Monday October 19, 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

Scalia and John Doe/Vos and Vouchers

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 Wednesday, 17 February 2016
in Wisconsin

antonin-scaliaMADISON - When I heard the news about Justice Scalia, one of my first thoughts was how was this going to affect the appeal of the John Doe decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. So I scratched my head on that one, and this is what I came up with:

Scalia’s death ups the odds of John Doe appeal

This week, with every variety of nasty bills being pushed through the legislature at warp speed, we focused on one that Speaker Vos is peddling, and that’s his voucher expansion amendment (Assembly Amendment 3 to Assembly Bill 751), which is up for a floor vote tomorrow. Our research director, Mike Buelow, dug up the info on the voucher school lobby:

Who is behind more $$ for voucher schools?

Ironically, as yesterday was Election Day, the Republican leadership in the legislature thought it was an appropriate time to bring to a vote two bills that interfere with our franchise: one to do away with Special Registration Deputies (you know, those great folks from the League of Women Voters who sign people up); the other to deny towns and counties the authority to issue local ID cards. We wrote about them here:

Assembly poised to pass measures to make it harder to vote

Unfortunately, both of those bills passed, as have some bad environmental bills.

But don’t despair. The Walker Wrecking Crew won’t be in power forever. No one ever is.

And as Howard Zinn reminds us, “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.”

Please enjoy that bit of wisdom, along with the warming weather.

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Wisconsin's Capitol a Disaster Area!

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 Thursday, 11 February 2016
in Wisconsin

capitol-night-wiscAB 723 limiting the ability of towns and counties to issue local IDs, AB 868 the "Mark Harris bill" prohibiting legislators from simultaneously holding the office of county executive, bills to siphon more of our taxpayer dollars away from our public schools, maneuverings in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and more attacks on local control are just a few.


MADISON - I’ve spent a lot of time at the Capitol this week, and it’s a real disaster area!

The Republican leadership is ramming through lots of bills that are bad for democracy and the common good.

I was up there Wednesday testifying against a bill, AB 723, that would limit the ability of towns and counties to issue local IDs. Here’s my testimony:

WDC testimony opposing AB 723, regulating photo ID cards issued by local units of government

While I was waiting to testify on that one, I also gave impromptu testimony against a bill -- AB868-- pushed by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to prohibit legislators from simultaneously holding the office of county executive. I said the voters ought to be able to decide that one for themselves, and I noted that many legislators have other jobs, including as mayors or county board members.

On Tuesday, I went to the Senate gallery to watch them debate a bill, SB 295, that would, for all practical purposes, block voter registration drives. Here’s the alert we sent out on this one:

Wisconsin  Republicans try to crush voter registration drives

Also this week, Speaker Robin Vos has been trying to siphon more of our taxpayer dollars away from our public schools and into the lap of the owners of voucher schools. We show you the money behind this shell game:

Who is behind more $$ for voucher schools?

We also have been keeping an eye on the maneuverings in the Wisconsin Supreme Court to see whether the three district attorneys who joined the case will be allowed to appeal the court’s horrendous John Doe decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. There’s an effort by lawyers – including one who is now famous for his role in the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer”—to have Attorney General Brad Schimel try to quash it, which we wrote about twice:

Is Brad Schimel ace in the hole for John Doe opponents?
Schimel angles for an invite to block John Doe

And speaking of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, we’ve updated our database on the contributions to the candidates running to get on that bench next Tuesday:

Supreme Court campaign updated (If you want to find out who has been giving to which candidate, just click on the candidate’s name once you open that link. There are links to "issue" ads and special interest spending as well.)

And while we’re still on the subject of the state supreme court race, please keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground for any advertisement you see on TV or hear on the radio – or any mailing you get or billboard you see encounter – from outside groups.

One way to do so is to go to our Hijack Hotline on our website or by using this url:
http://www.wisdc.org/index.php?module=wisdc.websiteforms&cmd=hijackhotline

Or you could send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , describing the ad and where you saw it.

That’s how we keep track of all the outside money!

Thanks for your help.

