Committee OKs Anti-Disclosure Bill

Email date: 1/23/12

In this update:
1. Senate committee blesses anti-disclosure legislation
2. WDC goes to court in support of voter ID challenge
3. Gableman gets in deeper
4. Recall mania

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Senate committee blesses anti-disclosure legislation
A Republican-controlled senate committee voted today on straight party lines to advance proposed legislation eliminating disclosure of the employers of campaign donors who give more than $100, but not before approving an amendment offered by committee chairwoman Mary Lazich eliminating disclosure of both the occupation and employer of donors who give less than $250 in a calendar year. For offices with four-year terms such as governor and state senator, this means contributions of up to $1,000 could be made over the course of an election cycle with no disclosure of the financial interests of the donor.

The bill’s author singled out the Democracy Campaign’s director for scorn in his remarks in favor of the proposal. The Wisconsin State Journal weighed in against the legislation in a recent editorial. Video of all of the committee testimony is archived on WisconsinEye’s website. Testimony on the bill begins at the 19 minute mark of the video and WDC’s testimony starts at the 1 hour, 8 minute mark.

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WDC goes to court in support of voter ID challenge
Last week the Democracy Campaign filed a legal brief and affidavit in support of the legal challenge to Wisconsin’s new voter ID law.

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Gableman gets in deeper
Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman made it known Friday that he has no intention of stepping away from cases involving the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm that provided him tens of thousands of dollars in free legal assistance. Gableman’s decision is itself another violation of the state judicial ethics code, which requires judges to recuse themselves when they have conflicts of interest that give “reasonable, well-informed persons” reason to “question the judge’s ability to be impartial.”

A great many reasonable, well-informed persons have reached the conclusion that Gableman has no business ruling on cases involving Michael Best & Friedrich, including editorialists with the state’s largest newspaper as well as smaller papers such as those in Oshkosh and Racine.

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Recall mania
WDC’s director was on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here and Now show over the weekend talking recall elections. While recall organizers were submitting over a million petition signatures, Governor Scott Walker was in New York at a $2,500-a-head fundraiser hosted by Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, the former CEO of American International Group. That’s the same Hank Greenberg who was forced out at AIG after agreeing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to pay $15 million to settle an accounting fraud investigation.

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