Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Walker's Out-Of-State Millions to Flood Wisconsin Airwaves, Mail Boxes, Phone Lines

Reform Update
May 1, 2012

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

1. Walker's Raises $13 Million -- More Than $8 Million of that from Outside of Wisconsin

2. CC/WI Signs On to Lawsuit Against Most Restrictive Voter ID Law in the Nation

3. Political Reform Forum in Milwaukee on May 7th

1. Fasten your seat belts Wisconsinites. It's going to be an even more bumpy ride ahead.

Three month (January 18-April 23) totals for the state recall elections were announced yesterday and embattled Governor Scott Walker pulled in over $13 million dollars. That's more than any candidate for Wisconsin Governor has raised in an entire election cycle-- ever. By far. That's more than $135,000 a day--most from out-of-state. Almost three quarters of the number of Walker's contributions were from out-of-state donors and 63 percent of that $13 million -- or over $8 million -- was not from Wisconsin. During most of the three month period, the $10,000 limit on contributions to Walker was suspended because of a peculiar state law that allows individuals to make unlimited political contributions to candidates who have been recalled. And Walker, who has spent numerous days outside of the state raising campaign cash according to press accounts, has characterized his recall campaign as a national election and has been opening big Republican wallets in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, DC and many other places.

During the same three month period, Walker's Democratic opponents have raised just a fraction of what Walker has stuffed into his coffers. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk raised $977,000 since January, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who didn't enter the race until March 30th, pulled in $830,000, Secretary of State Doug La Follette took in $118,000 -- all but $6,000 from himself, and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout took in about $44,000.

And then there is the millions of dollars of outside, special interest group money that is already being unleashed in Wisconsin.

For more on all of this, including CC/WI comment, go here  and here.

2. Wisconsin, long one of the top two or three states in the nation in the percentage of eligible voters who participated in elections, was saddled last year with the most extreme and restrictive voter identification law in the nation. It is more extreme than voter identification laws in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina (which also passed its new law last year), and other states of the Old Confederacy who have long histories of denying many of their citizens the ability to vote.

Why did Republicans ram through this measure and why did Walker sign it?

Because they could.

But now, they are paying the price for trying to deny thousands of Wisconsinites their most basic and sacred act of citizenship -- the right to cast a ballot. The Wisconsin law has been enjoined on constitutional grounds by two Wisconsin judges and it will not be in effect for either the May 8th recall primary election or the recall general election on June 5th. For this very positive development, Wisconsin can thank the heroic leadership and efforts of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and others for defending democracy.

The Wisconsin photo voter ID law may also violate laws protecting federal voter rights. Last week, CC/WI signed on as amicus to a lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin of the U.S. District Court. To read the brief go here.

3. For five years, CC/WI has organized a series of forums throughout Wisconsin to bring citizens, legislators, advocates and experts of all political viewpoints together to discuss and debate political reform issues such as the Wisconsin, voter ID law, redisticting reform, disclosure of special interest spending in elections and others. Last October, over 160 citizens attended our forum in Wausau. In November, more than 200 people gathered at our Oshkosh Forum and this past March more than 150 filled every chair at our Sheboygan Forum.

Next Monday evening, May 7th (Primary Election Eve), we are hosting a reform forum at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Panelists include former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, Democratic State Representative Jon Richards, former Republican State Senator Peggy Rosenzweig, Democratic State Senator Chris Larson and CC/WI Director Jay Heck. And you!

For more details about this free event go here.

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!

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