Will Assembly Republicans Give Halloween Treat to Their Big Money Campaign Donors?

Bill Under Consideration Would Hide Information About Millions in Campaign Cash From Public

MADISON, Wis. — Just in time for Halloween, the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections is moving forward with a bill to give a special treat to big campaign donors by rolling back campaign fundraising transparency laws. Assembly Bill 378, being given a public hearing by the committee today, would quadruple the current law donation threshold for reporting information about a donor’s occupation and employer.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Republicans seem determined to deliver a huge treat for their big money contributors, allowing them to mask critical information from the public as they auction off our state to the highest bidders. We say ‘boo.’”

Assembly Bill 378 (AB 378), and companion to Senate legislation authored by Glenn Grothman, would shield thousands of big money donors giving millions of dollars in contributions from disclosure requirements. Under current law, contributors giving a candidate more than $100 must disclose their occupation and employer, and candidates’ publicly available campaign finance reports must include this information.

Earlier this year, based on information disclosed under the current law, One Wisconsin Now found employees of companies receiving nearly $30 million from Gov. Scott Walker’s privatized and failing Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation donated $400,000 to Walker’s campaign since 2010. In addition, these companies donated an additional $200,000 to the Republican Governors Association, which has spent in excess of $14 million to support Walker.

Ross noted that One Wisconsin Now has filed a complaint with state election regulators at the Government Accountability Board over Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent campaign finance filing for failing to disclose employment information, as required by state law, for 240 large contributions. Going back to 2009, when Walker began his run for Governor in earnest, his reports have failed to disclose legally required employer information for 7,512 big money donors giving over $100 totaling $2,330,197.98 in contributions.

“This is yet another example of the real fraud in Wisconsin elections today, partisan politicians manipulating the rules for their own advantage. Gov. Walker not obeying campaign transparency laws and legislative Republicans not liking them aren’t valid reasons for changing the law to hide critical information from the public,” concluded Ross.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.