In some newsrooms, reporters and editors fondly welcome odd-numbered years.
That’s because these are election-lite: No races for president, governor, attorney general or the state Legislature. No glut of partisan candidates trying to open new orifices in each other’s anatomies. Hooray.
But in covering a beat like money and politics, there is no break in the action. A glance back through a year’s worth of weekly columns confirms it.
In politics, as in comedy, timing is key, even if it’s accidental. The same week in February 2011 that Russ Feingold announced the formation of the advocacy group Progressives United to “stand up to the exploding corporate influence in our political system,” events in Wisconsin gave him something to advocate about.
Scott Walker isn’t anybody’s idea of a champion of campaign finance reform. But, in a recent interview, he touted donor transparency and called for ending the ability of recall targets to accept unlimited sums.
The backdrop for many of Wisconsin’s current ethical controversies is an unprecedented flow of money into the state’s political machinery. With last year’s Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, some loopholes in the state’s campaign finance laws have grown even wider.