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Take Action: Block Senate Bill 295

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 Monday, 08 February 2016
in Wisconsin

gotv-volunteersMADISON - The Wisconsin State Senate may vote as early as tomorrow, February 9th, on a bill that would end a time-honored tradition in Wisconsin: the voter registration drive.

Last week, the State Senate Committee on Elections and Local Government approved Senate Bill 295 on a party-line, 3-2, vote. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign opposes this bill and urges you – and all your friends – to contact their state senators and tell them to vote against the bill.

The bill would do two good things: It would allow some voters to register on line, and it would allow Veteran Health ID Cards to be valid for voting.

But at the same time, it would make it impossible to conduct voter registration drives. It would do this in two ways.

First, it would forbid the use of special registration deputies. These are people who have assisted municipal clerks in registering voters out in the community. For more than four decades, such deputies have done a phenomenal job in reaching out to our neighbors and signing people up to vote. This is the heart and soul of the work of such valiant groups as the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

Second, it would even forbid municipal clerks from conducting voter registration drives. This year, the clerks in Madison and Milwaukee have been conducting these registration drives in public libraries all over their cities.

This bill would depress voter turnout by design, and that’s outrageous.

So please contact your state senator today and urge your senator to vote no on SB 295.

If you don’t know your legislator’s name or email address, just go to legis.wisconsin.gov and type in your address in the box in the top right corner.

Thanks for your activism!

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Watch Those “Issue” ads!

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 Sunday, 07 February 2016
in Wisconsin

rebecca-bradleyRebecca Bradley is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and she's using video from the Bradley Foundation backed Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives, in her campaign. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin.


MADISON - You can tell election season is open in Wisconsin now because your TV screens and your mailboxes are starting to fill up with bogus “issue” ads.

The first group out of the gate is the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives. They’ve put together an ad that praises Rebecca Bradley, who is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And they’ve even used video from Bradley’s campaign itself. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin, by the way.

Group’s “issue ad” cribs from Supreme Court candidate’s campaign

And we just got a call today from one of our members who got a mailing from this same group that cast aspersions on Iowa County DA Larry Nelson, who is running for circuit court judge.

If you see an “issue” ad from any group, please contact us.

The best way to do so is to go to our Hijack Hotline on our website.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the online reporting form or would rather discuss the details directly: (608) 255-4260.

Speaking of Larry Nelson, he’s one of the three district attorneys who recently joined the John Doe II case and is trying to appeal the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling in the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Now those who were being investigated by the John Doe are trying to block any such appeal, as we wrote here:

John Doe opponents try to block path to U.S. Supreme Court

One other issue we’re following closely is the outrageous effort to loosen the restrictions on high-capacity wells that factory farms use. The latest twist is that Speaker Robin Vos has urged AG Brad Schimel to intervene and overrule the DNR on this one. Turns out Schimel has gotten money from some of the biggest factory farm owners, as we show here:

Schimel to rule on wells after getting contributions from factory farms

You never know what they’ll come up with next! But you can count on us to expose it.

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Privatizing Water!

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, 29 January 2016
in Wisconsin

clean-drinking-waterMADISON - This week we revealed that there is one company behind the Republican bills to make it easier to sell off municipal water utilities. Find out who that company is, and how much it spent on lobbying last year, by reading this article:

Bills would make it easier to privatize public water utilities

And guess whose fingerprints are all over these bills? None other than ALEC, as we show here:

ALEC’s fingerprints on bills to privatize public water supplies

The NRA is also throwing its weight around in the legislature. It’s behind two bills, including concealed carry for switchblades and other blades:

NRA-backed weapons bills head to Walker

As you can see, there have been a lot of retrograde bills coming down the pike lately. I had fun testifying at the Capitol on Tuesday against a bill that would restrict local governments from issuing their own ID cards to residents. Here’s my testimony:

WDC opposes Senate Bill 533 regulating photo ID cards issued by local units of government

And here’s a bill we support, as it would safeguard public records in Wisconsin:

Democratic bill would create fine for destroying certain public records

As the legislature hurries to finish up its work in the next month or so, we’ll keep an eye out on the bills – and the money behind the bills.

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