Mar 5, 2014

Wisconsin GOP Pushing Anti-public Election Bills to Protect Party and Secrecy

State Senator Dale Schultz' (R-Richland Center) office says that the Wisconsin Republican Party is pushing three "bad bills" the Wisconsin state senate that Schultz calls the GOP's legislative equivalent of "March Madness."

Schultz is against the bills, SB 654, SB 655 and AB 202 now in the state senate's Senate Elections and Urban Affairs Committee.

Jake's Economic TA Funhouse labels the bills, more WisGOP dark money shenanigans, noting the GOP's SOP of "evasion of exposure and accountability."

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin released a statement blasting the bills; statement reads in part:
SB 654 and SB 655 were introduced quietly Monday and rushed to a hearing today. They could have a committee vote as early as tomorrow and then go to the floor.

SB 654 would make it more difficult, if not virtually impossible, for voters to know who is funding the so-called “issue ads” designed to influence our elections. The League opposes this based on our belief that our state and nation thrive when citizens are well informed and actively engaged as participants in our government. Citizens have a right to know who is behind efforts to influence our elections.

SB 655 would increase the spending limit that determines when a group working to influence an election has to register as a campaign committee. This would result in fewer groups required to report their expenditures and less information available to citizens. Among many other provisions the bill also extends the time during which lobbyists may make campaign contributions, increasing the potential and likelihood that such contributions will be used to influence legislation.

The committee will also be considering AB 202, which would allow poll watchers to be as close as three feet behind election officials at polling places. This would be disruptive to the process, stressful for election officials and intimidating for some voters. This bill has already been passed by the Assembly and now is in the Senate. Here is the League's statement on AB 202.

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