October 20, 2014

Reform rollback a concern

A government watchdog in Wisconsin has some concerns, about whether political reforms might be rolled back in the next legislative session. Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin said even the minimal disclosure of political contributions required under current state law was threatened, under a bill offered in the last session of the legislature.

“People have a right to know who’s making campaign contributions,” said Heck. “If not, you run into a situation where you have secret money funding campaigns.” Heck worries such a bill may be offered again, as well as legislation lifting the limits on individual contributions to legislative campaigns.

“We currently limit what a state Senate candidate can take to $1000, an Assembly candidate to $500. Some legislators would like to see those lifted, so that candidates for the legislature can receive unlimited contributions of any size,” Heck said. “I don’t think there’s anybody in Wisconsin who doesn’t think that the larger the contribution, the more influence the contributor has with regard to the person they’re giving it to. If you eliminate campaign contribution limits, you’re just creating a situation where only the very wealthy will be able to have access to public policy in the Capitol.