July 5, 2011 •
Here are highlights from the latest edition of News You Can Use:
From the States and Municipalities:
State and Federal Communications produces a weekly summary of national news, offering more than 80 articles per week focused on ethics, lobbying, and campaign finance.
News You Can Use is a news service provided at no charge only to clients of our online Executive Source Guides, or ALERTS™ consulting clients.
Jim Sedor is editor of News You Can Use.
June 1, 2011 •
Primary Set for July 12, 2011
A special election has been scheduled for August 9, 2011 to fill a seat left vacant in Assembly District 48.
In an executive order, Governor Scott Walker ordered the special election to fill the seat left vacant after the resignation of Joe Parisi, who was elected Dane County Executive in April.
If a primary is necessary in the district, it will be held on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.
Photo of the Wisconsin Capitol by Dori on Wikipedia.
March 1, 2011 •
Special Election to Replace Three Assembly Seats Vacated by Legislators Serving in Walker Administration
A special election has been scheduled for May 3, 2011 to fill three seats left vacant in the Wisconsin State Assembly by legislators who accepted positions in the Walker Administration. In an executive order, Governor Walker ordered the special election for Assembly Districts 60, 83 and 94.
If primaries are necessary in any of the districts, they will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, concurrent with the spring election.
Photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol by Jeff dean on Wikipedia.
December 22, 2010 •
Bringing you some timely schedule information to keep in mind.
MAINE: The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices will be closed December 23rd for a state government closure day. The Commission will also be closed the following day, December 24th, in observance of the Christmas holiday and on December 31st in observance of the New Year’s holiday.
WISCONSIN: The Government Accountability Board will be closed on December 24th, 2010 in observance of the Christmas holiday and on December 31st in observance of the New Year’s holiday.
December 14, 2010 •
The Government Accountability Board December 2010 meeting will convene Tuesday, December 14 and Wednesday, December 15, 2010.
The meeting was postponed one day due to inclement weather. The open session will convene Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. The closed session will convene Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. The Government Accountability Board has scheduled its next meeting for Thursday, January 13, 2011. The meeting will be conducted by teleconference.
The public can observe the meeting at the Government Accountability Board offices, 212 East Washington Avenue, Third Floor in Madison, Wisconsin, beginning at 10:00 am.
The Government Accountability Board meeting notice and supplementary materials may be accessed here.
December 2, 2010 •
The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear a case regarding a campaign finance rule amendment requiring groups to disclose the source of funding for political advertisements made prior to elections.
At the heart of the controversy is the Government Accountability Board’s (G.A.B.) rule which took effect August 1, 2010. The rule says advertisements broadcast in the weeks before an election must disclose their funding sources even if they do not expressly advocate a vote for or against a party or candidate.
Prior to the amendment, groups could evade disclosure requirements by running advertisements disguised as issue advocacy, so-called “phony issue ads”. Such ads were not considered political in nature as they did not contain what G.A.B. spokesperson Reid Magney calls the “magic words”: specific calls for viewers to vote for, elect, or approve a given candidate. The G.A.B.’s rule was meant close the “phony issue ad” loophole.
The Wisconsin legislature, for its part, permitted the G.A.B. rule to come into force on August 1, 2010. Since the rule’s effective date, however, groups across the state have claimed the rule infringes on their First Amendment rights to free speech. Several lawsuits, including two in federal court, have been filed challenging the rule’s constitutionality.
The judges in both federal cases have stayed the suits filed in their courts pending a resolution in the state case. Oral arguments begin in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on March 9, 2011.
November 24, 2010 •
Office Open For Business On November 26th
The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) will be open on Friday, November 26, 2010. Most other state offices will be closed for a mandatory furlough day. The G.A.B.’s next mandatory furlough day is scheduled for April 22, 2011.
November 19, 2010 •
The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) has released figures detailing the $9.96 million spent in 2010 as independent expenditures by groups including labor union and corporation political action committees.
Ninety-nine percent of expenditures went to the Fall general election. Corporations and other organizations registered with the G.A.B., so-called 1.91 organizations, spent $2,499,494. Labor union PACs spent $1,688,880 with corporation PACs spending $1,950,524. Other committee types spent $3,791,573 for a grand total of independent expenditures for the Fall 2010 Elections of: $9,930,472.
