State Rep. Peter Barca
Op-Ed

Campaign Finance Law Opens Door to Corruption

Will gut campaign finance restrictions and end Wisconsin's good government tradition.

By - Oct 19th, 2015 03:19 pm
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American Cash by Psychonaught. Photo of money

American Cash by Psychonaught. Photo of money

In all my years as a state legislator and as a member of Congress, this coming week at our state Capitol will be the worst I have experienced in a legislative body. That’s because, if the Republican leadership has its way, this coming week will mark the end of clean, open and transparent government in Wisconsin.

In addition to rushing through bills that will dismantle our government watchdog agency and make it easier for political corruption to go undetected and unprosecuted, Republican legislators are proposing changes that would decimate our state’s campaign finance laws. These changes will enable individuals to spend unlimited amounts of money campaigning without any disclosure of their identity. Also – for the first time in modern Wisconsin history – corporations will be able to give unlimited money directly to political parties and legislative campaign committees.

When I travel around the greater Racine and Kenosha areas and talk to my constituents, not one person has ever told me they want corporations to have an ever greater influence over our elections and our government. No one has ever told me that they want a larger barrage of radio and TV ads around election time, especially when they don’t have a clue who is paying for them. In fact, they tell me just the opposite – that they believe it is far too easy for deep-pocketed individuals and wealthy special interests to buy elections in Wisconsin and control the agenda in Madison.

What hardworking taxpayers really want is for us to do something to address the fundamental challenges they face every day. They want us to work to improve economic opportunity and security so they can find good jobs and provide for themselves and their families. They want us to rebuild our crumbling roads. They want their kids to get a good education and be able to attend one of our world-class universities or technical colleges without being crushed by student loan debt.

With these campaign finance changes being fast-tracked – without even allowing time for legislators, our service agencies or the public to fully comprehend all the implications of these radical changes – I fear for the ability of ordinary citizens to have a say in their government, which is supposed to be of the people, for the people and by the people. That’s why I strongly encourage you to take action now to let legislators and the governor know that these campaign finance changes will take our state in exactly the wrong direction. This past summer, Republicans were forced by a huge public outcry to back off their plans to threaten your right to access public records. Your advocacy worked before, and it can work again.

You can find out more about how to contact your legislator by visiting the legislative homepage at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ or you can call the legislative hotline at 1-800-362-9472. It is more important than ever that all of us make our voices heard and make it clear that these campaign finance proposals are wrong for Wisconsin.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

7 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Campaign Finance Law Opens Door to Corruption”

  1. Gee Mann says:

    The GOP seems to be only able to solve problems that don’t exist. They’ve given up trying to help the citizens of the state.

  2. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    We have corruption now, on both sides with 527’s, Feingold created these, and other vehicles. Hillary and everyone is telling us so. We need to dump most of these laws, as it is impossible for people to understand them, and go back to the 60’s where you could give any amounts of money but had to report it immediately. WE can do that now. NO limits to candidates or political parties is much better.
    There will always be money in politics and much comes through back doors. Make it open and legal.
    Most of the big money now is misspent, not under control of the candidates and goes to incumbents.
    In 1968 Clean Gene ran against Viet Nam and only 12 people gave him most of the money. Lots of people saw that, incumbents and moved to limit money to stop that from happening but then opened it up fro rich people to run and poor little souls like the rest of us get screwed.

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    Shocker but in some ways I feel you’re right WCD. There will always be money in politics. Right now it sure seems like the GOP is fighting the openness part, or at least trying to subvert it as best they can.

  4. Barb- West Bend says:

    With passage of this campaign finance law Wisconsin will have a government bought and paid for by…?

  5. A busdriver says:

    The first mistake was the SCOTUS allowing super pacs. The second mistakes was electing Scooter Walker. The Koch bros own him & the rest of the Rep.in Wisc.

  6. Gerald Braden says:

    Urban Milwaukee is a site that I go to to find out about primarily new construction such as the new high rises going up in downtown Milwaukee, but i always have to watch my step through the large old steer droppings that are the scent of this blog. This article shows once again the extensive levels the liberal cause will take in order to bring confusion or blow smoke onto the truth at hand that the Democrats have thrived off of the laws currently in place. Thank God real change is in the works and the denial by the left needs to go away. Your accusations are specious at best and false to inquiring minds. Lets stop the smoke, the smell and the specious claims so typical of this blog. The courts this time are getting it right. Former Senator Feingold preached one thing; then after several years away he does the very thing he once protested as being corrupt. Speaking out of both sides of his mouth seems to be rather typical of liberal mindsets.

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    Can you go into a little more detail Gerald? You are heavy on rhetoric but light on explanation of how this improves things in the state.

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