Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Candidates for Wisconsin Lt. Governor and Attorney General Respond (or not) to Political Reform Questions

Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update - October 12, 2010
  1. Candidates for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General Weigh In (Or Not) on Political Reform
  2. In 2010, as in 1910 - Reform Hangs in the Balance
  3. Debating Campaign Finance Reform & Disclosure at Marquette Law School

1. During the Summer, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sent candidates for statewide office and for the Legislature and Congress a number of questions about candidate positions on issues. Common Cause in Wisconsin collaborated in the effort and two weeks ago we reported the responses of the candidates for Governor. Below are the responses (or lack of them) of the two major candidates for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin and for Attorney General of Wisconsin on political reform issues:

The Questions

1. Do you support extending to all other state offices a system of public financing along the lines of the one created for state Supreme Court elections in the 2009 Impartial Justice Act?

2. Who should be responsible for redrawing legislative districts after each census: the Legislature, a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission?

3. Do you support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending? Do you support requiring corporations to notify and get permission from share holders in order to engage in election spending?

The Responses of the Candidates for Lieutenant Governor

Tom Nelson (Democrat)

1. We need to work to get the money out of politics. Whether it be through the expansion of Impartial Justice, or through other programs it is important for people to have faith in their government. This session the state Assembly, in which I served as the Majority Leader, effectively banned fundraising during the budget, passed the Impartial Justice Act, and worked to find real solutions to giving our constituents faith in their government.

2. Every ten years there is a mad scramble for power in both houses of government, as well as the Governor's Office, to redraw the lines after the US Census. Unfortunately, it breeds further partisanship and only causes the people to have less faith in their government. This process is expensive, and almost always ends up in the courts. Mayor Barrett has put forth a plan to change how redistricting is done. Indeed, we need a transparent process that ensures that the Voting Rights Act is followed, as well as a process that yields real competitive districts.

3. Yes; Yes

Rebecca Kleefisch (Republican)

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response

Then, last week, both candidates did address the question of redistricting reform in interviews with DoorCountyDailyNews.Com in which Democrat Tom Nelson reiterated his support for reform while Republican Rebecca Kleefisch said she supports the current, corrupt status quo.

The Responses of the Candidates for Attorney General of Wisconsin

Scott Hassett (Democrat)

1. I do support a system of public financing for elections and I am taking the public financing grant available to my campaign.

2. I favor a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission to redraw legislative districts. Partisanship needs to be as far removed from redistricting as possible.

3. Yes I do support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending in order to bring integrity and transparency to the election process. I support shareholder involvement in political spending decisions by a corporation.

J B Van Hollen (Republican) Incumbent

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response

2. The 2010 election in Wisconsin may be as pivotal with regard to the future of political reform as was the 1910 election. Read the Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director's essay about the two elections, which was the featured opinion-editorial in this past Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal.

3. Common Cause in Wisconsin takes its message about the need for political reform all over the state. Later this month we will be in Appleton at one of our frequent "reform forums." Last week, the CC/WI executive director was a participant in a debate about campaign finance reform and disclosure in Wisconsin at the Marquette University Law School. The debate was moderated by Mike Gousha, a fellow at the law school and host of the statewide public affairs television program "Up Front." Opposing reform was Marquette law professor and conservative blogger, Rick Esenberg.

For a recap of the debate, read: Heck and Esenberg: What’s Worse, Campaigning or Campaign Reform?
To see the video and/or to listen to the debate, go here.

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

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