Saturday November 28, 2020

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Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan nonprofit political watchdog group now in it's third decade of working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703-3689, 608-255-4260

Take Action: Please Write the Wis. Supreme Court

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 17 November 2020
in Wisconsin

gerrymander-elections-redistrictingCourt is considering a proposal that would likely lead to another gerrymander in Wisconsin. Let them know how you feel.


MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is taking public comments on a proposed rule that would pre-rig the process for the drawing of legislative and congressional district maps and would likely lead to another gerrymander in Wisconsin.

The proposed rule was submitted by the rightwing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), and it has the following flaws:

First, it would jump any legal challenge to redistricting immediately to the Wisconsin Supreme Court rather than let that challenge work its way through the courts in a normal fashion. The establishment of a record at the lower court level would enhance transparency and enable the citizens of Wisconsin to grasp the evidence in the case and the competing arguments as they wend their way through the courts.

Second, nonprofit public interest organizations and concerned citizens could get aced out of any hearing on redistricting maps before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The WILL petition, in Section 5(b), requires only that the political parties be heard by the Court in any dispute over the maps. It does not allow room, explicitly at least, for groups like ours that have a longstanding interest in this issue to be heard. Redistricting is not simply a dispute between the parties.

Third, the proposed rule that WILL is advancing gives the Court the leeway to disregard the procedures and requirements laid out in the rule itself. So that’s no rule at all if it allows you to toss everything out the window and just do what you want. If you’re going to have a rule, it should be abided by, and it should be transparent, and it should be applied in a fair manner.
matt-rothschild
So I have a favor to ask: Please write the Wisconsin Supreme Court today and tell them that you oppose this rule and tell them why in your own words.

At the top of your letter, please note that you are writing concerning Rule Petition 20-03 relating to legal challenges to redistricting.

If you copy your letter into this form by Nov. 22 at 5:00pm via the Wis. Fair Maps Coalition, we’ll submit it for you.

Thanks for your help!

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
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WI Democracy Campaign - Mourning RBG

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 26 September 2020
in Wisconsin

ruth-bader-ginsbergCareer dedicated to equality and justice, two things right at the heart of our work here.


MADISON - Here at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, we remain in mourning at the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Among the many causes she championed in her career dedicated to equality and justice, two are right at the heart of our work here.

The first is reducing the influence of money in our politics. She told The New Republic back in 2014 that the worst decision of the Roberts Court was Citizens United. “The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be," she said.

And the second cause is ending gerrymandering.

In 2015, Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in a case called Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The case revolved around the constitutionality of Proposition 106, the statewide binding referendum that passed in Arizona in 2000 and that took the redistricting authority away from the legislators and handed it over to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Committee.

Ginsburg ruled that the initiative process was totally in keeping with our founding principles. “The Framers may not have imagined the modern initiative process in which the people of a State exercise legislative power coextensive with the authority of an institutional legislature,” she wrote. “But the invention of the initiative was in full harmony with the Constitution’s conception of the people as the font of governmental power.” That conception is crucial in the context of gerrymandering, Ginsburg argued, stressing the importance of “lawmaking by the people, particularly where such lawmaking is intended to check legislators’ ability to choose the district lines they run in.”

In a sentence that rings so true for those of us in Wisconsin, she noted: “The legislature’s responsiveness to the people its members represent is hardly heightened when the representative body can be confident that what it does will not be overturned or modified by the voters themselves.”

matt-rothschildJustice Ginsburg knew well why our Legislature here in Madison is not responsive to the people. It’s because of gerrymandering.

May her memory be a blessing.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
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Wis Democracy Campaign - Trump’s Move Backfires

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 01 August 2020
in Wisconsin

portland-fed-force-2020MADISON - You might have thought I was being a bit on the hysterical side last week when I wrote to you about the risk of Donald Trump imposing martial law. But there he was this week tweeting about postponing the election!

Fortunately, this move backfired, as he was met with near universal condemnation, including from Republican elected officials (even in Wisconsin!).

We at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign signed on to a letter denouncing this reckless move, which you can read here.