“This is the first time corporations and organizations other than PACs have been required to report spending on political campaigns, “ said Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the G.A.B. “This shows the importance of disclosure of political activity. And yet, so much more campaign spending was not required to be disclosed”.
Photo of the Wisconsin State Capitol at night by Darin ten Bruggencate on Wikipedia.
September 14, 2010 •
Wisconsin State Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson will select a state Court of Appeals judge to fill a vacancy on the Government Accountability Board Candidate Committee.
The committee serves as the nominating body for members of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) and consists of four judges chosen from the state’s four Court of Appeals districts.
The board is charged by state law with the responsibility of developing lists of candidates to fill any vacancies which occur on the G.A.B. The names of candidates selected by the board are sent to the governor who makes a nomination which is then subject to final confirmation by the Wisconsin Senate.
Chief Justice Abrahamson will conduct the selection process on Wednesday, September 15 at 9:45 a.m. in the hearing room of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Madison.
Photo of Madison, Wisconsin by Dori on Wikipedia.
August 11, 2010 •
The Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) has settled the lawsuit brought by One Wisconsin Now and Wisconsin Club for Growth over the board’s issue advocacy regulations.
Per the terms of a settlement reached Tuesday, the G.A.B. will not enforce regulations requiring groups who run issue ads to disclose their financing if the ads they paid for aired 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. Now, only advertisements advocating the defeat or election of identified candidates will be regulated in Wisconsin.
U.S. District Judge William M. Conley is expected to approve the settlement ending the litigation on August 11, 2010.
Here is the statement from the G.A.B. Web site.
For more news: “State agrees to drop new campaign ad rules,” by Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Photograph taken by Dori
August 11, 2010 •
State Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen issued a formal opinion on the impact on Wisconsin law of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Van Hollen explains, per Citizens United, any ban on corporate independent expenditures found in Wisconsin law violates the free speech and association guarantees of the First Amendment. The current prohibition found in Wisconsin law, however, banning the making and acceptance of corporate contributions was not reached by the Supreme Court and so it remains standing. Van Hollen goes on to explain Citizens United did not exclude issue advocacy from the scope of permissible reporting, disclosure, and disclaimer regulations which may be imposed by states like Wisconsin.
Finally, Van Hollen concurred with the recent efforts by the Government Accountability Board to suspend its enforcement of the corporate expenditure prohibition found in state law at Wisconsin Statutes § 11.38 (1)(a)(1) as those provision were clearly reached by the Citizens United decision. Attorney General Van Hollen’s opinion may be found at the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Web site.
Photo of J.B. Van Hollen by WisPolitics.com on Wikipedia.
August 4, 2010 •
A liberal and a conservative group join forces to fight a new Wisconsin law regulating political issue ads.
Wisconsin Club for Growth and One Wisconsin Now filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. The groups say the new law infringes upon their right to free speech. The rule they oppose requires any group putting out a political issue ad to disclose the source of their money and how they spent it – whether or not the words in the ad direct a person to vote for or against a candidate.
The groups also raise the concern that the new law would bring greater internet regulation.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers this article on the challenge:
“Political opposites protest ad rules,” by Jason Stein, August 1, 2010.
Photograph taken by Dori
July 19, 2010 •
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) will convene a two-day meeting beginning July 21, 2010 at 9:30 A.M.
The two-day session will continue on July 22, 2010 beginning at 8:30 A.M. There will be open and closed door sessions on both days. The G.A.B. is expected to discuss a request to extend G.A.B. Emergency Rule 1.91 relating to organizations making independent disbursements.
Among the other proposed campaign finance issues on the agenda are guidelines concerning charitable contributions, campaign fundraising, campaign contributions by lobbyists and principals, candidates and the lobby law, and campaign finance registration and reporting. Day One of the two-day meeting will be held in the Joint Committee on Finance Hearing Room located at 412 East in the State Capitol. Day Two will convene in the G.A.B. board room located at 212 East Washington Avenue, third floor in Madison.
Here are some great resources from the GAB Web site!
Photograph taken by Dori
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