Big Money Bulletin
This page serves as an archive for past Big Money Bulletins, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s bimonthly newsletter for members (you can join here). The archive goes back to June 2001. All bulletins are in pdf format and require a pdf reader such as Adobe Acrobat which can be downloaded for free here.
Number 103, February 2017
The threat from Trump
12 things you can do to defend democracy; Unrig the maps; Diapers full of cash; Betsy DeVos and Wisconsin; Mark your calendar-Annual Meeting; Share big with The Big Share
Number 102, October 2016
The path ahead
Complaints against Wisconsin Club for Growth and Rep. Knudson; WMC's high yields; Realtors cash in; Post-election party.
Number 101, August 2016
Good news x 4
Eric Bott and the Dairy Business Association named influence peddlers; A cozy Supreme Court pick; Spreading the manure thick; Kohler to slice state park; Fighting Bob Fest.
Number 100, June 2016
An inspirational annual gathering
Shannons and Menard featured influence peddlers; Electoral maps in court; Special interest follies; Getting the word out.
Number 99, April 2016
Come to our party!
Annual Meeting Invitation; Influence peddlers; Buying Wisconsin's Supreme Court; Saying no to Citizens United; Zombie homes; Local control eroded; Landlords empowered; Redistricting.
Number 98, February 2016
A public telling on big money
Diane Hendricks, influence peddler of the month; Local control under assault; John Doe; Privatizing water; Civil service deform; Dems for nuclear power; Mark your calendar.
Number 97, October 2015
Strangled by a twisted first amendment
NRA, influence peddler of the month; Another power grab; A celebration of voting; $1,000 an hour lobbyists; The Kohl's connection; From beyond the grave?
Number 96, August 2015
Save the GAB!
Influence peddlers; State Supeme Court calamity; More lead in paint; State AG backs polluters; Golf course owner scores; Contact your legislator; Fighting Bob Fest.
Number 95, June2015
A great celebration!
Enbridge the environmentalist; Vote no on AB176; Business may skimp on taxes; Paper is king; Insurers grease the skids; Voucher payoff; Our phone keeps ringing; Quadruple our pleasure.
Number 94, April 2015
Come celebrate our 20th anniversary
Caucus scandal revisited; Testimony on campaign finance; Switchblades all around; The Menard file; Breaks for big dairy; Making the Times.
Number 93, February 2015
A note from Matt Rothschild
Scott Walker's top contributors; Randa's revenge; Special interest follies; Koch brothers and Citizens United; Fighting back.
Number 92, October 2014
Insurance industry gives a lot, gets more
ID not required to vote; Road builders buy place on ballot; Judge OKs dark money scam; High court conflicted in John Doe case; Shake up needed at WEDC; more.
Number 91, August 2014
Legislative fundraising sets records
Walker remains a money magnet; Outside money's influence growing; How to become a sustainer; 28th Amendment National Roadshow; Fighting Bob Fest; WDC is hiring; Why local control gets clipped.
Number 90, June 2014
Reform champion knocks it out of the park
Political donation limit dumped; Wrecking ball hits anti-corrution laws; Film proceeds go to WDC; WDC seeks IRS action on Koch ads supporting Walker; Pictures worth 2,000 words.
Number 89, April 2014
Author and activist Lawrence Lessig headlines WDC annual meeting
Supreme Court drops another bomb; Wisconsin communties move to amend; Leadership change coming to WDC; Less for voters, more for lobbyists; Kissing the ring in Vegas.
Number 88, February 2014
Citizen groups call for Assembly vote on Citizens United referendum
The color of money; Old boy's club rules money game; Coin-operated Capitol, WDC's goal-line stand; Kudos from a national reporter; Signs of our times.
Number 87, October 2013
35 Groups rally to put 'r' back in 'free speech'
What Shaun McCutcheon wants; WDC honored; Politicians push for more cash, less disclosure; Big contributors in 2013; Check bundling on the rise; Become a sustainer.
Number 86, August 2013
Push for Citizens United referendum
Money flows to power; Business leaders warm to reform; 12th Fighting Bob Fest; Now it gets tougher; Renewed attack on campaign finance disclosure.
