Campaign Integrity Package Announced
Madison, WI–Assembly and Senate legislators and clean-government advocates unveiled a “Campaign Integrity” package that promotes open and transparent government. Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding the proposals, which have been circulated for co-sponsorship:
“Wisconsin was once a state admired for tough campaign finance laws that protected both our public voice and the integrity of our political process. In 2014, independent expenditure groups in legislative races in Wisconsin spent $2 million. However, in 2015, Republicans rewrote campaign finance laws that eliminated many contribution restrictions and loosened requirements on reporting contributions. These changes inevitably bred corruption as we saw in 2018 when candidates received $15 million in donations, and again in 2020 when this amount doubled to a whopping $32.1 million. To break these numbers down further, from 2010 to 2014 only 16.77% of campaign contributions came from PACS, but from 2016 to 2020 we saw this amount rise to 57.81%.
“It is our right as citizens to have a voice in a healthy democracy. Despite the 83% of Wisconsinites who want medical marijuana, the 70% who want expanded Medicaid coverage, and the large majorities who want more spending on public education and a higher minimum wage, dark money and gerrymandering have prohibited us from delivering these resources to our neighbors. You shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to have an influence on our political system. We must pass these bills to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have their voices heard, rather than drowned out in the tidal wave of corporate cash. We owe it to the health of our democracy to regulate campaign cash.
“Continuing to allow powerful special interest groups to have a stranglehold on Wisconsin elections, is a betrayal of our democracy and our shared interests. This Campaign Integrity package will restore our neighbors’ faith in our democracy and promote fairness in our campaign finance rules. As the 2022 midterm election looms over our shoulders, passing this package is more important than ever.”
The deadline for signing on as a co-sponsor to this package is August 17th. A summary of each of the seven bills is attached.