Chapter 11 of the state statutes, governing campaign financing, clearly needs a rewrite. Court rulings have blown huge holes in the law, which dates to 1974. One lawyer called the result “a confusing mess.” But there is vast disagreement over what changes should be made.
For Barbara Lawton, the intersection of money and politics is not just distasteful; it’s downright dangerous.
In some newsrooms, reporters and editors fondly welcome odd-numbered years.
That’s because these are election-lite: No races for president, governor, attorney general or the state Legislature. No glut of partisan candidates trying to open new orifices in each other’s anatomies. Hooray.
But in covering a beat like money and politics, there is no break in the action. A glance back through a year’s worth of weekly columns confirms it.
Doesn’t the public have a right to know who came up with these ideas? This would let voters hold their elected officials accountable at the ballot box and look for potential conflicts.
Newly released numbers show that lobbying in Wisconsin during the tumultuous 2011-12 legislative session totaled $62.9 million — not exactly chump change, but lower than the session before.
This column’s prediction a few weeks back that “all signs point to another jaw-dropping spend-fest” seems not to be coming true. The spending is merely substantial, not overwhelming.
Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin decries the “revolving door” between lawmaking and lobbying: “It feeds a public perception that legislators, at least some of them, are legislators so they can cash in on the contacts they make.”
Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin says the huge and perhaps record-breaking sums now flowing into Wisconsin’s congressional races owe to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United.
Some say the real target of political television ads — and mailings, emails and robo-calls — is the vanishingly small segment of the population that has yet to decide whether it stands with Republican Gov. Scott Walker or backs Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.