WDC Asks McCallum to Continue Thompson’s Campaign Reform Pledge

February 28, 2001

Madison - The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today asked Governor Scott McCallum to pledge to sign any campaign finance reform legislation that reaches his desk and agree not to use his partial veto authority to alter any bipartisan agreement reached by state lawmakers.

Last session, former Governor Tommy Thompson made the same commitment the Democracy Campaign is now asking the new governor to make. In a letter hand delivered to the governor’s office this morning, WDC executive director Mike McCabe wrote that the pledge is necessary to create an environment in which legislators can craft bipartisan reforms that are balanced and fair to both sides without fearing that any package of reforms they pass would be made one-sided by the governor.

"This is the acid test of Governor McCallum’s sincerity on the campaign finance issue," McCabe said. "If he wants campaign finance reforms enacted, he will pledge to sign any reform legislation that makes it to his desk. If he doesn’t, the threat of partial vetoes will stymie any good faith bargaining in the legislature on this issue."

McCabe stressed in his letter (see below) that a no-veto pledge would not remove the governor from the process of developing reform legislation or diminish his influence over the final outcome.

"The governor either can be constructively engaged in the process of shaping reform legislation or he can singlehandedly act as a barrier to the serious bipartisan negotiations that are needed if we are ever going to get campaign finance reform. His leadership is critical," he said.

Voters have clearly indicated what they want state officials to do, McCabe said, citing the November 7 campaign finance reform referendum approved by 90% of voters in 58 counties.

"I hope the governor lets the popular will be his guide," he said, noting that McCallum supported campaign finance reform efforts during his years in the legislature and has continued to accept public financing grants from the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund in his campaigns for lieutenant governor.

Letter to Governor McCallum

February 28, 2001

Governor Scott McCallum
State Capitol
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707

Dear Governor McCallum:

I am writing to ask you to throw the weight of your office behind campaign finance reform by pledging to sign reform legislation as it is passed by the legislature.

Your predecessor’s commitment to sign any reform legislation that reached his desk and his willingness to agree not to use his partial veto authority to alter any bipartisan agreement reached by lawmakers created an environment in which legislators could seek to craft reforms that are balanced and fair to both sides.

This pledge in no way would remove you from the process of shaping campaign finance reforms. Rather, it would require that you be actively engaged in the development of any reform legislation and would obligate legislators to work closely with you to ensure that the end product would be acceptable to you.

In the November election, the voters overwhelmingly expressed their support for campaign finance reform that limits campaign spending and contributions and ensures full and prompt disclosure of all electioneering activities. You supported campaign finance reform during your years in the legislature and have shown your continuing support since then by accepting public financing grants from the Wisconsin Election Campaign Fund in your campaigns for lieutenant governor.

We hope you will continue to be helpful to the cause of campaign finance reform by creating conditions conducive to bipartisanship and by fully participating in the process of shaping reform legislation. Your leadership on this issue is critical.

Sincerely,

Mike McCabe
Executive Director