Two professors at Ripon College who have written a book, “Game Changers: How Dark Money and Super PACs are Transforming U.S. Campaigns,” will discuss the book Wednesday evening, Feb. 26, at the College.
The talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m., in the Kresge Theatre of East Hall.
One of the authors, Henrik Shatzinger, associate professor and chair of the politics and government department at RC, is also slated to speak to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting in April. He is also co-director of the Center for Politics and the People, a long-time center for political discourse within the broader community.
Joining Shatzinger on Wednesday night is his co-author, Steven Martin, professor of communication and chair of the department.
Here is what Sen, Tammy Baldwin had to say after receiving a letter from a constituent asking if she supported the For the People Act:
“The American people need to trust that their government is working for them, not the powerful special interests in Washington. Hardworking American families are struggling to get ahead and can’t afford to have special interests in a cozy relationship with the government. The time is now to take bold legislative action that reforms our political system, increases transparency and restores faith in our democracy.
“That is why I am a proud cosponsor of S. 949, the For the People Act – a sweeping package of reforms that would fix our broken political system and make government work for the people. This landmark legislation would restore the promise of American democracy by making it easier to vote, ending the dominance of big money in politics and ensuring that public officials work for the public interest.
“The right for every citizen’s voice to be heard through the ballot box is the cornerstone of our democracy. S. 949 improves access to voting through expansion of voter registration and early voting methods while fighting back against the assault on voting rights like voter roll purges and discriminatory ID laws. This bill would also end partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and making Americans feel like their voices do not count.
“We must also reform the way we finance our campaigns and end the rule of big money in our elections. The For the People Act will shine a light on dark money by requiring political organizations to disclose their donors, levels the playing field for small donors and strengthens regulation and oversight by Congress and the Federal Elections Commission. This allows everyday Americans to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world.
“In addition, this legislation helps to ensure that government officials are working on behalf of the common good, not powerful special interests. S. 949 includes my Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act, which slows the revolving door between corporations, Wall Street and Washington. It also prohibits “government service golden parachute” bonus payouts, strengthens ethics requirements, and combats conflicts of interest.
“On March 8, 2019, the House passed its version of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, and the bill now awaits action in the Senate. Please be assured of my support for this legislation that helps to restore our democracy and put power back in the hands of the American people where it belongs.
“Once again, thank you for contacting my office. It is important for me to hear from the people of Wisconsin on the issues, thoughts and concerns that matter most to you. If I can be of further assistance, please visit my website at www.baldwin.senate.gov for information on how to contact my office.”
Judge Lisa Neubauer will speak Saturday morning at the Nov. 2 meeting of the Green Lake Dems & Friends. Neubauer, the chief judge of the District II of the Wisconsin Appeals Court chambered in Waukesha is running for reelection to the court in April 2020. District II is chambered in Waukesha and contains Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties.
By Malcolm McIntyre
When you meet Lisa Neubauer, currently a candidate for election to the state’s District II Appeal Court, she seems an unlikely politician. In fact, if you ask her if she is a politician she likely would say no, she’s a judge. Which, of course, she is. And has been for some time.
Unfortunately, like it or not, Judge Neubauer, is also reluctant politician, thanks to the electoral system in place in Wisconsin. Like her fellow judges, at all levels in the state, she is forced to stand for election in what is called a nonpartisan election. Hogwash.
As Neubauer learned the hard way last April, when Brian Hagedorn, a come-lately judge and a former attorney for Republican Governor Scott Walker, “nonpartisan” elections are often extremely political.
And expensive. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, total expenditures in the election topped $6 million, making it one of the most expensive Wisconsin Supreme Court elections in state history.
Last April, backed by a flood of last-minute out-of-state dark conservative money, which fueled a spate of inaccurate and misleading television ads attacking Neubauer, Hagedorn gained a critical seat on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. It was a close race; Hagedorn won by only 5,960 votes out of a total vote of 1,206,847 for the two top vote-getters. Neubauer lost by .5 of a percent.
The significance of his win was enormous because it gave the conservative, Republican wing of the court–which is supposed to be impartial–a 5-2 majority.
Hagedorn–remember as a judge he is supposed to be impartial–stated publicly in the past that Planned Parenthood is “a wicked organization,” the NAACP is “a disgrace to America,” and Roe v. Wade is “the worst and most unjustifiable decision in history.”
