June 26, 2015 •

Madison City Council to Consider Prohibiting Lobbyists from Serving on City Committees

Madison Ald. David Ahrens will soon propose an ordinance to ban registered lobbyists from serving on city committees. The proposal is expected to be introduced on July 7 as a means of eliminating both the appearance and reality of conflicts […]

flag of Madison WisconsinMadison Ald. David Ahrens will soon propose an ordinance to ban registered lobbyists from serving on city committees. The proposal is expected to be introduced on July 7 as a means of eliminating both the appearance and reality of conflicts of interest.

The ordinance would not only prohibit registered lobbyists from serving on city committees, but would also force those who are not lobbyists when appointed and who register later to vacate their seats.

Although the city currently requires lobbyist registration and disclosure, Ahrens argues the current law isn’t enforced.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 5, 2015 •

Wisconsin Special Election Called for Senate District 33

Gov. Scott Walker has called a special election for July 21, 2015, to fill the Senate District 33 seat of Paul Farrow (R), who plans to resign on July 17. Farrow is resigning to focus on his new position as […]

WisconsinGov. Scott Walker has called a special election for July 21, 2015, to fill the Senate District 33 seat of Paul Farrow (R), who plans to resign on July 17.

Farrow is resigning to focus on his new position as county executive of Waukesha County.

Rep. Chris Kapenga (R) and Brian Dorow, an associate dean at Waukesha County Technical College, have announced plans to run in the Republican primary on June 23.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

March 24, 2015 •

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Remains, But Not for Spring Election

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a case alleging the state’s 2011 voter ID law is unconstitutional. Following the decision, the Government Accountability Board consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and determined photo ID will not […]

WisconsinThe U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear a case alleging the state’s 2011 voter ID law is unconstitutional.

Following the decision, the Government Accountability Board consulted with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and determined photo ID will not be required for the April 7 Spring Election.

Photo ID will be required for subsequent elections, including any special elections in 2015.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 24, 2015 •

Wisconsin Extraordinary Session Draws Opposition

While lawmakers meet in an extraordinary session to quickly pass a right-to-work bill, union leaders are sponsoring an opposition rally at the state Capitol. Senate Bill 44 will be debated in the Committee on Labor, with a Senate floor vote […]

Wisconsin State Capitol SenateWhile lawmakers meet in an extraordinary session to quickly pass a right-to-work bill, union leaders are sponsoring an opposition rally at the state Capitol. Senate Bill 44 will be debated in the Committee on Labor, with a Senate floor vote expected on Wednesday, February 24.

The Assembly is expected to take action on Assembly Bill 61 after the Senate passes its version of the bill. The AFL-CIO held a press conference urging members to tell their senators to vote against the bill.

Gov. Scott Walker has indicated he will sign the bill if passed.

Photo of the interior of the Wisconsin State Capitol by Dori on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 6, 2015 •

Federal Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin Campaign Finance Provisions

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert ruled several portions of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional. The court permanently enjoined the state from enforcing campaign finance laws against groups discussing candidates. Those laws, however, continue to be enforceable against express advocacy. […]

WisconsinU.S. District Court Judge Charles Clevert ruled several portions of Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws unconstitutional. The court permanently enjoined the state from enforcing campaign finance laws against groups discussing candidates. Those laws, however, continue to be enforceable against express advocacy.

The court also struck down attribution and disclaimer requirements as applied to radio speech 30 seconds or shorter and enjoined enforcement of limits on what organizations could spend to solicit contributions to their own political committees.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 15, 2014 •

Wisconsin Federal Judge Allows Campaign Coordination

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa ordered Wisconsin officials to stop enforcing the state law prohibiting certain coordination between candidate campaigns and independent groups. Randa’s order came in a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates against the state Government […]

Wisconsin Eastern District CourtU.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa ordered Wisconsin officials to stop enforcing the state law prohibiting certain coordination between candidate campaigns and independent groups. Randa’s order came in a lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates against the state Government Accountability Board and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

Randa ruled the state cannot regulate groups coordinating with candidates, so long as the groups engage in issue advocacy. Groups engaging in issue advocacy generally make efforts to favor or criticize a candidate without explicitly urging a vote for or against the candidate.

The case will likely be appealed considering Randa’s prior related decision to halt a John Doe investigation against the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker was overturned by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 9, 2014 •

Judge Enjoins Enforcement of Wisconsin Candidate Limits

A federal judge entered a preliminary injunction in favor of a conservative group challenging the state’s limits on the amount candidates can collect from political action committees. The group argued the limits infringed upon its First Amendment free speech rights. […]

WisconsinA federal judge entered a preliminary injunction in favor of a conservative group challenging the state’s limits on the amount candidates can collect from political action committees. The group argued the limits infringed upon its First Amendment free speech rights.

The judge agreed and issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Government Accountability Board from enforcing the limit.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

August 14, 2014 •

Wisconsin Burke to Face Gov. Walker in November

Democrat Mary Burke will face Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the November general election. Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state commerce secretary, is the first woman to be nominated by a major party for governor in Wisconsin. A […]

WisconsinDemocrat Mary Burke will face Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the November general election.

Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state commerce secretary, is the first woman to be nominated by a major party for governor in Wisconsin.

A recent Marquette University Law School poll found women support Burke by a 48 to 41 percent margin, while men support Walker 52 to 42 percent.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

June 23, 2014 •

Wisconsin PAC Limits Challenged

A federal lawsuit has been filed to challenge the state law limiting campaign contributions to candidates from political action committees (PACs). The CRG Network (CRG), a PAC working to elect conservative candidates, filed the lawsuit in the Milwaukee U.S. District […]

WisconsinA federal lawsuit has been filed to challenge the state law limiting campaign contributions to candidates from political action committees (PACs).

The CRG Network (CRG), a PAC working to elect conservative candidates, filed the lawsuit in the Milwaukee U.S. District Court against the state Government Accountability Board. CRG argues its rights to free speech and free association have been denied because of PAC contribution limits.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the law in 1990, but subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings may make the earlier state Supreme Court case irrelevant.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

June 20, 2014 •

Wisconsin Governor Accused of Illegal Campaign Coordination

Prosecutors claim Gov. Scott Walker was involved with a plan to illegally coordinate fundraising with outside conservative groups to help him and several Republican senators survive a 2012 recall election. In court documents recently unsealed, prosecutors detail a criminal scheme […]

Scott Walker by Gage SkidmoreProsecutors claim Gov. Scott Walker was involved with a plan to illegally coordinate fundraising with outside conservative groups to help him and several Republican senators survive a 2012 recall election. In court documents recently unsealed, prosecutors detail a criminal scheme by Walker and top aides to circumvent state law by helping plan campaign spending by a dozen outside groups.

No charges have been filed against Walker or any of his staffers. The documents became public as part of an ongoing lawsuit by Wisconsin Club for Growth, a group at the center of the investigation. A federal appeals judge now is considering whether to permanently stop the investigation.

Photo of Gov. Scott Walker courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

June 2, 2014 •

Wisconsin John Doe Sues GAB

Targets of a John Doe investigation by the Government Accountability Board (GAB) have countered by filing suit against GAB. Conservative activist Eric O’Keefe, his Wisconsin Club for Growth, and “others similarly situated” filed the lawsuit in the Waukesha County Circuit […]

Seal of WisconsinTargets of a John Doe investigation by the Government Accountability Board (GAB) have countered by filing suit against GAB. Conservative activist Eric O’Keefe, his Wisconsin Club for Growth, and “others similarly situated” filed the lawsuit in the Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs allege GAB does not have the statutory authority to appoint and pay special investigators to probe conservative organizations suspected of illegally coordinating with Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign during the state’s partisan recall elections.

The lawsuit follows a U.S. District Court decision effectively ending the John Doe investigation and a 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision declaring the state’s campaign laws restricting issue advertising unconstitutional.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 28, 2014 •

Wisconsin GAB Drafts New Lobbyist Contribution Guidelines

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) is seeking comment on new guidelines for lobbyist campaign contributions. Following changes to campaign fundraising rules pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 153, GAB concluded a lobbyist may deliver or convey a campaign contribution on behalf […]

campaign fundraisingThe Government Accountability Board (GAB) is seeking comment on new guidelines for lobbyist campaign contributions. Following changes to campaign fundraising rules pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 153, GAB concluded a lobbyist may deliver or convey a campaign contribution on behalf of a political action committee, conduit, or other person to a candidate for any office at any time.

The draft changes to GAB guidelines 1249 and 1250 are available here. Comments should be sent to Division Administrator Jonathan Becker at jonathan.becker@wi.gov or (608) 267-0647 by June 2, 2014.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 22, 2014 •

Wisconsin GAB Votes to Allow Lobbyist Delivery of Contributions

The Government Accountability Board (GAB) voted to allow lobbyists to pass along donations from political action committees and clients to state lawmakers at any point during the year. GAB previously concluded recently signed Senate Bill 655 removed the ability of […]

Seal of Wisconsin
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) voted to allow lobbyists to pass along donations from political action committees and clients to state lawmakers at any point during the year.

GAB previously concluded recently signed Senate Bill 655 removed the ability of lobbyists to deliver anyone else’s contribution at any time.

The change in interpretation was supported by Republican legislative leaders, lobbyists, and attorneys for the Legislature.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 15, 2014 •

Wisconsin Ban on Corporate Political Spending Ruled Unconstitutional

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has declared portions of the state’s campaign finance laws restricting issue advertising unconstitutional. Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. and its state political action committee sued the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to prevent enforcement […]

US-CourtOfAppeals-7thCircuit-Seal

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has declared portions of the state’s campaign finance laws restricting issue advertising unconstitutional. Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. and its state political action committee sued the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to prevent enforcement of state statutes and rules against issue advocacy groups spending money for political speech independently of candidates and parties.

The decision prevents GAB from enforcing both the state’s ban on political spending by corporations and the amount a corporation may spend on fundraising for an affiliated political action committee. The ruling will also affect a secret John Doe investigation into conservative organizations suspected of illegally coordinating with Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign during the state’s partisan recall elections.

 

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close