Friday, June 7, 2013

Republican Campaign Finance & Election Measure to Undergo Big Changes Before Executive Session Next Week

Press Release
June 7, 2013

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

Republican Campaign Finance & Election Measure to Undergo
Big Changes Before Executive Session Next Week

Assembly Bill 225 Author - Rep. Jeff Stone Says Major Provisions Will Be Removed
during Wisconsin Eye Exchange with CC/WI Director Jay Heck

The fast-tracked, hyper-partisan campaign finance and elections measure which Common Cause in Wisconsin has vigorously opposed -- Assembly Bill 225 -- received a public hearing earlier this week, and the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections heard a great deal of opposition to the ill-conceived legislation.

Yesterday, the lead author of Assembly Bill 225, State Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), appeared with CC/WI director Jay Heck for a spirited exchange of views about this legislation on Wisconsin Eye's "Newsmakers" Program, hosted by moderator and long-time Capitol journalist Steve Walters.

During the program, Heck pressed Stone on the revisions to the photo voter I.D. law and -- most pointedly -- on the campaign finance change which would codify into law secret money funding phony issue ads. This change was inserted in Assembly Bill 225 at the insistence of long-time Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce lobbyist James Buchen.

Also discussed and debated were other provisions of the photo I.D. law, a measure to rein in recall elections in Wisconsin, a provision to expand the number of candidates the Governor can choose from to serve on the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, and other matters.

Stone said it was likely that Assembly Bill 225 would head to an executive session as early as next week and then be sent to the full Assembly for consideration. But he also said that it was very likely that the campaign finance provisions blocking disclosure of the donors of outside spending as well as photo voter I.D. provisions regarding affidavits and other parts of the law would be removed from the legislation. Stone also said that he would be working to bring Democratic input into the legislation to create a final bill that would have bipartisan support. Bipartisan support for the legislation is critical -- a point Heck hammered over and over during the exchange.

Whether or not Jeff Stone can deliver these changes and turn what is currently a hyper-partisan, terrible campaign finance and election package into something worthy of bipartisan support, and that can be supported by all Wisconsinites, remains to be seen. But if CC/WI can be of further assistance in improving Assembly Bill 225 and transforming it into legislation that will reduce special interest influence in our elections and protect the ability of all Wisconsinites who are eligible to vote to be able to cast a vote without being unfairly burdened and hindered from doing so, then we will continue to be willing to talk to anyone about it. We will continue to speak out in any event, because that's what we do.

We feel as if we made some progress and important inroads through our testimony and from this exchange into at least the beginning of a better outcome for the campaign finance and election reform battle that was waged this week. But we will see what next week brings.

You can watch the entire program with Stone, Heck and Walters here, and judge for yourself where this is all headed. Let us know what you think.

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


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