Earlier this year, lawmakers were sent a packet of letters supporting the controversial Video Competition Act. State Representative Joe Parisi (D-Madison) was shocked to find a letter from himself included in the material, especially since he'd voted against the bill. Parisi says several other people came forward with the same revelation.
To prevent something like that from happening again, the Madison Democrat is introducing the Truth in Lobbying Act. The bill would require special interest groups who forward personal opinions on legislation to elected representatives would have to show proof that you authorized that and you actually share that opinion. The legislation would also create civil penalties for groups that misrepresent public opinions on an issue.
Parisi says the bill targets the bait and switch tactics some groups may be using to inflate support. He says constituents have told stories about being asked to sign a petition or postcard in support of one issue, but then having that information used to support something completely different. Parisi says such abuses are just like voter fraud in his mind.