Chapter 11 of the state statutes, governing campaign financing, clearly needs a rewrite. Court rulings have blown huge holes in the law, which dates to 1974. One lawyer called the result “a confusing mess.” But there is vast disagreement over what changes should be made.
“No one outside of the Capitol Square in Madison has been clamoring for increasing the ability of lobbyists to make campaign contributions to legislators,” declared Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin.
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.
Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin decries the “revolving door” between lawmaking and lobbying: “It feeds a public perception that legislators, at least some of them, are legislators so they can cash in on the contacts they make.”
Some say the real target of political television ads — and mailings, emails and robo-calls — is the vanishingly small segment of the population that has yet to decide whether it stands with Republican Gov. Scott Walker or backs Democratic challenger Tom Barrett.