Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Disclosure of Outside Campaign Cash and Redistricting Reform Not "Sexy Enough" for Legislature to Consider?

Reform Update
March 14, 2012

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

  1. Sexual Abstinence Education Trumps Political Reform in Legislature's Waning Days
  2. Is Governor Walker Under Criminal Investigation or Isn't He?
  3. Most Restrictive and Extreme Voter ID Law in the Nation is Clearly Unlawful
  4. Huge Cache of Special Interest ALEC Money Stashed in Wisconsin
  5. Reform Forum in Sheboygan on Monday Everning - March 19th

1. Our "full time" Wisconsin Legislature is scrambling this week to close down the 2011-2012 legislative session so they can devote the rest of the year to raising cash for negative ads and campaigning to hold on to their jobs. How would you like to have your work year end in March but get a paycheck for the entire year? Sweet gig if you can get it.

And what are they pulling all-nighters this week to accomplish?

Requiring schools that provide sex education to teach abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.


This is what the Wisconsin Legislature has now made a priority. Two things not on their agenda that should be: requiring disclosure of the outside special interest groups who have already begun dumping millions of dollars in Wisconsin for mostly negative communications to influence the upcoming recall elections this Spring and Summer and the Fall elections. And, reforming Wisconsin's disgraceful redistricting process -- among the most secretive, partisan, self-serving (for politicians), and wasteful (of taxpayer dollars) in the nation. Go here for more.

2. Late last Friday afternoon, Governor Scott Walker's office meekly informed the media that Walker had established a legal defense fund in order to pay for high-priced lawyers Walker has retained in the "John Doe" investigation of illegal activity in the Milwaukee County Executive's office which Walker occupied until he was elected Governor in 2010. When politicians put out releases on Friday afternoons, it is invariably because they are hoping very few in the media or the public will notice. Clearly, this was Walker's intent last week. State law is pretty clear that a state official can only set up a legal defense fund if they are under investigation or have been criminally charged. CC/WI was asked to comment on this development here and here. As late as yesterday, Walker continued to give confusing and vague responses to the question of whether or not he is under criminal investigation.

Don't the citizens of Wisconsin deserve to know definitively whether or not their Governor is the target of a criminal investigation?

3. Last year, the Wisconsin Legislature passed, and Governor Walker signed into law the nation's most extreme and restrictive photo voter ID law in the nation. It is far more restrictive than any such law passed in any southern state, or in Indiana -- which the authors and proponents of the law said Wisconsin's was modeled after. The U.S. Supreme court upheld the Indiana law a few years ago, however -- because Wisconsin's law is so much more restrictive -- it will likely not withstand legal scrutiny. Indiana and many other states, for example, allow voters who come to the polls without one of the proscribed forms of identification to sign an affidavit attesting and swearing that the voter is who she or he says she or he is. The authors of the Wisconsin law did not trust the citizens of this state sufficiently to allow for the affidavit option. If you cannot come up with one of the proscribed and relatively limited forms of ID here -- no matter what the hardship involved in obtaining that particular form of ID -- too bad. You can't vote.

A second Court on Monday said no Wisconsin. You can't do that. If you haven't read it yet, please read Judge Richard Neiss's excellent (and relatively brief) decision here. It will make you proud to be an American.

4. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) strikes again. This extremely powerful and influential national organization that brings corporations and other special interest groups together with legislators to wine, dine, and write "model" legislation (to benefit corporations and special interest groups), recently sent $356,000 to a Madison, Wisconsin lobbyist's office. Why? Find out more here.

5. On Monday evening, March 19th, CC/WI is hosting another in its long-running series of "reform forums." to bring together panelists and citizens of differing views to discuss political reform issues. This one is in Sheboygan. For all of the details, including a list of panelists, go 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!
Holding Power Accountable Since 1972

No comments: