Legislature in enacting sweeping reforms beginning in 1911 and compiled a record of achievement greater than that of the great La Follette. During his first term, much of the Progressive program was finally realized, including stronger railroad regulation, legislation to establish a state income tax program, worker's compensation, regulation of child and women's labor, the encouragement of co-operatives, and the curtailment of corrupt political practices.

Francis McGovern deserves a more prominent place in Wisconsin’s history as the reformer who got real results. La Follette was the reform visionary but McGovern was the achiever.

And what will happen one hundred years later? In what direction will Wisconsin go? Already, darks clouds have formed overhead in the wake of the misguided and hypocritical U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. F.E.C. this past January. Reversing century-old federal and state prohibitions on corporate treasury money influencing elections will result in a flood of special interest dollars attempting to influence voters this Fall. Reformers are fighting to preserve new disclosure requirements for corporate and union campaign spending that were recently put into effect by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

And in 2011, Wisconsin’s next Governor (who will emerge in a nasty negative election we project may reach a record $50 million in spending) and the new Wisconsin Legislature will continue to incessantly hear the call for public financing of all state elections, strong special interest spending disclosure, reform of the currently disgraceful and secretive process in which the Wisconsin Legislature redraws the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts following the Census every ten years, reforming the long-drawn out and secretive and special interest money soaked state budget process and other needed political reforms. We need better open meetings laws and we need to make the next Governor and the next Legislature more accountable and responsive to the citizens of Wisconsin and less influenced and beholden to powerful, well-funded special interest groups.

At this critical point in Wisconsin’s history, citizens need to demand protection for the reforms that have been enacted in Wisconsin in recent years as well as those that Governors La Follette, Davidson and McGovern engineered a century ago. Let’s keep Wisconsin moving “forward” as our state motto encourages us to do. Moving forward means protecting and preserving the political reforms of the last 100 years so that we can progress even more in the century ahead.

Jay Heck is the executive of Common Cause in Wisconsin, the state’s largest non-partisan citizens reform advocacy organization.  Their website is www.commoncausewisconsin.org and his e-mail address is ccwisjwh@itis.com. For more information call 608/256-2686.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Wisconsin Supreme Court Expected to Rule on Campaign Spending Disclosure Rule Today


Press Release
September 17, 2010


CONTACT:

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686




WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT EXPECTED TO DECIDE TODAY ON JURISDICTION OF THE CAMPAIGN PHONY ISSUE AD DISCLOSURE RULE

Citizens Ability to Know Who the Donors of Millions of Dollars Worth of Campaign Communications in 2010 Elections May Be at Stake

On Friday the 13th of August a bitterly divided Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a 4 (Gableman, Prosser, Rogensack and Ziegler) to 3 (Abrahamson, Bradley and Crooks) decision to commit an unprecedented and irresponsible act of judicial activism. It blocked from continuing in effect, a disclosure rule that would require outside organizations trying to influence the outcome of elections in Wisconsin -- through disseminating campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy -- to disclose their donors and register with the state: Court halts rule on political ads.

The rule, which was promulgated by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) -- and not opposed by the Wisconsin Legislature -- took effect on August 1st. But the narrow majority on the court intervened at the behest of several outside special interest groups seeking to preserve the corrupt status quo - which is no disclosure of these phony issue ads. Since the Court's injunction on August 13th, the citizens of Wisconsin have been robbed of needed transparency in our elections. CC/WI strongly supports the GAB rule and has been pushing for transparency and disclosure of the donors of phony issue ads since we first proposed a similar rule and legislation back in 1997.

Several special interest groups on the right and one on the left sued the GAB earlier in August over the rule in two federal courts as they sought to preserve the ability to influence your vote without telling you who they are. Those suits are still pending. Then, the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened in this matter -- unnecessarily.

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to issue their decision about whether or not they will take jurisdiction over the GAB rule.

They ought to bow out of this matter. Several members of the court have been the beneficiaries of undisclosed, phony issue ads run by outside organizations and it would appear that if the court decides to take the case, that they would be wading into a big conflict of interest. In addition, the United States Supreme Court last January in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision ruled 8 to 1 that more robust disclosure can and should be required of organizations that seek to influence the outcome of an election -- as the phony issue ads run in Wisconsin clearly do. So the matter has already been decided by the nation's highest court.

CC/WI has been at the forefront of efforts in the Legislature to pass disclosure laws and now to preserve the GAB disclosure rule. To see why this is so important you can watch or listen to a debate between the CC/WI executive director and opponents of disclosure that was recently filmed on Wisconsin Eye.

For earlier discussion and defense of disclosure and transparency by CC/WI on the state-wide public affairs television program Up Front with host Mike Gousha, go here.

CC/WI will have more to say about this critical matter after the Wisconsin Supreme Court has rendered its decision.