Number 85, June 2013
Assembly votes to double donation limits
Number 84, April 2013
Election spending triples after Citizens United
Big money voucher push; Outsiders control high court race; Who opposes reform most often; Journalism's uncertain future; WDC on the big screen; Feingold praises WDC.
Number 83, February 2013
WDC loses funding
There’s gold in them thar hills; Road interests pay for protection; The Citizens United effect; Redistricting wreaks havoc; NRA looming over gun debate.
Number 82, October 2012
'End legal bribery' campaign launched
Taking it to the streets; Dark money rising; US judged a "failing" democracy; One way to change the world; TV peddling junk food.
Number 81, August 2012
Spending in governor recall hits $81 million
Flaws in disclosure laws; WDC pushes for reform hearings; TV ad disclosure rule survives scare; Walker uses legal fund for PR; Voter ID lie; more.
Number 80, June 2012
Money screams in recall elections
Big donor buffet; Groups call for election money overhaul; Roemer pulls no punches; Trouble with the Democratic brand; Who's writing our laws.
Number 79, April 2012
WDC honored for openness advocacy
WDC asks for IRS investigation; Seven in ten voters favor banning Super-PACs; Prosser in hot water; Disclosure rules survive in cort; Voter ID law struck down; Judge toss GOP redistricting plan.
Number 78, February 2012
Outside money floods into recall
Gableman in hot water; WDC challenges voter ID law in court; Imagining a new kind of politics; Campaign disclosure under assault; Legislators took secrecy oaths on redistricting; Man behind the mine.
Number 77, October 2011
$44 spent on senate recall elections
Stimulus package for TV; Legislative fundraising in overdrive; Plan to kill disclosure law; Walker probe heats up; Taking activism to work; The first problem; National journal lauds WDC.
Number 76, August 2011
Study: WDC plan ‘extraordinarily’ powerful
Spending records fall in recall; Upheaval puts WDC in spotlight; Partisan redistricting condemned; GOP junks Impartial Justice; Illegal Walker donations flagged; Campaign scofflaws held to account.
Number 75, June 2011
WDC puts forward ‘Ending Wealthfare’ Plan
Clean elections dollars used for Voter ID; Vouchers backers give a lot, get a lot; Complaints filed against senators; MapLight Wisconsin Launched; Citizens form Make Our Votes Cout; Join the Small Dollar Democracy.
Number 74, April 2011
Living the Chinese curse
Over $5 million spent on court race; Reform law faces multi-front assault; Railroad exec gets busted; Cronyism in Walker administration; Business interests outgive unions; Farewells and welcomes.
Number 73, February 2011
Citizen Vigil kicked off at the Capitol
Political ventriloquism; $37 millions spent on governor's race; Best legislature money can buy; $2 for a better Supreme Court; Scott Walker: Transit Chameon; History at the State Capitol.
Number 72, October 2010
‘Founders never said money is speech’
One recession proof economy; Web tools for tech-savvy voters; Big donor under investigation; The third stage of ownership; Keeping WDC alive and kicking; A hero's last words.
Number 71, August 2010
WDC website gets facelift, new features
Money chase intensifies; Supreme Court blocks disclosure; Disclosure fairs poorly in D.C.; A progressive pick-me-up; Full classroom for Redistricting 101; A distasteful nondecision.
Number 70, June 2010
Corporate spending disclosure rules OK'd
Supreme Court blocks Arizona law; Legislators rely on outside cash; Legislation under the influence; Fattest cats in Wisconsin politics; WDC flags overzealous donors; Jensen gets home court edge; more.
Number 69, April 2010
State board closes ‘issue ad’ loophole
D.C. group threatens to sue WDC; Flip-floppers at the trough; Loan sharks make record donations; Elite donors fuel “527” groups; WDC flags violations; Going to court do defend reform; more.
Number 68, February 2010
Citizens unite against ‘Citizens United’
Photos of the demonstration against ‘Citizens United’ decision; Most Americans oppose Supreme Court’s ruling; Disclosure reform clears Senate; WDC goes to court to defend reform; Business groups shape Wisconsin Supreme Court recusal rule; Fundraising ban proves effective.
