Some state lawmakers are introducing a Supreme Court Campaign Finance Reform Bill.
Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) wants public financing for all Wisconsin State Supreme Court races. He says the current race just might turn out to be the most expensive in state history.
"I think if we could have the candidates concentrate more sort of on the issues, on the styles and on the campaigns and spending less time on the arms race of spending it would be better."
The Oshkosh Democrat says these Supreme Court races should be decided by the people of Wisconsin, and not by individuals or special interests groups with the largest pocketbook. The bill creates a "democracy trust fund," using general purpose revenues.
"What this bill would do would create a certain amount of public financing available to candidates and give them an incentive to take public financing by limiting individual contributions."
The trust fund would limit the amount of public financing benefits available to a candidate to just $100,000 in the primary election and $300,000 in the spring election. The legislation would also establish a $1,000 contribution limit that an individual or a committee could give to a candidate. Currently individuals can give up to $10,000 and committees can contribute up to about $8,600. Hintz says our judges should be elected based on experience, honesty and integrity, not the size of their campaign account.
"Whether you're gonna have pay-to-play decisions or whether it's just a perception of that, you know that itself is what erodes trust in our system."
Hintz says the best way to restore that trust is to take the money out of the equation.