__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


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Thursday, August 12, 2010

CC/WI Statement on Disclosure Rule Settlement by Government Accountability Board


Press Release
August 12, 2010


CONTACT:

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686




THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD'S SETTLEMENT WITH PLAINTIFFS IS DISAPPOINTING BUT THEIR ABILITY TO REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF PHONY ISSUE ADS APPEARS TO REMAIN INTACT

LEGISLATURE'S PASSAGE OF A STRONG DISCLOSURE MEASURE AND THEN BEING SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR IS A MUCH BETTER SOLUTION

Late Tuesday, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) reached a resolution with the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit filed by Wisconsin Club for Growth and One Wisconsin Now. GAB agreed to stipulate to an injunction with regard to the application of some of the language in the rule.

Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) is disappointed that the GAB felt compelled to scale back some of the conditions that would automatically force some of the campaign ads masquerading as issue advocacy to disclose their donors and, instead, agreed to review those electioneering communications on a case by case basis. The United States Supreme Court last January in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision ruled 8 to 1 that more robust disclosure can and should be required of organizations that seek to influence the outcome on an election -- as the phony issue ads run in Wisconsin clearly do. The administrative rule that the GAB promulgated and sent to the Legislature on July 1st and which went into effect on August 1st (because the Legislature did not act to modify or block it) was a solid disclosure measure that we believe would have withstood court scrutiny and legal challenge -- even the challenge brought by the plaintiffs and the other legal challenges brought against the GAB rule by other outside groups.

So now, the administrative rule left in place is more unwieldy and will require more review by GAB of communications run in the period 30 days prior to the primary election date and 60 days prior to the general election date.

But we remain convinced that the rule, even as adjusted by the settlement, will still be able to force the disclosure of communications that are attempting to influence the outcome of an election. The right of the public to know who is trying to influence their vote vastly supersedes the desire of outside groups trying to influence an election to continue to cloak their donors in secrecy and anonymity -- even with this change in the administrative rule. In short, the rule that has gone into effect on August 1st and that has been now changed as a result of the settlement (provided it is approved by Federal Judge William Conley) is better than the current status quo in which no phony issue ads are required to disclose their donors. But it would have been better had the administrative rule, which had a bright line test, not been modified at all.

The only real solution to this entire problem is for the Wisconsin Legislature to come back into Special Session and pass a tough disclosure measure and have it signed into law by the Governor. Governor Doyle should call for a Special Session without delay. Only then will questions about the authority of GAB to promulgate such a rule and the wording of the administrative rule be put to rest. While we believe the administrative rule put forth by the GAB is still a good one, a strong disclosure measure passed by both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, would be better.


__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Governor Doyle Should Call Legislature into Special Session Now to Pass Electioneering Disclosure Legislation


Press Release
August 5, 2010


CONTACT:

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686




GOVERNOR DOYLE SHOULD CALL WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE INTO SPECIAL SESSION NOW TO PASS ELECTIONEERING DISCLOSURE LEGISLATION

LAWSUIT SEEKING TO BLOCK GAB DISCLOSURE RULE SHOULD BE ANSWERED WITH STRONG LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE

On Monday, a conservative and a liberal organization joined forces and resources to file a lawsuit seeking to block a state administrative rule requiring such organizations to disclose the source of their funding if they engage in advocacy for or against a state candidate up for election -- during the period immediately proceeding the election. The administrative rule, promulgated by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) went into effect on August 1st after no one in the Wisconsin Legislature sought to block it. The lawsuit (See the brief here) brought by the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth and the liberal One Wisconsin Now organizations, was not unexpected and it is not "frivolous and baseless" as some have characterized it to be. It is serious and should be addressed in a serious way. Yes, the suit should be dismissed by the federal court because it is unconstitutional. But the Wisconsin Legislature should pass and enact into law disclosure legislation to further solidify and safeguard electioneering disclosure from future legal assault by anti-reform guardians of the corrupt status quo.

Disclosure of donors that fund widely disseminated electioneering communications in the period immediately prior to an election is a reform measure Common Cause in Wisconsin first proposed in 1997 - the first reform organization to do so - and we have been fighting to enact into law this needed disclosure ever since. Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court reversed more than 100 years of precedent and settled law when it narrowly (5 to 4) ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions can now use their general treasury funds to spend unlimited funds for independent expenditures to influence the outcome of a federal (and by extension--state and/or local) election. But that same Court, in that same decision, voted 8 to 1 to allow for even more robust disclosure of such expenditures. Only Justice Clarence Thomas opposed the enhanced disclosure that the other eight justices supported.

The lawsuit against the Wisconsin GAB is essentially the Thomas argument against the enhanced disclosure that the GAB rule imposes and it ought to be dismissed as unconstitutional. The other basis for the Wisconsin Club for Growth/One Wisconsin Now lawsuit is that the GAB does not have the authority to impose such a rule and that only the Legislature can impose such sweeping disclosure requirements. That argument, which the Madison attorney for the plaintiffs, Mike Wittenwyler, has been asserting for years, is also flawed. The Legislature, by not blocking or revising the administrative rule promulgated by the GAB, gave de facto approval to the rule. That is how the administrative process works.

