Dem Urged to Delay Fundraiser Until State Budget is Approved

June 12, 2015

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is urging Democratic Sen. Julie Lassa of Stevens Point to delay a June 18 fundraising event until after the proposed 2015-17 state budget is approved.

The budget bill, which is now being considered by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, is expected to go to the full legislature for action later this month, and then to GOP Gov. Scott Walker for final approval.

Last month, Republican Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills, who is co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, was criticized by Common Cause in Wisconsin for scheduling a May 28 fundraiser a few blocks from the State Capitol while her committee considered the budget. Darling eventually cancelled the event, which demanded at least $500 a head to attend.

A new state budget is considered every two years during the first six months of an odd-numbered year. The state budget is the most important bill the legislature considers, and the only proposal that must pass in some form. With that in mind, powerful and savvy special interests often seek to have as much of their legislative wish lists as possible inserted into the budget bill. And, legislative fundraisers typically draw the politically and financially powerful special interests that want to influence state spending and policy proposals before the legislature.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, media outlets and others have frequently urged lawmakers to refrain from holding fundraisers while the legislature considers the budget.

Lassa’s event will be held at a Plover restaurant and demands between $250 and $1,000 a head to attend.