A state lawmaker wants lobbyists to pay for political campaigns for state office.
The money spent to lobby legislative issues at the Capitol would be subject to a 10 percent tax, under legislation from State Representative Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire). The cash would then be used to publicly finance campaigns.
Smith says figures based on what's being spent at the Capitol right now show the tax would fully fund two candidates in every legislative race, with up $60,000 for Assembly candidates and $125,000 for Senate candidates.
The tax would only be applied to non-charitable lobbying groups. Smith says many of those organizations are already spending big money on issue ads at campaign time. He says the money could be pooled and used to run cleaner campaigns.
Smith's proposal is one of several public financing ideas being offered at the Capitol this session. But he says many of those fall short of actually changing the system because they don't provide a clear funding source.
The bill is currently being circulated for co-sponsors in the Legislature.