Matt Rothschild
Campaign Cash

Rep. Sargent Pushes Campaign Reform

Democratic proposal would add restrictions on campaign donations.

By , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Jan 18th, 2019 03:34 pm
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Melissa Sargent. Photo from the State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2013-14.

Melissa Sargent. Photo from the State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2013-14.

Earlier this week, Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly unveiled four urgent proposals they say are need to restore clean and open government in Wisconsin.

First, they came out in favor of nonpartisan redistricting to end gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

Second, they proposed a state constitutional amendment to prohibit lame-duck laws like those recently passed by Republican legislative leaders Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald and signed by lame duck Gov. Scott Walker.

Third, they proposed amending the state constitution to enshrine open records, and offered a bill that would clarify that the open meetings law applies to the legislature.

And fourth, they proposed several key campaign finance reforms, including:

–banning corporate donations to political parties and legislative campaign committees (in 2015, the Legislature, for the first time in 100 years, allowed this)

–placing a ceiling on individual donations to political parties and legislative campaign committees (in 2015, the legislature eliminated the old ceiling)

–placing a ceiling on the amount of money that political parties and campaign committees can give to candidate committees

Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), who is introducing the campaign finance provisions, explained why they are needed: “For too long, powerful special interest groups and the wealthy few have had an overwhelming and growing influence on elections across Wisconsin and nationwide.” She noted that the principle of “one person, one vote” is central to our democracy.

“Yet,” she added, “the power and influence of money in our political system continues to threaten that cornerstone of our democracy, and to hold it at the mercy of the wealthy and corporations.”

And she noted that the campaign finance changes that Walker and Republican legislators pushed through in 2015 came about “in spite of the will of the people, not because of it. Worst of all, the process was guided by the rich and powerful, rather than the ordinary people across Wisconsin.”

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