Contract lobbying still ‘under the radar’

In Wisconsin, any paid representative of an interest group who works to influence state law or policy must register with the state Government Accountability Board and file twice-yearly reports. But if a person works to help an interest group secure a state government contract has no registration or reporting requirement.

Wisconsin receives C- for government accountability

Wisconsin receives a C- in a nationwide ranking of states’ accountability and risk of corruption. The State Integrity Investigation, released today, ranks Wisconsin 22nd, with a score of 70 percent — a score boosted by the creation in 2008 of the state Government Accountability Board to help clean up government.

GAB dings ethics, campaign finance violators

More than one hundred people or groups paid fines for violating Wisconsin’s campaign finance and ethics laws in the past three years. The violator list reads like a Who’s Who of Wisconsin politicians, and includes some noteworthy outsiders as well.

Insurance agents get back in the game

So far this year, 90 new PACs have been created, about the same number as during the previous four years combined. The lobbyist behind one reactivated PAC, Insuring Wisconsin, explains why his group has ramped up its political activities.

Special session bills serve special interests

Democrats reacted sharply to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to call the Legislature into special session to take up a slate of measures meant to put Wisconsin “back to work.” The Assembly’s minority leader pegged most bills as “payoffs to special interests” that do nothing to create jobs.

Road builders brew up public support

The Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, a powerful state lobby group, is taking its case for more and better roads directly to the people — by running ads during Badgers’ and Brewers’ games.

Mining bill not a lobbying success story

Over the past six months, Gogebic Taconite LLC spent $114,883 lobbying state officials in support of its proposal to open an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, who represents the district where the mine would be located, says this was “a complete waste of money.”

Unions’ lobbying expenses skyrocket

Twenty-five labor unions reported spending a total of $7.2 million on lobbying in Wisconsin between Jan. 1 and June 30. That’s more than the $5.2 million the same unions spent lobbying in all of 2009-10.