Public Let Down Again

September 1, 2004

The state Elections Board today rejected by one vote a proposed truth-in-campaigning rule, once again refusing to close a gaping loophole in Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws allowing special interest campaign ads to escape disclosure requirements and campaign contribution limits.

Despite overwhelming public support for campaign finance disclosure as evidenced by the 2000 referendum where 90 percent of voters supported full and prompt disclosure of all election-related activities, the Elections Board voted down the disclosure rule 5-4.

The key vote against the rule was cast by Martha Love, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s appointee to the board. Love came to today’s meeting with a prepared statement explaining her vote, meaning she did not consider an hour and a half of public testimony and discussion by her colleagues on the board. Love previously voted three times to move forward with the rulemaking - once in January and two more times in March - so she obviously thought it was a good idea for several months. Her statement did not address what caused her to change her mind.

Another Democratic appointee who had appeared to be wavering in his support of the disclosure rule, the Assembly Democratic leader’s designee Carl Holborn, voted in favor of the rule today.

Because political corruption and the subversion of the public’s right to know are still very much with us, the fight for this particular reform does not end with this setback. We urge you to contact Martha Love directly and demand that she offer a motion for reconsideration of today’s vote at the Elections Board’s next meeting. You can call Ms. Love at 414-344-8423 or e-mail her at mlove46@aol.com.