Meanwhile, this week we kept doing what we do, day in and day out: Exposing money in Wisconsin politics.

matt-rothschildBefore I came to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, I didn’t even know what Legislative Campaign Committees are. But I soon found out: They’re the treasure chests that the Speaker, the Senate Majority Leader, and the two minority leaders have at their disposal for elections.

This year, these campaign committees raised record amounts, with the Republicans way ahead, as you’ll see here:

Legislative Fundraising Committees Raise Record Cash

In a related post, we discussed another record that was broken: fundraising by all the legislative candidates. Speaker Vos, for his personal campaign, led the way with $355,000 on hand. Add that to the $2,371,000 he controls as head of the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, and you can see why he’s so powerful. You can find all the details here:

Legislative Donors Undaunted by Pandemic

And here’s some good news! The Marathon County Board this week passed a resolution in favor of independent, nonpartisan redistricting. That makes 52 counties out of the 72 in Wisconsin that have passed board resolutions to ban gerrymandering. Also this week, the Bayfield County Board voted to let the citizenry weigh in on this issue on November 3 with an advisory referendum. That makes 10 county referendums coming up: Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, and Rusk.

Thanks to all the amazing grassroots activists who are making this happen!

I hope you have a nice weekend.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
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Wis Democracy Campaign - Trump’s March to Martial Law

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 25 July 2020
in Wisconsin

portland-fed-force-2020With Trump's placement of federal forces in Portland and his vow to send them to other cities, Matt Rothschild fears democracy may be lost.


MADISON - For many years, first while I was at The Progressive magazine and for the last five and a half years at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, I’ve been worried about our little experiment in democracy in this country ending at the hands of an authoritarian.

Well, now we have an authoritarian as President, and with his placement of federal forces in Portland – and his vow to send them to other cities, including Milwaukee! – my fears are growing stronger by the day. I write about how Trump might overturn our cherished system here:

Trump’s Troops in Portland and the March to Martial Law

Focusing back on Wisconsin, we looked at the recent campaign finance filings and noticed that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is way ahead in the money chase. If you’re a Democrat, you may be cheering this news. But I’m not because I think it’s obscene that anyone can give unlimited amounts of money to the political parties now. Until 2015, when the Republicans disastrously rewrote our campaign finance law, the ceiling on gifts to political parties was $10,000. Now there is no ceiling. The sky is the limit. And so out-of-state billionaires are throwing their money into Wisconsin to influence the outcome of political races here. Find out who they are by clicking here:

State Dems Raised 10X More Than Republicans in Recent Months

Ok, let’s end with some good news! The Public Service Commission, under pressure from the Sierra Club, Citizen Action, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and other public interest advocates and activists like you, reversed course this week and decided not to let the utilities start cutting people off, which they were going to do as of tomorrow. Instead, the PSC extended the moratorium on shut-offs until at least Sept. 1.

Activism pays off!

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
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Wis Democracy Campaign - Supreme Corruption

Posted by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a
User is currently offline
on Friday, 15 May 2020
in Wisconsin

rebecca-bradley-walkerMADISON - After the outrageous decision by the right wing majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to lift “Safer at Home,” we noted that there still is another case before the Court on this same issue. And guess what? The lead plaintiff is a major GOP donor, and he maxxed out to Justice Rebecca Bradley, as we explain here:

Conservative Justice Got $20K Contribution from Individual in Second Stay-at-Home Suit

We were also so disgusted by Chief Justice Roggensack’s “regular people” comment about the meatpackers in Green Bay that we checked out her statement of economic interest to see “regular” she was. Here’s what we found:

Roggensack Has at Least $295K+ in Investments

By the way, if you want to see financial relationships and how wealthy some of our other state elected officials are, just click here:

Statements of Economic Interests

Our Data Analyst, David Julseth, just posted statements of economic interests filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission as of May 2020. These statements cover calendar year 2019. This is the only place that the public can view them without first submitting a request form to do so!

matt-rothschildI hope you find these postings useful.

And I’d love to hear from you, so please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you’d like.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
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P.S. If you like the work we’re doing, please make a tax-deductible gift today to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. We’d really appreciate it. Just click here. Thanks!

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