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Bills Introduced To Reform Money In Wisconsin Politics


The Executive Director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says a series of bills introduced by State Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee are a first step toward cutting the influence of campaign money in politics.

Several bills reduce the amount that individuals can give directly to candidates, political parties, legislative campaign committees, and PACs.

Matthew Rothschild says changes in the law in 2015 tilted the scale toward wealthy contributors...

"....In 2015 they doubled the amount individuals can give and it was already ridiculously high for Governor. You could give $10,000 to your favorite candidate and they doubled that, so rich and poor alike can write a check for $20,000 to your favorite candidate for Governor. How many people can whip out their checkbook and do that?...."

Two bills would ban corporations, unions, tribes, and other groups from giving to political parties and legislative campaign committees....

"Before 2015 you could only give $10,000 to your political party. Now, the skies the limit. You can give $1 million or $2 million to the Republican Party of Wisconsin or the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and then the parties can turn around and give it to your favorite candidate for Governor that you just gave $20,000 to. In essence you've given $2 million and $20,000..."

Another bill supplies a strict definition of “coordination” between candidates and outside groups, and bans such coordination both with “issue advocacy” groups and express advocacy groups.

Rothschild says he thinks the bills may find tough sledding when they get to legislative consideration.

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