Number 67, October 2009
Impartial Justice bill nears goal line
Hearings to shape reform bill; Online reporting system a ’mess’; Loan sharks grease political skids; Doyle dances to money tune; Gableman faces misconduct charge; Updating Old Glory; more.
Number 66, August 2009
Legislative fundraising down in first half of ’09
Legislative races cost $20 million; Spending up in spring elections; Stakes are high in Supreme Court case; Bad budget amendment bounced; State follows WDC’s advice on electronic filing; WDC tweets; Fighting Bob Fest on September 12; more.
Number 65, June 2009
Assembly committee approves reform bills
Legal double standard challenged; Jamming the revolving door; Ellis-Erpenbach resurrected; WDC bird-dogs missing records; Campaign cash compromises court; 113 million reasons for the status quo, more.
Number 64, April 2009
Momentum building for court election reform
Justice Bradley to headline WDC annual meeting; Events held throughout state to highlight judicial reform; Midwest groups urge reform on Obama; State sunshine laws lacking; WDC flags problems with state’s online reporting system; State board OKs reform agenda; Interest group spending passes $1 million mark in two spring races, more.
Number 63, February 2009
Assembly bans budget-season fundraising
WDC launches imparitaljustice.org; Project zeroes in on court reform; Action on reform bills coming soon; A traffic jam on the low road; "527s" do big business in Wisconsin; Will justice be done in Jensen case?
Number 62, October 2008
WDC-backed disclosure rules gaining steam
High court judge in hot water; Interest groups con voters; Wall street cashes in as it crashes; Outsiders fill incumbents’ accounts; Doyle changes nuclear tune, more.
Number 61, August 2008
Candidates keep voters guessing on reform
Spending record falls in court race; the madness continues; Democrats winning money game; support for reform runs deep, more.
Number 60, June 2008
WDC ranks legislators on reform issues
Big money flows to’527s’; High court tut-tuts Ziegler; Justice for sale; Lawmakers slink out of town; Campaigns without borders, more.
Number 59, April 2008
Supreme Court election exposes broken system
How a bill really becomes law; Official gets snared in casino probe; Gains made on democracy reform; Public wants better court elections; A symbol of the problem, more.
Number 58, February 2008
Doyle calls special session on campaign finance reform
Accenture told to hit the road; Book examines democracy’s health; Poll: Wisconsin voters want reform; Supremes sing reform’s praises; Politicians say the darndest things, more.
Number 57, October 2007
Bangin’ for reform
Ziegler guilty of judicial misconduct; Political ‘tourists’ flock to Wisconsin; Midwest reform groups question presidential candidates; Another black eye for Wisconsin, more.
Number 56, August 2007
Storm for reform
Lawmakers use budget to raise campaign funds; Health care reform opponents shower state officials with money; Supreme court race sets record; A new sheriff in town; more.
Number 55, June 2007
Senate passes 3 WDC-supported reforms
Ziegler fined for breaking ethics law; Business outgives union 12-1; Midwest groups call for action from FCC; TV stations allergic to democracy; more.
Number 54, April 2007
WDC files ethics complaint against Ziegler
Ugly court race prompts new calls for reform; Clean election bills in on the way; Thompson conviction reversed; more.
Number 53, February 2007
WDC hits paydirt with ethics reform victory
Ethics win sets stage for campaign reform fight; Campaign spending sets records; more.
Number 52, October 2006
WDC blows whistle, Green cash ruled illegal
Survey shows broad support for reform; Local TV ignores democracy; Legislative fundraising sets records; more.
Number 51, August 2006
Reform groups quiz candidates on ethics
The high cost of ’free’ speech; Green exceeds PAC limit; Health takes back seat to contributions; more.
Number 50, June 2006
State Assembly stonewalls reform
Over 150 rally for ethics reform; Jensen get lecture, prison; Doyle returns tainted contributions; more.
Number 49, April 2006
Ethics reform at a crossroads
Parade of lawmakers to jail continues; WDC tracking shadow campaigns; Doyle vetoes rent-to-own bill; Green says cheese; more.
