Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GAB "Destruction" and Campaign Finance "Deform" Stalled in State Senate, But Could Be Unleashed Any Time

For Release: Tuesday - October 27, 2015

After being rammed through the Wisconsin Assembly last week, the assault on democracy could continue this week when the State Senate may take up the Government Accountability Destruction Act (Senate Bill 294) and the Campaign Finance Deform & Decrease Disclosure Act (Senate Bill 292). Rumors swirled around the Capitol Monday that the GAB legislation might be suddenly put on the calendar for today, Tuesday, but apparently State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald hasn't strong-armed enough reluctant GOP Senators to cinch the requisite number of votes.

Those Republicans who have dared to express unhappiness about the GAB evisceration legislation may include Rob Cowles of Green Bay, Luther Olsen of Ripon, Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, Howard Marklein of Spring Green, and possibly Jerry Petrowski of Marathon and even Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls.

Fitzgerald understands that the longer Senate Bill 294 is exposed to sunlight and scrutiny, the more Wisconsinites scorn it and see it for the self-serving, hyper-partisan, hypocritical proposal that it really is. Three Republicans in the Assembly bucked Speaker Robin Vos and voted against the measure last week. There ought to be at least that many GOP State Senators who can resist pressure from their leadership and special interest groups to vote with their constituents and against this abomination.

Likewise, the secret, massive, hyper-partisan GOP rewrite and deform of Wisconsin's entire campaign finance law, (Senate Bill 292), is not moving through the State Senate either at the moment. Again, maybe enough Republican State Senators have come to their senses and realize that: legalizing coordination between candidates and outside issue ad groups (which is legal no where else in the nation), allowing unlimited money to flow to the legislative campaign committees (controlled by Fitzgerald on the GOP side), and all but eliminating meaningful disclosure and transparency of both, contributions to candidates and outside special interest money, are all horrible ideas that the vast majority of Wisconsin citizens abhor. And they should, too.

This is the time to contact, not only your own State Senator (and please do that), but also to contact Cowles, Olsen, Harsdorf, Marklein, Petrowski and Moulton and urge them to vote against both the GAB Destruction Measure (Senate Bill 294) and the Campaign Finance Deform Measure (Senate Bill 292).

To get contact information for your own State Senator and for the six GOP Senators who need to hear from you as well, go here. Please make these contacts in the several days as either or both measures could be scheduled for a vote at any time.

The unprecedented assault on democracy in Wisconsin is receiving national attention and concern. In just the past several days, CC/WI has been communicating with reporters and/or with editorial writers from many media outlets and here are some of those articles:

The New York Times

Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Limiting Corruption Inquiries

Washington Post
and numerous papers nationwide (Associated Press nationally)
Wisconsin GOP abolishes John Doe probes, seeks other changes

Washington Post

Off the campaign trail, Scott Walker is changing the way Wisconsin holds elections

The American Prospect

Walker and the Kochs Make Wisconsin Corruption-Friendly

For more information about recent developments in these and other critical democracy issues that CC/WI is involved in, please view these articles and stories from: Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Radio Network, Shepherd Express, Think Progress, Janesville Gazette, and The Joy Cardin Show (on WPR).

In other news, our friends at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin are holding a free public forum tomorrow night on the importance of ending partisan gerrymandering and enacting redistricting reform legislation in Wisconsin before the next redistricting process occurs in 2021.

The forum, entitled "Getting to Fair Voting Maps" will take place Wednesday, October 28th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at UW-Eau Claire. Former State Senators Tim Cullen (who is now a CC/WI Board Member) and Dale Schultz will be the main speakers of the event, which CC/WI is proud to sponsor.

If you are in or near the greater Eau Claire area, we urge you to attend!


Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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