State Rep. Terese Berceau
Press Release

Berceau, Public Interest Groups Offer Bill to Shine Light on Big Money in Campaigns

Berceau noted that no one is asking for more secret, unlimited corporate money in elections.

By - Nov 13th, 2015 02:22 pm

MADISON – Leaders from Common Cause in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Wisconsin Voices, and the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group joined Representative Terese Berceau (D-Madison) today to announce the Sunshine on Campaigns Bill, an update to Wisconsin’s campaign finance law that shines a bright light on campaign spending.

Berceau noted that no one is asking for more secret, unlimited corporate money in elections. “People are sick and tired of being bombarded by misleading and negative TV ads, robo calls, and mailings before elections.  We can’t legally restrict those ads, but we can make sure voters know who is paying for them and trying to influence our elections.”

Berceau’s bill is markedly different from the Republican-backed campaign finance “deform” measure the Assembly will vote on next Monday.  That legislation legalizes unchecked spending by wealthy individuals and companies with no disclosure requirements whatsoever.  It also allows candidates and their campaigns to co-ordinate with outside groups to an extent never before seen in Wisconsin.

“A tsunami of secret money from within and outside of Wisconsin can flood our elections to influence our votes,” warned Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

Former Representative Penny Bernard Schaber emphasized the Democrats’ alternative bill reflected what voters truly want.  “It makes it easier to follow ALL the money in campaigns and it makes sure the people’s right to know who pays for what is protected,” she stated.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, noted, “We have the right to know who is trying to buy our elections.  We have a right to know which politicians are in which pockets.  Otherwise we are mere spectators in the electoral arena.”

Berceau’s bill:

  • Requires disclosure during the 60 days before elections.
  • Requires disclosure for both express advocacy and issue advocacy communications.
  • Expands disclosure to include e-mail, social media, and mass texting.
  • Reinstates the yearly limit on the amount a person can give to a political party or campaign committee.
  • Repeals the loophole that allows unlimited political donations to a candidate in a recall election.
  • Clarifies the type of co-ordination between candidates and third parties that requires disclosure.

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