But there is a simple and straightforward way to erase any doubt about whether or not the Wisconsin Legislature supports disclosure of the campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy that have been a blight on Wisconsin politics since the mid 1990's. Governor Jim Doyle can and should call the Wisconsin Legislature into Special Session to pass a revised version of Senate Bill 43, bipartisan campaign finance reform legislation requiring disclosure of the donors and regulation of the money utilized by outside special interest groups and individuals that run widely-disseminated campaign communications masquerading as issue advocacy during the period of 60 days or less prior to an election. The State Senate overwhelmingly passed the original Senate Bill 43 on January 19th by a bipartisan 26 to 7 margin. The Assembly needed to modify the measure somewhat in the wake of the January 21st United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. But it never got done. The revised disclosure measure was never brought back to the State Senate or considered by the Assembly before it adjourned in April because the legislative leadership declined to do so. The votes were most certainly there to pass it in both the State Senate and the Assembly but it was never scheduled. And so legislation requiring the disclosure of phony issue ads didn't get considered or passed.

Governor Jim Doyle, who has been a consistent vocal supporter of requiring the disclosure of phony issue ads, should call the Legislature back into Special Session to finish the job and pass a modified version of Senate Bill 43. Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee), a long-time leader on this matter, has draft legislation ready to be considered. It could be accomplished by both legislative chambers in less than an hour. Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) and State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield) also have it within their power to call the Legislature into Extraordinary Session to pass a modified version of Senate Bill 43.

But Governor Doyle ought to take the lead and just do this.

CC/WI has repeatedly called for passage of a revised version of Senate Bill 43 and then a Special or Extraordinary Session to do it after the Legislature adjourned for the year. We did so in March, then again in April, then again in May, and most recently, in June.

We do so again now. And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week in an editorial called for the Wisconsin Legislature to act as well.

Since it is unlikely that Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan and State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker will call the Legislature back into Extraordinary Session to pass revised Senate Bill 43 as the campaign season and battle for control of the Legislature begins to heat up, it is really up to Governor Doyle, who is not running for re-election, to call the Legislature back into Special Session to do this. He should do it today or tomorrow and the Legislature could come back Tuesday of next week and pass it so it will be in place for the upcoming November elections. The Governor would not only be greatly improving his reform legacy as he leaves public office -- but more importantly -- he would ensure that Wisconsinites will know who is trying to influence their important voting decisions in the upcoming critical elections. It is our constitutional right to know who is behind the money in Wisconsin elections -- now and always. That right certainly supersedes the secrecy that outside groups jealously, selfishly and wrongheadedly seek to preserve.

Please call (608-266-1212) or E-mail (governor@wisconsin.gov) Governor Doyle and insist that he call the Wisconsin Legislature into Special Session now to pass electioneering disclosure legislation. We can and must get this done!


__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


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Sunday, August 1, 2010

In the News - August 2010




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Monday, July 12, 2010

Statement on Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's Redistricting Reform Proposal


Press Release
July 12, 2010


CONTACT:

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686



BARRETT'S REDISTRICTING REFORM PROPOSAL IS WELCOME AND NEEDED

We commend Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for elevating the issue of state legislative and Congressional redistricting reform with the announcement of his proposal today.

The current redistricting process in Wisconsin is a disgrace. It is controlled by partisan legislative and Congressional leaders without public participation or input -- completely out of public view, utilizing millions of taxpayer dollars to pay expensive lawyers to come up with partisan, uncompetitive districts.

Redistricting must occur in 2011 to reflect the population changes in Wisconsin that are currently being compiled in the Census this year. But it shouldn't be done the way it has been accomplished for the past thirty years. As recently as 1998, there were four competitive Congressional districts in Wisconsin. Today, only the Eighth Congressional District can be considered truly competitive. Likewise, the number of competitive State Assembly and State Senate districts has decreased over the years to the point where only about a tenth of the 132 legislative districts (99 Assembly and 33 State Senate) can be categorized as truly competitive.

The lack of competitive elections in Wisconsin robs voters of choices and reinforces legislative and Congressional partisanship, grid lock and intransigence.

The Barrett plan takes the final decision-making about state legislative and Congressional boundaries out of the hands of the very partisan legislative and Congressional leaders and puts it into the hands of the non-partisan Government Accountability Board -- which would ensure the process is transparent and is replete with public input and participation. It represents a significant improvement over the current, corrupt process and would bring Wisconsin into the company of states such as Iowa and California which have successfully and effectively reformed their redistricting processes.

We hope that the other candidates for Governor of Wisconsin this year will emulate Mayor Barrett by elevating redistricting reform as an issue and making proposals that enhance public participation, transparency and competitiveness. It will take the strong and active support of the next Governor of Wisconsin in order for reform to occur. Redistricting reform is a good government issue and not a partisan political issue. Every candidate for public office in Wisconsin, regardless of party label and ideology, should support reforming the current, corrupt redistricting process. Tom Barrett is the first gubernatorial candidate to do so this year, but we hope he will not be the last and only one to support this vital reform.

__________________________________________

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org


Stay informed - Follow CC/WI on Twitter!
twitter / CommonCauseWI

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