Wisconsin Republicans Attempt to Advance Scott Walker’s Campaign Corruption Protection Act

Mar 05, 2014

In the closing weeks of a session that did little to improve Wisconsin’s 37th in the nation job growth ranking or strengthen the economic security of the middle-class, Wisconsin Republicans are attempting to rush through a series of bills that expand the role of corporate cash in elections.

With a wink and nod, Scott Walker has said these bills aren’t “on his radar.” But those who’ve been paying attention know that’s just Walker code for “I’ll just sign these when no one is looking.” (See private signing of forced ultrasound bill; repeal of pay equity protections for women, seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities; racist school mascot bill)

One bill, SB 655, would allow legislators to accept lobbyist cash while in session, while the other, SB 654, would clarify state law to ensure that special interests can fund so-called “issue ads” without disclosing their donors.

Since Scott Walker took office, Wisconsin has seen an unprecedented influx of dark money in our elections and an unrivaled pay-to-play culture where top Republican donors were able to write their own laws to skip out on child support.

Right-wing groups like Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, and Wisconsin Family Action spent more than $25 million on so-called “issue ads” during the Wisconsin recall elections in 2011 and 2012.**

“To be sure, Scott Walker and his Republican Party rely on the power of hidden corporate campaign cash since they can’t win on the strength of their ideas,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. “But with Wisconsin growing jobs at just half the national average and tens of thousands of working families living in poverty, the last thing our legislature should be focused on is passing this Campaign Corruption Protection Act.”

** Note: Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin Family Action, and dozens more groups like the Republican Governors Association are reported to be under investigation for illegally coordinating with the Walker campaign during the 2011 and 2012 recalls.