Number 48, February 2006
First-ever ‘public-telling’ draws over 300 to Capitol
Ethics reform bill on the move; ’Paper trail’ bill signed into law; Legislative fundraising up again; more.
Number 47, December 2005
People’s Legislature rallies for Capitol reform
Feingold gets ’Mr. Smith Award’; Milwaukee TV licenses challenged; Tainted Illinois cash heads north; Poll documents ethical decline; more.
Number 46, October 2005
People’s Legislature to meet Lobbyists’ Legislature
Voter-list fiasco worsens; Burke convicted of corruption; Singing the Capitol corruption blues; more.
Number 45, August 2005
Fighting Bob Fest
Big donors trump local control; Voters take backseat to donors; Celebrating WDC’s first decade; more.
Number 44, June 2005
Accenture lawsuit yields important victory
Business feeds at taxpayer trough; People’s Legislature gains steam; New bills reflect reform priorities; more.
Number 43, April 2005
People’s Legislature moves to Milwaukee
Donors get corporate welfare; Watered-down reform bill loses; Happy birthday to us; more.
Number 42, February 2005
People’s Legislature draws over 1,100
Reform bills introduced; WDC opposes TABOR; Campaign spending sets record; more.
Number 41, December 2004
WDC pushes ’Power to the Voter’
Outsourcing democracy; WDC to air TV ad; People’s Legislature.
Number 40, October 2004
Truth in campaigning loses by one vote
WDC outs outsourcing deal; Insiders have edge; Bogus Polls; Peoples Legislature.
Number 39, August 2004
Truth in campaigning faces critical test
2 million voters get no choice; Fat cats give big to 527s; "Issue ad" loosely defined; more.
Number 38, June 2004
Election board gets cold feet on disclosure
Media conference a big hit; More heroes needed; Big Media speaks; more.
Number 37, April 2004
Our democracy, our airwaves
Reform bill gutted, killed; Campaign $ under radar; Caucus scandal update; more.
Number 36, February 2004
Money shouts at Capitol
Obscene TV; Velvet discrimination; Politically rich get richer; more.
Number 35, December 2003
Campaign cash drives legislative agenda
Court victory for reform; Conflicts of interest tolerated; more.
Number 34, October 2003
WDC hangs out Capitol’s ‘dirty laundry’
Big donors hedge their bets; ’Pay to play’ ban signed; Budget protects donors; more.
Number 33, August 2003
WDC complaints yield fines for illegal contributions
McCain-Feingold, Part 2; Studies make case for reform; out-of-state money pours in; more.
Number 32, May 2003
WDC files complaints against fat cat donors
Budget writers rake in cash; State gets ’C’ for lobby laws; FCC pushes media monopolies; more.
Number 31, March 2003
‘Graft Tax’ grows
$23 million governor; Money decides legislative races; An unbalanced budget; more.
Number 30, January 2003
The ‘Graft Tax’
WDC launches media campaign; Hours of ads, minutes of news; Exposing anti-reform hypocrisy; more.
Number 29, November 2002
Scandal shakes up legislature
How a bill really becomes law; Profiteering on democracy; McCain-Feingold to the rescue; more.
Number 28, September 2002
‘Free speech’ costs a bundle
Grassroots or AstroTurf; Clean Sweep; Court strikes blow for reform; more.
Number 27, July 2002
Budget repair includes campaign finance reform
Reform plan details; McCain-Feingold; Public supports free air; more.
Number 26, May 2002
Campaign reform in special session agenda
Our democracy, our airwaves; WDC wins emergency rule; more.
Number 25, March 2002
Leaders block reform
Campaign war chests bursting; ’Wealth primary’ cheats voters; TV gouges democracy; more.
Number 24, January 2002
2002 promises to be a year of reform
Small change buys big change; WDC grades top politicians; Elections Board whitewash, more.
Number 23, November 2001
Corrupt caucuses are history
Reasons caucuses had to go; Budget on the action block; Prophetic lobbyist memo; more.
Number 22, August 2001
Action on reform bill
Budget becomes cash cow; Parties use issue ad dodge; more.
Number 21, June 2001
Illegal campaigning exposed
Welfare for incumbents; Fat cats feeding candidates; Special interests come courting; more.