Campaign Reformers Chide Thompson for Inacessiblity of Information in Finance Reports

Friday July 25, 1998, 11:00 AM, Assembly Parlor

July 24, 1998

Madison - Despite all of Thompson’s talk about disclosure and his support for electronic filing of campaign finance reports, there is still no web site with contributor lists, no floppy disk provided to groups who will post the information, no improvement in disclosure at all.

Voters have to trek to Madison, shell out $100 and then sift through nearly 2000 pages to see how Thompson is raising and spending money to get re-elected.

Speaking at the news conference:

Gail Shea, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Roger Bybee, Wisconsin Citizen Action
Representative from the League of Women Voters

Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Reports Chronology

September 1997 Governor signs budget bill which includes money to implement electronic filing of campaign reports.
November 18 Assembly passes AB 150 (Citizens’ Right to Know Bill) 98-0
January 12, 1998 Letter from WDC to governor Tommy Thompson requesting him to submit a copy of his January Continuing Campaign Finance Report on a diskette so that this information can be posted on the Internet.
January 18 Staff at the Thompson campaign office tells WDC that they are unable to provide the information on disk. They say their software is not set up for it.
February 2 Thompson campaign files a paper report of 400 pages at the state Elections Board
February 2-
March 20
WDC staff hand enters the 400 pages of contributions and expenditures from Governor Thompson’s report.
February 3 Senate passes AB 150 (Citizens’ Right to Know Bill) 31-1
March 24 List of individuals contributing $100 or more from July 1, 1997 through December 31, 1997, added to the data on Thompson campaign available on the WDC web page.
April 21 Recommendations of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Campaign Finance Reform, containing the provisions for full and immediate electronic filing of campaign finance information, introduced for the Special Session
April 30 Governor Thompson signs AB150 (Citizens’ Right to Know Bill). He expresses support for immediate disclosure of campaign finance information. However, the bill does not take effect until after the fall 1998 elections.
June 18 Another letter from WDC to Governor Thompson asking him to either put his reports on the Internet directly or to give a disk to the WDC so that the information can be posted on the Internet immediately.
June 23 Thompson campaign director, Bob Wood, "hopeful," but provides no specifics on any plans to make contributions available on the web.
June 24 Searchable list of Governor Thompson’s contributors from January 1, 1991 through December 31, 1997, available on WDC web page.
July 20 Thompson campaign files a paper report of almost 2,000 pages at the state Elections Board. A copy of the report costs $100.
July 24 Day 4 without meaningful disclosure.
January 1, 1999 Mandatory disclosure - Will we have to wait that long?