Neubauer and her supporters, mostly Democrats, Progressives, and Independents, shocked by both the last minute flood of dark money into Hagedorn;s campaign, and by her defeat, seem to have learned a painful and difficult lesson: Play nice and by the rules, and you lose.
Neubauer, in her campaign for the Supreme Court, angered many of her supporters because she kept them at arm’s length, unlike Hagedorn. Yes, she accepted money from various groups (how else do you fund a campaign), but the vast majority of her funds came from in-state.
Neubauer actually raised slightly more money for her campaign than Hagedorn, but last minute spending by Hagedorn supporters on a controversial television ad campaign seemed to turn the tide for Hagedorn. The out-of-state National Republican State Leadership Committee spend more than a $1 million on television ads attacking Judge Neubauer as a liberal supported by “radical, out-of-state special interest groups.” That of course is ironic since the Republican State Leadership Committee is an outside interest group.
While the rain Saturday night ended the polling prematurely, attendees at the Green Lake County Fair still demonstrated a lot of interest in Green Lake County Dems & Friends’ unscientific, completely unofficial poll to learn what issues were of the most concern to voters heading into the 2020 election year.
Health Care, the No. 2 issue after the first two days of voting–the Environment was No. 1–is the new leader with a three-day total of 145 votes. The Environment is now No. 2 with 136 votes.
Helping Health Care take over the top spot was a relatively large margin on Saturday. Health Care had 52 votes Saturday before the rain came, while the environment had 33 votes Saturday.
The No. 3 top issue after three days? Education with 111 votes.
Check out the table below for the day-by-day totals, plus the grand totals for the first three days of the four-day event.
With Monday marking the ninth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, campaign finance watchdogs say it’s more urgent than ever to address “the degradation of our democracy” and overturn the 2010 decision which opened the floodgates to unlimited spending by corporate interests and the super wealthy.
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Total spending in the just completed Wisconsin governor’s race topped $93 million.
According to a report from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, “Republican candidates and the special interest groups that supported them spent an estimated $57.7 million, which was about 63 percent higher than the more than $35.3 million spent by Democratic candidates and groups. Minor party candidates spent about $32,550.
Think about that.
What if that money went to help students in Wisconsin’s post-secondary schools?
What if it was used to provide health care for infants?
What if it helped families pay for child care?
What if … well the list can go on and on.
A closer look at the figures compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows that “Former GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, led candidate spending with nearly $36.2 million. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, spent a combined $10.8 million.”
Walker and Kleefisch out spent Evers and Barnes by by more than $35 million and lost. Wow.
Over the years lots of campaign spending reform proposals have been advanced, but ultimately, the candidates themselves, and their special interest support groups have shot down all the proposals.
It looks like money will play a big role in the upcoming April 2 Wisconsin Supreme Court race featuring two appellate court judges, Last week various news outlets reported that Judge Lisa Neubauer has a slight fundraising edge over Judge Brian Hagedorn.
Technically, this is a nonpartisan race, and neither of the state’s two major political parties can endorse a candidate, but both parties clearly have their favorites, with Neubauer is gaining a lot of support from Democrats. Hagedorn, who was former Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attorney, has picked up a lot of his support from conservatives and Republicans.
Judge Neubauer is set to attend a meet and greet on Saturday evening, Feb. 23, at the Gooseblind in Green Lake. The event is open to the public.
The two judges are seeking the seat being vacated by term-limited State Supreme Court Judge Shirley Abrahamson. Abrhamson 85, has consistently been a liberal voice on the court. At one time she served as its chief justice.
Today, however, the court has a decided conservative majority, with 4-3 votes often in favor of conservative/Republican positions. If Judge Neubauer wins in April, her victory will set the stage for a a critical 2020 contest that could produce a dramatic change in the court.
If he decides to seek another 10-year term in 2020, conservative Judge Dan Kelley, a Walker appointee, will undoubtedly face a formidable challenge from the opposition camp. Kellyu, who has not had to run for election previously, may decide not to run. But if he does, and he loses in 2020, the court’s balance could shift to the left. Most analysts expect the 2020 race to be the most hotly contested judicial race in state history, and probably the most expensive.
During December’s lame-duck session, Republicans considered moving the date of the 2020 presidential preference primary, which currently coincides with the nonpartisan spring election, to a later date in the hopes that election-weary voters would not show up at the polls. Republican legislators hoped that a lower turnout would benefit benefit Kelly. Eventually, after hearing from the clerks in many municipalities that a third election would be costly and difficult to conduct, the GOP backed off of its plan.