Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

Press Release
October 21, 2010

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686


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

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!

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